We Are Growing!

We Are Growing!

New staff invigorates our community.

With all of the challenges and uncertainty that 2020 has brought to our lives, we are extremely grateful that the Academy has continued to thrive and grow through hard times. We are especially thrilled to have added two new staff members to our amazing team!

Dariel Paredes joined our Multimedia team in the fall. His love of film and video production began when he was a child, journaling his large tight-knit family through the lens of a video camera. He went on to study film and video production in Orlando before returning to the area to complete his bachelor’s degree in Communications, with a concentration in Broadcasting. A little-known fact about Dariel: he can sing every word to the soundtrack to Hamilton! What we quickly learned about him in his time at the Academy: he is a patient and positive facilitator who generates excitement in our members by leading fun and dynamic multimedia projects.

Vanessa Alcantara is our newest staff member, having joined our Business Tech team just this week. Vanessa is a self-described “social butterfly” who is dedicating her professional life to service and advocacy. A senior at Florida State University, she is about to graduate with a degree in Family and Child Sciences and Social Welfare. While working her way through college, she has always been drawn to jobs that put her in service to others. Vanessa shared that she is excited to build relationships with Academy members to assist their journeys in any way that she can. We also learned that she is the eldest of seven children, and that she has a mild obsession for hot chips.

The Academy has a rigorous process for hiring new staff, which includes an all-day working interview wherein candidates work side-by-side with members in each of our teams. There is also a formal panel-interview process involving significant input from our members. It’s easy to see how we all reached consensus on these two. We look forward to working side by side with Dariel and Vanessa as they become integral parts of our community.


Shown above are Dariel Paredes (left) and Vanessa Alcantara (right)