Maleena Guido ’22 Impacts Bay Area Youth Facing Housing Insecurity

Maleena Guido ’22, a Justice, Community, and Leadership (JCL) and Theology and Religious Studies (TRS) double major, has made it her mission to “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly.” This summer, Guido participated in Saint Mary’s Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action’s (CILSA) MICAH Summer Fellowship at Alameda Point Collaborative, a supportive housing center that serves 500 Alameda County residents. After working with underserved preschoolers through Jumpstart for the past three years, Guido will also join CILSA’s Bay Area Youth (BAY) Collaborative this fall, where she will continue to work at Alameda Point Collaborative’s Teen Center. 

As a MICAH fellow, Guido coordinated college field trips and outings for formerly homeless youth at Alameda Point Collaborative. “As someone who’s faced housing insecurity and as someone who’s still low-income, it’s really fulfilling to know that I’m building positive connections with these teens, and it’s fulfilling to know that, even though this relationship is just getting started, we have the rest of the school year to nourish it and get to know each other,” said Guido. 

Guido and the BAY Collaborative team will visit the Teen Center weekly to provide support throughout the academic year. “There’s academic resources, like workshops on how to register for the SAT, ACT, how to get waivers, how to apply for college, how to apply for FAFSA,” said Guido, “but we also do other things, like if they want to learn how to cook a certain recipe, if they want to learn how to garden, if the kids want to just talk about anime or have a trivia night. It’s really what the kids want it to be, but we’re also there for mentorship and academic resources.” 

Guido said the JCL Education Specialist Teacher Education program, which allows students to earn their Bachelor of Arts and Preliminary Education Specialist Credential in four years, drew her to Saint Mary’s. “Learning that I could stay a fifth year and get my master’s in special education, or even get my Spanish Bilingual Authorization for a fifth year, I was really drawn to those educational opportunities,” said Guido. “And I really liked the idea of small classes because I’m big on learning. I want to be a teacher and I really admire the idea of a classroom community,” she added.  

Guido thanked JCL Professors Manisha Anantharaman, Michael Viola, and Alicia Rusoja for giving her the confidence to pursue a career in teaching. “These three JCL professors affirm me in doing what I want to do: getting into social justice work to help those in need in the world. A lot of people look down on social justice work, or even education, because it doesn’t make a lot of money, but talking to people like them who are so passionate about it helps me understand the importance of it.”

As a first-generation student, Guido credits her success and involvement to mentors in the High Potential Program. “I’m the first person in my family to go to college, first one to go to a four-year university and graduate from a four-year university, so I feel like I’m trying to get the most out of my experience. I can’t just go to school to go to school—I’ve got to be involved. 

“I would say I’m a busy person, but everything that’s filling up my schedule are things that fulfill me.”

“Everything I’ve done at CILSA lines up with my academic and future career goals,” said Guido, who plans to become a special education teacher and pursue non-profit work. Guido’s internship was funded by the Liberal Arts Bridge (LAB) Internship Scholarship, a program that provides scholarships up to $5,000 to supplement unpaid or underpaid summer internships with non-profit or public sector employers. The LAB Program aims to support Liberal Arts students as they explore career options, develop professional skills, and gain experience in the workplace.

To learn more about the The LAB Internship Scholarship, click here