For the past 30 years CentroNía has impacted the lives of many children and their families. Today we would like to introduce Phenola Lawrence who was a student enrolled in CentroNía’s (known then as Calvary Multicultural Learning Center) Before & After Care program during the organizations beginning years. Phenola is a now a successful young professional who completed her undergraduate degree at Penn State University, and obtained a Master’s in Public Relations from Georgetown University. We are excited to welcome Phenola on CentroNía’s Board of Directors this month, and look forward to her contributions to the board drawing from her own experiences as a CentroNía Alumna as well as a growing young professional in Washington, D.C. Check out our interview with Phenola below:

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your CentroNía story?
I started CentroNía when I was three years old, as part of the before and after school program. Once I started high school, I returned to CentroNía as an intern for the Development and Communications Departments and continued to do so during my college years. After graduating from college, I started working as the Communications and Development Assistant. Recently, I’ve started a new role at CentroNía as member of its Board of Directors, where I hope to continue giving back to the community that has given me so much.

2. What does CentroNía mean to you?
CentroNía to me means ‘home’, a sense of community and family. It’s very uplifting getting to visit and walk around the community. Sometimes I run into folks that I hadn’t seen in years. It feels great to catch up and remember the good old times.

3. How did your education at CentroNía help prepare you for what you are doing today?
I have to say I was fortunate to attend CentroNía. Sometimes you don’t realize the value of education until you are older. CentroNía offers a very strong bilingual and arts focused program. When talking to other classmates in college, I realized that not everybody had the same privileges I had. I just feel very grateful.

4. Who was your favorite teacher?
All my teachers were wonderful, and Ms. Bertha was very special. Aside from her awesome vanilla perfume smell, she was the kind of teacher that would always encourage you to keep going. She really showed me that she believed in me.

5. Describe CentroNía in 3 words.
Community, Cultural awareness, Innovation

6. What would you say to a parent interest in enrolling their children at CentroNía?
I would tell them no other center provides the same high-quality bilingual education approach that I had the privilege to experience as a young child.

Are you a CentroNía Alum? Join the CentroNía Alumni group on Facebook and share your story with us!