Welcome, Lara! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I'm originally from San Jose. I attended college at the University of Southern Mississippi and lived in Hattiesburg, where I received my bachelor's degree in speech communication and master's degree in public relations.
I moved to Roseville for several years and then returned to Mississippi, this time to Oxford, home of Ole Miss. I taught business communication at the University of Mississippi for many years. I missed California so in 2020 I moved back to Roseville.
What were you involved with before starting with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference?
I started in Public Relations and moved to elementary education in California before becoming an instructor of business communication for 12 years at the University of Mississippi.
My volunteer work in Oxford included being a foster mom to kittens and cats, and occasionally puppies and dogs! I was also an event ambassador for the World Championship Old-Time Piano Play Contest, and a high school band mom.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I LOVE being outdoors. It was really hard to be outdoors in Mississippi because of the heat, humidity, and lack of opportunities due to the location. I'm pretty sure I've spent more time outdoors in the last 2 years than I did during my18 years in Mississippi.
I'm a goer. Any opportunity to do something, I'm in! I like to go hiking, kayaking, camping, wine tasting, and seeing live music. When I do slow down, I like to watch mostly scary movies, cook, and organize stuff.
What goals do you have for your work with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference?
Because of my communication background, I hope to incorporate public speaking skills similar to the Toastmasters International format and business communication skills.
What are you most looking forward to in working with Hands4Hope?
Everything. This is a new adventure for me. As a former public school teacher and higher education instructor, I miss being around youth and young adults.
One of the best things about being an educator and mentor is witnessing the growth the youths will go through both personally and professionally. I believe the skills they will learn will better prepare them for any future endeavor and definitely give them an edge over their peers.
I look forward to learning from them too!