Angelita Caraballo has been recognized for her volunteer work as a coordinator for Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree and other rehabilitation programs at local correctional institutions
Miami, March 16, 2022 – Miami Dade College (MDC) West Campus student, Angelita Caraballo, has been named a 2022-23 Newman Civic Fellow, the highest honor for student engagement leadership. Caraballo will graduate next month with an associate degree in psychology
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program from Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. Students selected are leaders on their campuses who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
The fellowship provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth, as well as the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change.
Caraballo joins 173 student civic leaders from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the 2022-23 cohort. She is the first West Campus student to be selected for the program.
“I am overjoyed to be awarded the Newman Civic Fellowship for the 2022-2023 cohort,” Caraballo said. “This is among the most significant events of my career and I shall always remember this with great fondness.”
Nominated by MDC President Madeline Pumariega, Caraballo has overcome great personal obstacles, including cancer and growing up with an incarcerated father, a circumstance that influenced her decision to volunteer.
Raised by her maternal grandmother, Caraballo studied on her own with an encyclopedia to earn her GED at age 17. The now mother of three continues to excel in school and serve as an inspiration to her children, including Neylin Angeli, age 21, who is an education major at MDC, and her son Alexander Angel, 16, who is enrolled in MDC’s acclaimed dual enrollment program.
The highlight of her volunteer work, for which she has logged in more than 1,200 hours, has been serving as a coordinator for Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree with her church, Calvary Kendall, and the Calvary Women’s Prison Ministry for the past six years. Through this organization, she has created storage units and collected item donations for female inmates and their children.
“My grandmother always had a holiday gift for me with my dad’s name on it,” Caraballo said. “When I learned about Angel Tree, it became my passion. It’s a parent’s second chance to restore their relationship with their kid. I know how it feels to have a parent in prison, so I can relate.”
Caraballo also volunteers with Celebrate Recovery 12-Step Program, Homestead Correctional Institution and MetroWest Detention Center. She is a member of MDC’s Yes Club, Psychology Club and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), and has completed training in mental health first aid, CPR/first aid, suicide prevention, breast cancer and heart disease prevention and she is a Florida Health Department Peer Health Coordinator.
She plans to become a licensed clinical social worker, open her own practice, and continue to help those suffering from trauma, mental illness and life’s challenges.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, we provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. Visit www.compact.org.
Learn more about the Newman Civic Fellowship at www.compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship.