The Éxito Leadership Club at the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute encourages and supports its elite members to get involved in pro-active initiatives that make a difference in our global community.
Our newest member, Luisa Toro, a junior at Seton Hall, is an example of the Institute's vision of servant leadership. Ms. Toro, a native Colombian, is triple majoring in Economics, Diplomacy and International Relations, and Modern Languages focusing on French and Chinese. She is currently the President of the French Club, works consistently with the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE), and teaches middle-age adults "English as a Second Language" (ESL).
In the summer of 2015, Luisa returned to Colombia for a month after a 15 year absence. Along with her boyfriend Sebastian, and her immediate family, Toro discovered a foundation in Barrio Cuba, Pereira, that provides shelter for children between the ages of 0-18 years and mothers who have been abused, abandoned, or are in need of protection. Toro's first impression of Fundación 'Esta es mi Casa' was overwhelming, "It was my first time facing that type of reality, a reality that so many children are facing around the world. Sebastian and I decided that we needed to help". Luisa immediately contacted the director of the foundation, Lisandro Ramirez Rojas, and offered to volunteer to help the kids in Barrio Cuba during the month she was there.
Some of her unique experiences included shaving young girls' hair after they were diagnosed with head lice, listening to the stories of some of the older kids, and sharing her experiences about her life in the U.S. She was amazed by the optimistic attitude the kids had about their lives regardless of their poor living conditions.
Although her time in Colombia was coming to an end, Luisa knew that there was still a lot of work that had to be done. After arriving in the U.S., Luisa organized multiple events to raise funds for clothes, shoes, personal care articles, and school supplies. Her goal is to educate the children in specific fields that will help them acquire skills necessary to obtain jobs or even to start their own businesses.
Luisa hopes that in joining ELC, she will be able to create change in others lives, much like she had during her time in Colombia. Toro discussed her experience as a new ELC member. "I am new to the Unanue Institute, and have already been exposed to amazing leaders and opportunities. I have always tried to surround myself with people that have the same mentality as me and ELC will definitely open doors to meeting leaders and people that will guide me towards where I want to go. I want to become a leader and help people."
The Exito Leadership Club was created in 2014 to mentor, guide and develop students to become professional and community leaders; to provide participants with practical advice on how to approach academic and career objectives; to inspire students to become business and community leaders, and to instill the importance of community service among students. ELC encourages its members to grow academically, professionally, and personally as they find pride in contributing to their community.
If you wish to join the Exito Leadership Club, or have any questions about the club, please contact the Institute's Graduate Assistant, Franchesca Guzman.