by Sara Blake
Most recently, Paulina has become a founding board member of The New Philanthropists, an organization focused on diversifying nonprofit boards with leaders of color.
Paulina's journey to understanding the importance of preserving culture began at an early age after immigrating to the United States. "I was 5 years old when I moved. I only knew how to say 'hi.'" And there was no one close by to help Paulina with the language barrier, either: "The school that I was assigned to didn't have any bilingual teachers, so I had to get on a bus and ride 30-40 minutes each way. This personal experience later helped me recognize the need for children to have people around them who really can understand their cultural needs.”
Despite the challenges of starting a new life in a new country, Paulina has watched her family grow through her brother, her two sisters and their children; as well as through the friendships she's made here. "Anyone who's a close friend of mine knows what I'm involved in and where my heart is. We share lives and we share moments."
After graduating from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising (and studying abroad in Spain), Paulina moved to Chicago to work as an Advertising Art Director and a bilingual copywriter. Eventually making her way back to Austin, she became a Creative Director and has worked with advertising agencies for the last 15 years. In 2015, Paulina decided to go into business for herself as a Creative Strategist contractor. "Now I can create my own schedule and I can choose the clients I'd like to work with. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with my role as a Creative." Paulina especially loves working with nonprofits who have creative needs but are unable to hire a full agency.
In addition to helping found The New Philanthropists, Paulina has participated in South by Southwest panels for the last several years by sharing about the importance of the digital platform in multicultural markets.
Paulina has also recently become a dog mom by rescuing a year-old puppy from Del Rio this past summer. This experience has made her "an advocate for rescuing dogs instead of buying them." In her free time, Paulina loves to travel and read. "I always try to have a small library in my house!"
"I wanted to give back and involve myself in a project that was a bit more in depth and meaningful - something where I could make a difference over time."
Not long after going into business for herself, Paulina decided to become a CASA volunteer; something she had heard and thought about for several years. "Once I was able to balance my life better with work, I decided I wanted to take this on. I wanted to give back and involve myself in a project that was a bit more in depth and meaningful - something where I could make a difference over time."
Paulina has now been CASA volunteer for the last 2 and-a-half years and has spent the whole time on one case that was in desperate need of a bilingual volunteer to help communicate with a placement who only spoke Spanish. But Paulina wholeheartedly believes that sharing a culture with the boy on her case goes beyond language. "We understand each other; from the food he likes, how we celebrate holidays and even his relationships with his friends," explains Paulina. "These are the reasons why it's important for people of color to volunteer for programs like CASA."
"We understand each other; from the food he likes, how we celebrate holidays and even his relationships with his friends."
Paulina believes CASA has such an impact because of the support volunteers give to kids in a variety of areas - specifically their emotional health, their platform, and their representation. "That type of support to me is key. The need for volunteers that are reflective of the kids and of the community is what brought me to CASA."
Featured Volunteer Story March Volunteer Profiles 2018