Yachira Torres is a senior at the College of the Holy Cross majoring in English and Spanish; she has lived in Plumley Village since she was six years old. As a child, Yachira participated in the programs offered at Plumley Village after school and during the summer. She also participated in nearly every academic enhancement program offered by her middle and high schools. Yachira's outgoing personality and determination to do well in school led her to the College of the Holy Cross, where she has maintained her strong academic performance while cultivating a wide circle of friends. She currently works as a guide in the Admissions Office and is the liaison between Worcester's North High School and the College. In this position, she meets with high school students to introduce them to college and to assist with their transition into higher education.
Additionally, Yachira is giving back to the Plumley Village community as the instructor for the Plumley Village Girls Empowerment Program. This program for middle school girls ages 11-14, funded in part by the Worcester Women's Initiative, addresses issues of violence in the lives of girls. Yachira meets with approximately 20 girls twice a week to provide homework assistance, lead topical discussions and activities, and provide the girls with access to guest speakers and field trips. An excellent role model for her mentees, Yachira is positive, thoughtful, and has developed a trusting relationship with the girls. For many of the girls, Yachira is the only person they know, outside of school, who has gone to college. Yachira was recently awarded the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Visions Award as this year's Young Leader for her dedication to her neighborhood and school communities.