Esperanza College was birthed from a tugging at the heart to impact the lives of people beyond the Sunday morning pulpit. It was, and is, a college unique to any other; an institution of redemption, grace and hope. This tug was felt by a group of Hispanic pastors in North Philadelphia in 1982 as they rallied together to serve a community suffering from poverty, unstable housing, low educational attainment, and high crime. The result was the creation of the Hispanic Clergy and in 1987, they developed a non-profit organization, called Nueva Esperanza Inc.

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Community and Human Service

Prof. Carr-Lemke in Class

Community and Human Services Program Overview

The Community and Human Services (CHS) concentration provides academic preparation for students who plan further study and careers in human services, nonprofit administration, social work and community development.

The concentration focuses on building student understanding of helping skills, such as assessment and problem-solving, which are used in services ranging from case management to community development.  The concentration fosters an interdisciplinary approach to empowering communities and developing the knowledge and skills necessary for the provision of social services.  Students have the opportunity to explore and articulate how their faith life informs their chosen academic and professional pathways.

Student Profile:

Andrea Herrera

Andrea Herrera is a student studying in the Community and Human Services concentration. Andrea arrived in Philadelphia from Puerto Rico in 2001, having previously worked as a secretary and with hopes of continuing in that profession. However, once in Philadelphia Andrea discovered that her English-language skills were inadequate for most positions she desired, so instead she began working in factories. Andrea later pursued certification as a medical assistant, but realized that what she truly desired was a college education. “I liked working with patients; I liked developing those relationships, but I wanted something more professional, something that would give me more options.”

Once she decided on a college education, Andrea chose Esperanza for its bilingual and bicultural environment, its location close to her home, its financial aid package, and its evening schedule.

A mother of two teenage children, Andrea wants to serve as a role model to the youth in her family. Her faith life has informed her journey, calling her to help and serve. The first in her extended family to attend college, Andrea sees herself going on for her Bachelors and Masters degrees and working with families as a therapist. She plans to help those without medical insurance or other supports to be able to access mental health care.