Spotlight on staff:  Nayely Garcia

The Kalamazoo native had her eye on AACORN as she was deciding which organization to choose for her summer internship.

“I wanted to expand my experience,” Garcia said.

She has past experience working with people with developmental disabilities as a camp counselor for the City of Kalamazoo Department of Parks and Recreation.

Garcia’s interest also took her abroad in Costa Rica in January 2020. She spent three months studying programs based on community and global health.

“We learned about the health system in Costa Rica and the vulnerable populations over there,” she said.

During her stay in Costa Rica she volunteered weekly teaching English to adults with developmental disabilities. These experiences are what drew Garcia to AACORN, especially the unique opportunity it offers the participants.

“Working on a farm is just something neat,” she said.

Garcia, who will be a senior in the fall, is currently studying psychology and her education is expected to be helpful in creating behavioral plans, among other aspects.

“Because she understands the behavioral psychology aspect of this job,” said Program Manager Chapin Cole.

On top of that, Garcia is an artist and is helping making beautiful signs to go around the farm, including a sign for the new petting zoo.

While her six week internship comes to an end this week, Garcia said she is very happy to know that her time on the farm will not.

“I had gained a connection with all the participants here,” she said. “I just love this organization, I was kind of sad that I was going to leave.”

And when she’s not on the farm, Garcia loves hanging out with her family, crafting, and going on adventures.

She plans on more adventures after graduating from Kalamazoo college. Garcia is planning to attend graduate school in Michigan to further explore her interest in psychology. She is still deciding whether she will study behavioral, developmental, or educational psychology.

If you happen to be on the farm on Tuesdays and Thursdays make sure to say hi to Nayely and check out her beautiful art around the farm!