Student Spotlight with Gilberto Gonzalez

Mandisa Thomas
May 24, 2023
Alumni Stories

Gilberto Gonzalez is a current Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy (SIS) student. Currently, Gilberto works at the Community College of Philadelphia building relationships and connecting with neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

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Gilberto Gonzalez

Gilberto discusses his passion and work in social impact.

My lived experience has prepared me and has guided my passion for using education as the catalyst for empowering my community. Education saved my life, and I know it can do the same for many other people in poor communities throughout our city. The Community Base Organization Initiative will bring our college’s programs for our youth to access. Every person we bring into college is a life we save.

Gilberto shares his experience meeting classmates during our on-campus convening this past March.

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Gilberto at the 2023 Convening

I was very happy with the convening and meeting wonderful fellow cohort members. I always feel like people don’t want to connect with me because of the way I look. Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia have always had the stigma of being drug dealers and gang members. I am happy that my cohort members were open to connecting and having conversations. By exchanging stories and sharing moments, I felt like I mattered and that I existed.

Gilberto shares advice for future applicants

I encourage everyone who wants to be a change-maker to take this course. I have been an activist for 30 years, but taking this course has given me the tools and language I need to scale my initiative of giving my community access to college and certificate programs. In the past months, I have developed systems to start collecting data and build a stakeholder group. One of the yields and impact of this initiative was that on Saturday, April 29th, 2023, after two years of unsuccessfully trying to bring in the youth basketball organization La Liga del Barrio, we finally had them on campus. We had over 500 youth and their parents on our campus. La Liga youth and parents were so happy and finally felt that they were important. I am working on our second MOA, which will be with La Liga. Our first MOA with 12Plus will be launched in June. If you have passion for your community and want tools to help you in your efforts, then take this course. The students and staff have changed my life.

We are thankful Gilberto shared his story! Follow our page to hear from more brilliant Changemakers. Looking to learn more about our Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy(SIS)? Sign up for our summer information sessions or watch previous recordings from last year.

SIS graduates are eligible to apply to the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated, on-campus, or online format. The NPL program is a ten-credit master’s program; SIS Alumni must complete six credits to graduate.

Applications for the 2024 Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy will go live this summer. Follow our page for the official launch and other important information!