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Elisabethe Ocon Calderon, Chicago 2013

In 2012, Elisabethe Calderon made a decision that transformed her senior year of high school and shaped her plans for the future. She attended an information session about Urban Alliance.

“I had no idea what I was walking into, and what I imagined that senior year is not even close to what Urban Alliance has offered me,” she said.

When she began her internship at CNA Insurance in Chicago, Elisabethe had no idea how much she would learn and grow. “To say that UA has seen me come out of my shell is an understatement,” she said.

Elisabethe went on to earn an associate’s degree from Richard J. Daley College and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois College. But she came back to her Urban Alliance family each summer to intern in the Chicago office.
After graduation, Elisabethe was hired on at Urban Alliance as a program associate. The opportunity to experience the organization as both an intern and a staff member helped her understand just how far she had come, and where she wanted to go next.

“I have been able to see both sides of this amazing organization,” Elisabethe said. “My love and passion for youth development and advocacy has grown since part taking in UA…The type of work that we do matters, and the impact we create is so everlasting.”

Elisabethe’s passion for youth development eventually led her to Teach for America, where she will continue to work with young people like herself.

But Elisabethe will never forget where her journey started, and is forever grateful to her Urban Alliance family.

“The passion and dedication you all have for this work has made UA even more special to my heart,” Elisabethe said. “Thank you for guiding me in some of my biggest transitions in my life.”