A Passion for Advocacy
Summer camp can be life changing. For Ivalis Guajardo, North Texas, summer camp is where she developed her passion to become an advocate for individuals with disabilities, setting her on a path to become a speech language pathologist.
A first-generation college student from San Antonio, Ivalis began her studies at the University of North Texas, where she became an RA to help pay for college. While the campus job helped, she still relied on student loans to bridge the financial gap. In her senior year, Ivalis received a scholarship from the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.
As a senior, Ivalis was balancing a lot — academics, finances, leadership roles in campus organizations, and volunteer work in the community — all while completing applications for graduate school to continue her studies to become a speech language pathologist. “I had a lot on my plate but loved being active on campus and giving back to my community as much as possible,” she says. When she received the scholarship from the Kappa Foundation, Ivalis was able to focus on her senior year and future plans without needing additional student loans. “Being a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma opened so many doors for me,” she says, “and this scholarship has given me the ability to stay in school, have this sisterhood, and keep making a change by advocating for the people I love.”
Being a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma opened so many doors for me, and this scholarship has given me the ability to stay in school, have this sisterhood, and keep making a change by advocating for the people I love.
During her time in Zeta Sigma Chapter, North Texas, Ivalis got her Kappa sisters involved with the disability community. Every week, chapter members would visit the local elementary school and, during each visit, a Kappa would volunteer in the classroom for those with special needs. Ivalis recalls the teachers saying that no one had volunteered in their rooms before.
Over the years, Ivalis has fostered connections with the Special Olympics, working as a public representative for the organization, serving as a keynote speaker at the North American Special Olympics Conference in 2018, and representing the Special Olympics as a panel speaker at South by Southwest Edu in 2019.
Today, Ivalis continues her advocacy and is one step closer to fulfilling her dream as she pursues her master’s degree in speech language pathology at Abilene Christian University.