Mariela Regalado, is a Dominicana from Brooklyn who works as a College Counselor, helping to change the landscape for students of color attending institutions of higher learning. She works for the Young Women’s Leadership Network, College Bound Initiative program. Mariela chose to work at a middle school and high school located in the same neighborhood she grew up in. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised between the Williamsburg and Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She is able to pour her passion and experience into the work she does with students because she grew up with the same obstacles and circumstances they currently fight against.
Mariela was recognized as a “Hometown Hero” in Education in the series created by the New York Daily News. The Daily News presents the Hometown Heroes in Education to showcase NYC educators who display generosity, compassion, dedication, selflessness and ingenuity. She was nominated for the award by Johileny Meran, a former student, and homeless teen with Cerebral Palsy. Johileny currently attends NYU and lives on campus on a full scholarship thanks to the guidance of Mariela in helping her craft a winning application and apply for financial aid.
Last Fall, she was presented the award by James Milliken, the Chancellor of CUNY. A large percentage of her students attend CUNY schools, while 95% of her graduating class attends college upon graduation. During her birthday she was given the honor of introducing Mayor Bill De Blasio for his press conference on “Education & Equity”. It was because of her personal story and her work as a college counselor.
She was inspired by her 7th grade ELA teacher to write. Recognizing the importance of giving students a safe space to create and find themselves through Art, she co-facilitates creative writing and poetry workshops. She hosts these monthly workshops with “Brooklyn Gypsies” at the Brooklyn Public Library for teens to unlock their creativity and strengthen elements of style. She is also a member of the Full Circle Ensemble and has performed with them in several events at the National Black Theater in Harlem. Mariela is currently working on documenting her multidimensional experience through bilingual poetry and prose. She is a daughter, sister, friend, counselor, mentee and mentor, foodie, writer, Latina, and the proud mom of a Pomeranian Yorkie named Lola.