Founder/President, Guatemala Cultural Organization
Grant Writer, Lawrence Community Works
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera's Hispanic Heritage Award, 2017
Casa Guatemala's Outstanding Guatemalan Woman Award, 2016
Olivia is a community organizer, activist, and volunteer in the City of Lawrence. Olivia was born in Guatemala where she lived until the age of ten, when her parents decided to immigrate to the United States.
Her parent’s resiliency and determination as immigrants and her struggles as a former DREAMer have played a major role in shaping who she is today. Although the term DREAMer originally took its name from the bill in Congress, it also reflects the situation of millions of undocumented youth who, like Olivia, have big hopes and dreams for a better future.
At the age of 24, Olivia founded the Guatemalan Cultural Group, a community based volunteer network that focuses on the advancement of newcomer families in Lawrence as a way of providing a voice to underrepresented communities, and a safe haven to others who may be in similar situations as she and her family once were.
Throughout the years, Olivia has been involved in several collective action initiatives including DACA application drives, immigration forums and disaster relief fund raisers. She has made great partnerships with community stakeholders, leaders and organizations; all of which have cemented her mission of being an activist for the community.
Olivia currently works as a grant writer in resource development at Lawrence Community Works (LCW), a progressive nonprofit that believes in the power of the people. LCW weaves together community planning, organizing, asset-building efforts and affordable housing as a way to empower families and individuals in Lawrence. Her role in resource development at this organization gives her a unique perspective to the various opportunities for the advancement of the Latino community in the City of Lawrence.
She plans to continue empowering recent immigrants to become engaged members of the community, and to further her commitment as an activist for immigrants’ rights.