Tempe, AZ – Aaron Garcia is pretty serious about parks and recreation, so much so, he’s planning to make a career out of it.
Aaron is age 20 and pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation Management at Arizona State University. He says his passion for parks goes way back, “I went through the programs as a kid and I volunteered there and it just stuck with me. I just love it. I don’t work when I go to work. I’m having a good time with the kids and I love what I do.”
Aaron, who works as a recreation assistant for the City of Mesa’s Parks and Recreation Department, says he may move up the career ladder in Mesa, “I would like to stay with the municipal government that I’m with now and kind of improve on the youth programs we have here in Mesa and within Arizona. I would also consider moving out of Arizona to work in another state to improve their youth programs, and kind of get youth programs rejuvenated and more out on the map. “
Aaron was born and raised in Mesa where he graduated from Westwood High School. He went on to earn a scholarship from College Success Arizona which provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for academic expenses. The Phoenix-based educational nonprofit also provides specialized mentoring services through “Success Advisers” (mentors) who work with the students to help them overcome academic and personal challenges.
Aaron says his success adviser, Barbra Scrivner, provides a lot of positive guidance, “When we have our meetings she’s always giving me great advice. She steers me in different directions and challenges me to kind of step out of my realm, and join different clubs and try new things. She’s always there to challenge me and give me a different perspective.”
Aaron adds that the scholarship has helped him stay out of debt:
“It has helped me tremendously. I cannot thank them enough. With the other scholarships that I’ve received it just wasn’t enough to cover everything. Once I found out I was getting the scholarship from College Success I was so thrilled. It gave me a full ride and I don’t have to worry about paying for tuition, I don’t have to worry about paying for books and it’s eliminated the possibility of me having to have debt when I graduate from college.”
Like many young people, Aaron says college has helped him to build self-confidence, “In high school I tended to keep to myself. I was the shy kid in class that kind of sat in the back, minded my own business, and just kind of shied away from introducing myself to people. In college I’ve decided to push myself to be more outgoing and get to know people to build a greater network, and build a greater bond with my classmates.”
Arron also encourages other young people to pursue their college dreams, “Take a look at the career you want to do. If you’re interested in going to veterinarian school or engineering school try to find volunteer opportunities, or internships, or shadow to go and check it out to see if that’s what you really want to do. And if you go and you like it, that’s amazing, you found your passion at an early age, pursue it. If you go and it’s not for you, don’t be discouraged there’s a million other jobs out there, and it may take a little while longer for you to find that passion or that spark that interests you in what you want to do for the rest of your life.”