Master in Social Work student Lizania Hurtado is the new Emergency Assistance Program Manager for Leavenworth, Washington’s Upper Valley MEND (Meeting Each Need with Dignity), an independent human service organization dedicated to meeting the basic health, housing and hunger needs of residents and transients in the Upper Wenatchee Valley.
A native of Washington state, Lizania has always been interested in the helping fields. She previously worked in mental health but “decided to switch over” in order to assist her community by helping its members with rent, mortgage and utility bills, and access to needed services. “With a social work degree, you can explore many fields and at the same time give back to the community and people around you,” she said.
Being bilingual, Lizania is able to promote the organization’s goal of respecting the integrity and dignity of each person by addressing some in their native tongue. “I want to focus on reaching more of the Hispanic population that, due to language barriers, are not always aware of resources that can benefit them,” she said.
Pursuing an advanced degree while working is possible for Lizania because of the flexible online WNMU social work program that enables her to keep a day job. “Financially, I wasn’t as strained because I was working full time and working toward my master’s. Plus, the professors have been good about providing support,” she said. “I’ve learned it’s very doable if you have a desire to continue your education.”
This is a WNMU student profile, Stampede: Faces, Stories, Lives. Get in touch with the names of other interesting Mustangs, and we’ll consider sharing their stories here.