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Senior uses second chance to help others develop potential

As the manager of Whitworth's RISE program, Trinity Torres, '18, is dedicated to helping children in a low-income area of Spokane develop their potential. Whitworth has helped her live out her own potential, and she has propelled those efforts forward in her community service. 

Torres, from Seattle, was initially declined acceptance to Whitworth due to poor grades her first two years of high school.

"Funny story – Whitworth rejected me initially. I had to meet with a university representative to tell them my story and explain why my grades reflected so poorly on my academic abilities," Torres says. "I failed my first two years of high school due to familial issues, but buckled down the last two years and graduated on time. The representative took time to listen and understand my predicament and helped take a step of faith with me toward higher education by letting me reapply."

Torres was admitted the second time, and declared international business as her major.

Torres serves Spokane's West Central neighborhood through RISE. Run by Whitworth's Dornsife Center for Community Engagement, RISE is a tutoring and mentoring program based on the principle that all students have potential, and that rigorous education and genuine relationships help them achieve that potential. RISE has sites at four schools from elementary to high school, where Whitworth students tutor kids after school. As program manager, Torres oversees the four locations and meets with community partners.

"My community service is simply hanging out with kids!" Torres says. "I tutor seventh- and eighth-graders in math, and even though I am not the most competent in math, I take the opportunity to show kids how asking for help or struggling with a problem is completely natural and nothing to be ashamed of."

The RISE program gives students the chance to interact one-on-one.

"Once you warm up to a student, you can dive into their homework and become creative in figuring out a way to describe a concept to them," Torres says. "You don't think you could make an impact in such a small amount of time, but we hold more potential than I think we as individuals, communities or society as a whole like to acknowledge."

Community service is important to Torres, and she makes it a priority. She was recently nominated in the 2017 Spokane Philanthropy Awards as Outstanding Young Philanthropist. As a nominee, she received $250 to donate to the charity of her choice, which she gave to Spokane's Crosswalk Youth Shelter, where she has also volunteered.

"We are all part of a community! We are all members, and there are others out there who have not had the privileges we have had," Torres says. "Looking out for one another is how we get the most out of our community. Serving seems like a hassle sometimes, but we need to remember that we all have had some type of community pour into our development and it is time we pour back into our community."

After graduation, Torres plans to pursue Whitworth's MBA in international management graduate program. Her long-term goal is to serve with a global nonprofit, using her business education to contribute to its success.