Alum Patricia Rodriguez: Her Heart is in Serving Others

Alum Patricia Rodriguez: Her Heart is in Serving Others

Kirsten Meneses, Staff Writer

Hawthorne High School alum, Patricia Rodriguez, class of 1991, has made it her life’s goal to help others.

Her desire to serve others is rooted from her experience as a student at HHS. As a student, her favorite classes were history, gym, and Italian; she was also very active in the Spanish, Italian, and SHARE clubs. However, it was her experience with the SHARE club, assisting in holiday parties for children and attending food drives, which positively impacted her life to serve others, especially children. Rodriguez said, “I learned to love social services through the experience from SHARE, and [I learned to love] travel because of my ability to speak Italian.” With that mentality, she entered the field of social services and journeyed throughout the world. Canada, Aruba, England, and Italy are just a few of the many countries and islands she has visited.

Driven by her passion to help others, Rodriguez currently works at the YMCA in Paterson, New Jersey where she supervises meetings between foster children and their families. The YMCA is a national organization whose main goal is to serve youth and their families through encouraging the value of education and the attainment of a healthy body and spirit. She got the position at the Y through a paid internship from William Paterson University. She started off as a tutor for the older foster kids ranging from 13 to 17 years old. Then, she became a visitation worker.

Throughout her years at the Y, Rodriguez has used her experiences from HHS to connect and reach out to the community. Working in a diverse setting like Paterson, Rodriguez is required to know more than one language.  Thankfully, her choice to be heavily involved in Italian in high school has helped her master multiple languages. She has also taken concepts from her SHARE club experiences and has been coordinating successful holiday parties for foster kids by collecting toys and playing games.

In April, Rodriguez celebrates 17 years working at the YMCA. When asked what keeps her motivated each day to assist others, she said, “Live life to the fullest because tomorrow is not promised! And someone always has it worse than you do!”