Throughout Waleska Salcedo’s ten year tenure with the New York City Mission Society, she has created meaningful and enduring positive change in her community. Her dedication to children and families, and her relentless devotion to the community that raised her, has left an indelible impact on the Bronx.
While fortunate to grow up in a supportive, Puerto Rican, bilingual home in the South Bronx, from an early age, Waleska recognized the many challenges facing her community due to the inequities of education and resources. As a young person, Waleska did not participate in after school programs because options were scant. She was introduced to the life-changing impact of afterschool as a Group Leader at PS 28 and was captivated by her students’ love, laughter and genuine hunger for learning. Waleska decided to dedicate her professional life to the Mission Society to effect positive change for the students in her community, creating the necessary support network required to level the educational playing field for all.
At the Mission Society, Waleska quickly progressed from Group Leader, to Program Aide, to Assistant Program Manager and in the fall of 2012 opened the doors to her own afterschool program, Power Academy at PS 33 in the West Fordham area of the Bronx. There, Waleska strives to recreate the kind of learning opportunities for her students that are readily available in better-resourced communities, establishing partnerships and providing experiential learning opportunities in literacy, STEM, sports, and nutrition. Waleska influences young people with strong role models, a positive environment, and a space for self-expression in order to prepare them for bright futures.
Waleska leverages her positioning as a member of the community to build relationships, enabling her to involve all students, families, educators, and partners in her program in order to create lasting and deep impact. Monthly, Waleska provides accessible, bilingual workshops for parents on topics ranging from financial literacy to resume building to bullying. At Mission Society, she continually supports and empowers her staff, who come from many of the same underserved communities as her students, providing real time coaching and mentoring and supporting professional development opportunities.
Waleska holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Queens College. She is a 2011 graduate of PASE/Baruch’s Emerging Leaders in Nonprofit Management: A Course for Youth Program Professionals.