Karen Padilla is a junior in the Human Services program at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Karen has been an active member of the Human Services Student Organization at USCB for two years; she now serves as the club's vice president. She frequently volunteers with children through the Beaufort County Foster Parent Association and is completing an internship with the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) of Beaufort County. In this internship, she is assisting the agency staff by conducting child-abuse prevention workshops to local elementary school children. Karen is passionate about helping others. She plans to pursue a career in human services that will enable her to provide prevention and intervention services for children and adolescents.
I have always been passionate about helping others. I was raised in the United States, but as a Latina, I had to face many challenges in order to pursue my dreams. When I was very young, attending school for the first time, Spanish was my only language. It helped to open my eyes to see and understand the differences in my community. Regardless of my difficulties in school, I knew I had a purpose. As Supreme Court Justice Sonja Sotomayor wrote, "When everyone at school is speaking one language, and a lot of your classmates' parents also speak it, and you go home and see that your community is different, there is a sense of shame attached to that. It really takes growing up to treasure the specialness of being different." I am committed more than ever to making a difference in my community. I hope to work with children and teens so that the "shame" Justice Sotomayor speaks of can transform into specialness and success.