BCLA students honored for community service

LMU’s Center for Service and Action presents six Riordan Community Service Awards annually to recognize LMU undergraduate students for their outstanding contributions in the area of community service. The Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts is proud of our four liberal arts students who were among this year’s honorees.

Pictured above: Amore Alvarenga ’17, Veronica Yepiz ’18, Melissa Cedillo ’18

Melissa Cedillo ’18 is a theological studies major from Palm Desert, Calif. She has completed 87 service hours at the Good Shepherd Shelter. During her time at Good Shepherd, Melissa has applied and received grants to support programs that create fun and memorable experiences for the children at Good Shepherd. Upon graduation, Melissa plans to commit to post-graduate service then continue on to earn a master’s degree in social work. “Although the details of my future are uncertain, my time at Good Shepherd has assured me that whatever career path I choose, it must be one that restores the dignity of others,” she said.

Veronica Yepiz ’18 is a Liberal Studies major from Whittier, Calif. During the spring semester of this academic year, Veronica completed 48.25 hours of service at St. Columbkille Elementary School through her service organization, Gryphon Circle. “The time I’ve spent at St. Columbkille has helped me reach for my goal of becoming a teacher,” Veronica said. “I have become passionate about service and social justice, and I picture myself engaging in post-graduate service after LMU. Above all, I see myself teaching at a Catholic School and maybe one day end up at St. Columbkille again.”

Katie North ’17 is a Spanish major from San Diego, Calif. Throughout her four years at LMU, Katie completed a total of 128 service hours at Build A Miracle, through the LMU De Colores Program, which has been an integral part of LMU for the past 30 years. As a De Colores leader for three years, Katie has “built incredible relationships and learned to spread awareness about critical social justice issues such as immigration and poverty.” After graduation, Katie plans to pursue a career in nursing. “The service experiences I have had at LMU have instilled in me a deep desire to become a nurse for underserved populations and to accompany people during their times of greatest vulnerability and weakness,” Katie said.

Amore Alvarenga ’17 is a Psychology major and Chicana/o Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies double minor from Los Angeles. Throughout her four years at LMU, Amore has completed a total of 220 hours at the Guadalupe Homeless Shelter. In 2014, Amore developed, founded, and facilitated “Arte Sin Fronteras” (Art without Borders), an art class dedicated to creating a space where LMU students and the residents of the Guadalupe Homeless Project at Dolores Mission could cultivate meaningful relationships through art. Amore’s service experiences have instilled in her a profound passion for social justice, especially centered on the issues of homelessness and immigration. She currently works as a case manager for the affordable housing program at St. Joseph Center in Venice, Calif. In the near future, she plans on pursuing a doctorate in Community-Clinical Psychology so that she can help connect low-income and homeless communities, with a focus on Latinos, with culturally specific mental health services.