Angelita Caraballo, a second-year student at Miami Dade College, has overcome staggering obstacles to become one of MDC’s most community-committed student changemakers. She was removed from school after 6th grade, her father was incarcerated, and she had to deal with extreme family dysfunction growing up. Nonetheless, she studied on her own, including spending countless hours reading the encyclopedia, and eventually was able to earn her GED. She was the first in her family to finish high school. Today she is among the top students at MDC and is driven to be a role model for her three children, to break the cycle of poverty, and to do everything she can to help and inspire others to achieve their dreams and overcome barriers. Ms. Caraballo dedicates her time to service. For the last six years, she has helped more than 400 children with incarcerated parents receive Christmas presents, just as her grandmother did for her when her father was incarcerated. She created and manages a storage unit for Calvary Women's Prison Ministry to help women transition back into society, she facilitates a 12-step recovery program, she trains and leads other volunteers, she prepares and delivers care packages for inmates being released, and much more.
I coordinate logistics for over 400 children who have an incarcerated parent to ensure they receive donated gifts. As a child, my late grandmother, who was my primary guardian, made it a point that I receive a yearly Christmas gift from my father, who was in prison. This is my origin story, where I began my passion to ensure no child gets left behind every Christmas with a gift from the parent incarcerated. I am committed to bring awareness, education, and counseling to others in need. I also mentor women in recovery and female inmates. I initiated, created, and managed the Calvary Women’s Prison’s Ministry storage unit where we curate supplies for the re-engagement of inmates into society. I continue to establish relationships with the women I meet, and I believe that they can be students at Miami Dade College (MDC) if given a second chance. My own painful childhood experiences give me a unique understanding of the women I mentor. I mentor because I was given a second chance when I returned to MDC, and I will ensure that it does not go to waste. I am here to make a difference for others every step along the way.