Ballantyne Magazine

FALL 2018

Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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O n the surface, Paulina Carmona, 24, seems like any other graduate student with a clear career path. In high school, she was in the health science magnet program at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology. She graduated in biology from Wingate University and is now on track to obtain her master's degree in physician assistant studies from Wingate in 2019. Yet, her success story may not have happened without a community organization near Ballantyne, Latin Americans Working for Achievement (LAWA). LAWA was founded in 1992 as the Latin American Women's Association. The organization changed its name in 2017 to reflect its mission to advance the education and quality of life for Latinos in the Charlotte region through scholarships and academic and cultural programs. LAWA is run by a board of directors and depends on donations, grants and sponsorships to fund its programs. Marili Alvarado has been the executive director since February. "We are focused on education access and equity for the Latin American community," Alvarado says. "All of our programs center around education." Education Agenda Three programs address LAWA's education agenda: The first is a college-readiness workshop series for high school students and their parents. They learn about financial aid, the college search process and what to expect in college. The second program is a scholarship fund for first- and second-generation Latin American students for undergraduate study. Since 1992, LAWA has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to 175 students. Padres y Padrinos (Parents and Godparents) has been LAWA's third program for many years. It focuses on elementary-school youth and their parents and grandparents. W H O K N E W ? Lighting the Path LAWA advances the education of Latino students By Vanessa Infanzon BALLANTYNE FALL 2018 85 Who Knew? Executive Director Marili Alvarado LAWA recognized its 2018 scholarship recipients at an awards ceremony in June at Mint Museum Randolph. Photo courtesy of Daniel Coston Photo courtesy Darcy DeMart

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