“I consider myself a culture philanthropist. I use my passion for education to promote my culture with the goal of motivating everyone around me to lead
positive lives and to share their culture with others to promote the same kind of growth.” Herrera continued, “In the classroom I share my native language and a vision for a better tomorrow, in the community I share ideas that make my Latino culture an asset to the teams where I participate, and with my circle of friends and family I share my daily commitment to improving through hard work and trust.”
Herrera teaches Spanish as an adjunct professor at UTC and at McCallie School. She graduated from UTC with her Masters in Education in 2011. Herrera considers herself a lifelong learner and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Education with a concentration in online learning.
“I continue to study because it is a positive way to serve as a role model to future generations. Our studies are a way to display resilience and commitment to excellency,” Herrera said.
When she’s not teaching or studying, Herrera works with local organizations to motivate and promote economical growth in the community with “acts of culture.” With Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE), she is working with a group to design a new community UN-association for Glenwood, Highland Park, Ridgedale, Missionary Ridge, and the Tunnel Neighborhoods of Brainerd to “expand beautification and safety in all of the areas as equally as possible.” She is also working with a group to expand a community newsletter through these neighborhoods after the first edition of the Ridgedale LampPost became so popular.
Herrera is also working with groups to foster relationships in the Chattanooga community.
“With Habitat for Humanity we have a series of signature events planned for the board of directors to meet Chattanoogans with a heart for service and who want to get connected with leaders in the community.”
Herrera continued, “Additionally, we have our Network of Multicultural Professional Women that meets once per month to promote diversity at different nonprofits and businesses in Chattanooga.”
Herrera and her students are encouraging diversity and world peace through Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) Chattanooga with their recent participation in One Day One Goal. They also participated in a hands-on workshop by International PaintPals.
“We hosted the workshop at McCallie where our 6th graders had the opportunity to draw and color posters about world peace that will be displayed at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Malala [Yousafzai] has requested for children’s art to be part of the exhibit and we are part of the 200+ pieces that will be sent to the summit from Chattanooga,” Herrera explained.
One of Herrera’s fondest memories from working in the community has been watching her students embrace and celebrate culture in Chattanooga.
She explained, “At Latin Fest last May our middle school students were in charge of playing games in Spanish with children in the community. It was a great pleasure to see young culture philanthropist in action; they shared their sports culture with festival participants in Spanish and promoted diversity by embracing our Spanish language as the target language for the festival.”