City Life

The M List 2016: Gilma Arenas

Joy of helping: Gilma Arenas of Juventud is one of 32 mentors and teachers who made the 2016 M List.

Two years after moving here in 2001 from Bogota, Colombia, Gilma Arenas began working for Centro Hispano's Juventud program. After 13 years, she is still enthusiastic about her work with the program, which prepares middle school students for life after high school and post-secondary education. As program coordinator of Juventud at Sherman Middle School, Arenas oversees the participants and the volunteers. She works closely with teachers to make sure students get the help they need and coordinates after-school program activities.

Arenas also visits the homes of her students and gets to know their families in an effort to learn how she can best support them. As a person who enjoys helping others, Arenas likes "to motivate the parents and the students."

The purpose of her job, she says, "is to help the students." Assisting them academically is important, she says, but it's also crucial "that you be a good person." When her students are successful, she is "happy and proud of them."

The M List

Madison Magazine's M List is a who's who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its fourth year, the M List recognizes those making strides as mentors and teachers. Last year's list of honorees were making impacts in the area of social innovation. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored "Foodtastic" entrepreneurs and innovators.


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