A correctional specialist for the Washington State Penitentiary for 22 years, Antonia Alvarado-Jackson's commitment to the Walla Walla community has far exceeded what her profession requires. Her dedication to community service has earned her a reputation as a tireless volunteer, befitting of the countless unpaid hours she has invested in nonprofit events and organizations. "I continue to be involved because every day I try to make a difference," she said. In 2007, the Washington State Department of Corrections gave her its Annual Agency Community Service Award in recognition of her efforts.
Alvarado-Jackson's passion for community service has led her to a wide assortment of volunteer activities. In addition to her job as a correctional specialist, she has worked at WSP as an Employee Association Board member and a Diversity/Veteran's Committee member. In addition, Alvarado-Jackson coordinated a fundraiser for a co-worker's daughter with special medical needs. Her motivation to volunteer at work is at once introspective and interpersonal. "I feel that I have tried to make my morals, values and self-worth count in my employment." she said.
Outside of WSP, Alvarado-Jackson is a member of the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force Committee and the Chemical Dependency Board, and she is a reserve deputy sheriff at the County Sheriff's Office. She particularly enjoys law enforcement community service because it shares the same goal as corrections: safety in the community. Alvarado-Jackson also works as a Spanish interpreter for the County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team. In one case, she helped translate for a Hispanic family who reported a missing child. One day later, the child was found. "To know that I helped get a child back home made my day," she said.
Beyond law enforcement related activities, Alvarado-Jackson also organizes yearly fundraisers as a board member of United Way, and she participates in Friends of Walla Walla, a multicultural task force designed to increase Latino families' awareness of child services. As a Mexican-American born and raised in Washington, one of her personal goals is to increase the visibility of Walla Walla's Hispanic community through better English education and a promotion of mutual understanding across cultural boundaries. "For me, education is knowledge and knowledge is power, so therefore we can strengthen those whom we take...