A Life Dedicated to Service
By Daniel Rico, Online Giving Manager, NCLR
For Sterling Garcia, spending a career serving others was not something he had ever really considered doing.
“If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would build a career dedicated to service, I would have probably told you that you were crazy!”
As it turns out, that is exactly what the newest member of NCLR’s Resource Development team has been doing and the next chapter is being written here in Washington, DC. Sterling came on board in July as NCLR’s newest Development Officer and he could not be more excited to be here.
Serving His Country
Originally from the Bronx, Sterling started his service to others by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. His reasons for doing so were twofold. First, he wanted to serve his country. If he was going to do it, he wanted to be a part of an elite group that would make a difference; the Marine Corps was a perfect fit. Second, coming from a family without the ability to send him to college, Sterling wanted to ensure there were resources to help him achieve his goal of a college degree. He served for five years and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 2001. Sterling was back home in New York, working in Manhattan, when 9/11 happened.
“Like many Americans, I was shocked, but more so that it was happening right here at home,” said Sterling. “Up to this point, this was something that only happened overseas, in places where I would wear camouflage and full combat gear.”
The events of 9/11 eventually would only strengthen his resolve to continue to give, but his next step was obtaining a degree.
At the University of Hartford, Sterling’s experience echoed the findings of our report, Resilient Latino Youth: In Their Own Words. On-campus programs and mentors helped him achieve as a first-generation college student. One of his mentors was Lee Peters, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Dr. Peters helped him refine his career aspirations of serving students and played an integral role in attending graduate school at Florida State University (FSU).
It was there Sterling discovered he could have a career serving others through philanthropy. He spent the next few years working in higher education, raising funds for scholarship students at both FSU and Penn State. But, something was missing.
“I wanted a way to impact the lives of young people with similar experiences to my own,” said Sterling.
As NCLR’s newest Development Officer, Sterling will now have the opportunity to serve those with the same cultural experiences he had growing up.
“I’m excited to be a part of NCLR and I can’t wait to get out there and talk to others about our shared experiences,” said Sterling.
One of the things he is most looking forward to is the next Annual Conference in Orlando. Not only will it be his first Conference with NCLR, but it will happen in the city where he was married; Sterling was married at Disney World in what he calls a “fairytale wedding.” His wife Katie and their two children enjoy returning to Orlando every year to celebrate.
Although the NCLR National Conference is scheduled for July of 2016, you don’t have to wait until then to meet him. In addition to the DC Metro area, he will be visiting the following cities and would be happy to connect with you while he is there. Email him at [email protected].
New York City