Catalena Palomino: How a Service Project Inspired Her Future Career

After mentoring a child who was really shy and struggled with keeping the rhythm the day comes where Junior Catalena Palmino rejoices after mentoring a child she saw struggling. 

From the start of Fall to the end of spring Palmino volunteers for the Penguin project at New Tampa players. The Penguin project is a musical with each role played by children and young adults with various disabilities. 

 Stating in September, mentors ages eight and up are assigned with an actor the same age or close to their age. the actors are also assigned based on the amount of guidance needed to perform their role.  

Palmino’s’ mother was the one who found out about the Penguin project by scrolling on Facebook and then being later told about it from a family friend. Volunteering at New Tampa Players started out as an idea for Palmino’s CAS project. (Which is a requirement for IB students to get their diploma where they must complete a number of community service hours in different categories including creative, active, and service) 

 “At first I chose it because it’s a very unique project and I thought it would look good on college applications,” she said. “But the more I got into it the more I wanted to base my career off of it too.”  

Palmino plans on becoming a physical therapist or majoring in speech and language pathology. 

Along with getting to watch kids overcome challenges Palmino forms mature relationships with their parents. The parents often share with the mentors how much their child is doing better with their help which Palmino describes as a reward.