By Donna Parker
Laura Yeo Perez, who earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Trinity and master’s in social work from the University of Denver, has returned to San Antonio, settling in as a case manager at Haven for Hope. Just a year into the position, Laura is actively implementing her action plan for the homeless at the city’s newest facility.
“After graduating from Trinity, I was an AmeriCorps member with City Year San Antonio, working with elementary and middle school kids,” she says. “As I completed my internship for my master’s work working with adults with mental health issues, I realized that was my preferred direction. I heard about Haven, sent in my resume and found it to be a good fit.”
“Just this morning, I helped a woman who reconnected with her family after many years because of her former drug abuse and homelessness. Now, she is attending AA meetings and working on her GED. My job is not about fixing people, but rather to furnish them opportunities and resources to explore.”
“This is all about getting out of my office and talking to our residents. It helps me realize why I’m here—that this is a team effort with people who are on their own particular journey and who happen to need an assist in attaining those goals.”
Laura integrates elements from her personal life into the Haven programs. An avid runner, she participates weekly in the SAMMinistries Street2Feet running group for residents, improving their physical and mental well being.
“I’m training for my own 6th marathon in Austin in February, but I really run in the morning and practice yoga just to keep myself sane,” she laughs.
She is also president of the alumni board for City Year San Antonio, keeping alumni connected to the site and letting them know what projects the current corps is planning so they can participate.
A newlywed, she’s also busy settling into married life. She and her husband love to explore the Alamo City, frequently attending First Fridays in Southtown to soak up the culture and artistic scene.
Laura has maintained her friendships from Trinity days, including Sigma sisters, her roommate, and a small group of alumni living in Texas.
“Trinity was a great place to make friends, but also very valuable in emphasizing student accountability. If I wanted success, I could achieve it, but not without a lot of work.”
“Class time was instrumental in preparing me for professional life. For example, Coleen Grissom (department of English) left quite an impression on me by exciting me about writing. Those learned skills have made every single thing I do so much easier.”
“Michael Kearl (department of sociology and anthropology) who was my sociology advisor, demystified what social work could be. The small campus size was very helpful and the culture of inclusivity was invaluable.”
This self-described energetic, open-minded hard worker also says, “While I was a student, I had no idea how what I studied could translate into a career, but Trinity unveiled my path, which led to volunteer work, AmeriCorps, and then graduate work. Now, I help others transition from homelessness into societal productivity.”
You may contact Laura at:Laura.email@example.com
After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions. We are looking for suggestions in these four categories: 1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator