Kimberly Colula was not very outgoing growing up in Glenwood. She was an honor student at Centerpoint High School who aspires to be a medical doctor, has participated in Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and was a choir member, lector and religious education director. She said she gained her confidence serving in Encuentros de Promocion Juvenil, known as EPJ, a program for Hispanic young adults, to teach the importance of accepting the Gospel through spiritual development.
“I was very shy. I didn’t feel I was capable of speaking in public,” Colula said. “When we got there (to a weekend encounter) they told me, ‘You are going to give this talk,’ It was enriching. I thought I could not do this, but realized I can connect with others. The main goal of EPJ is youth becoming active in the Church and serving our parish.”
She said the experience gave her confidence to grow. She had received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Central Arkansas and she began working toward a master’s degree in biomedical science at Kansas City University. During her studies in Missouri, she worked counseling inner-city youth for AmeriCorp.
“We were mentors. We were there to provide a positive influence for the students,” Colula said. “I loved it. I was able to live and grow and learn.”
The 28-year-old completed her studies and returned to Glenwood in June. Today she works as a medical assistant.
She said her role models are her parents, Jorge and Concepcion Colula, who taught her that service to the church and education are necessary for her to be successful. Her father was a founder of the Glenwood church.
“My parents felt education was important,” Colula said. “I was always trying to do my best. If I wasn’t studying, I was at church.”
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