VANESSA L. MALAVE
Program Director, Camden, NJ
Where I grew up: Camden, NJ
College: Rutgers University
One of my biggest heroes is: My grandmother, Rosalina Mercado. Growing up, she was the kind of woman I’d hope to become. My grandmother has many skills and talents, but her most admirable qualities are her genuine humility, generosity and kindness.
Favorite author: My favorite author is Jean Ferris. It was a book she’d written almost 20 years ago that made me fall in love with reading.
Last book I read: “Corazon,” by Yesica Salgado.
Person who inspired me to appreciate writing: I attribute my love for writing to my high school teacher, Mrs. Marilyn Larke. Utilizing her platform as a teacher, she exposed me to different types of writing such as poetry and play writing. She shared with me her passion for the arts; that in itself inspired me to dream bigger than I ever imagined possible.
Most important thing to always remember when teaching kids: At times, things will be challenging, for nothing worth having comes easy. The ticket to succeeding is staying focused and never giving up.