Born in Moroleón, Guanajuato, Mexico, and raised in Joliet, IL, Karina Villafuerte is one of the truest beacons of light you’ll ever meet. For someone who had a difficult time finding her path after high school, Karina boasts a laundry list of accomplishments.
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Karina was able to start her journey with the Girl Scouts of America working her way to become the first Innovation and Inclusion Specialist. From there, she’s spent nine years in non-profit leadership most recently finding a place at Instituto del Progreso Latino as an Employment Specialist for their Career Pathways team.
Beyond her instrumental work in the office helping people find employment opportunities, Karina founded a community project called Warm Souls helping the countless homeless in our Chicago area. They collect hundreds of essential winter items and personally deliver these items to shelters and communities all over. The personal delivery is the part that is so important to Karina. It allows her and her volunteers to have conversations with these people and give them the opportunity to tell their stories and be heard. This past year they were able to pack 120+ Warm Soul packages delivered throughout February.
Giving back for Karina doesn't stop there. She also is an independent financial advocate serving her community members, at no cost, by providing financial education, resources/connections, and guidance that can change their lives for generations to come. She measures her success by the dreams, goals, and opportunities she helps shape for other’s bright futures.