Heather Parrino – Humans of UofL

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    Heather Parrino

    I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. I attended Newburg Middle School, Fern Creek High School, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Louisville. I was a first-generation college student. My mother died during my senior year of high school. It was a huge point of change in my life. My mother always instilled high values around faith in God, education, and health. I had a lot of big decisions to make.

    IMG_8334I knew that I was going to continue my education and continue to put God first in my life. While I was pursuing my degrees I experienced trials and success. I had amazing mentors along the way from EKU, UofL, and the community. I would have never made it without them. I did not stick with my original major, but I still use the skills daily. I was very passionate about becoming a teacher. At EKU, it was required that students earn a specific score on the ACT to gain acceptance into the Education program. I missed it by one point six times.

    I failed at standardized tests, but I never failed to stop wanting to work with the students. I loved working with the students that the other people in my classes did not want to work with in the classrooms. I loved the difficult kids. I loved the kids that came from tough backgrounds. They were my people. I was drawn to them. I found that shifting my major to Social Work was a perfect fit for me.img_8053

    I am a Macro Social Worker. I manage the BRICC Coalition which stands for Building Resilience In Campus Community. We use a public health model to impact state law, increase the standard of care for students through AlcoholEdu and Haven, and impact students directly through alcohol prevention programming. We work with resilient, high-risk, successful, hard-working students at UofL and they develop into even more amazing graduates that impact our community as alumni in various fields. I have been blessed with many mentors along the way.

    IMG_8045My favorite class at UofL was Macro Social Work because we learned through real life experiences. Liz Martin took us to visit residents and learn about the Hope VI Revitalization Grant. We worked with community partners to create a needs assessment for the Preston Corridor project. I worked with Metro United Way for my practicum and I was able to learn from hundreds of community organizations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. It was an extraordinary opportunity to learn from lead directors that have been working in the field for years. I still connect with many of them in the work that I do now. I am a version of a student that a lot of people work with here at UofL. If I didn’t have heros like them, I probably wouldn’t be here. Faith is a huge part of my life and I feel like this is where God has put me to serve.

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