Spotlight on Staff: Alana Rodriguez
In 2014, Alana Rodriguez was hired as First U’s Religious Education Assistant. Since that time, she has worked with Mia Noren on the administrative aspects of the Religious Education program. In recent years, Alana’s role has evolved so much- including helping plan multigenerational events for the whole church, and generally going above and beyond her job description- that six months ago she was promoted to the title of Religious Education Coordinator.
For the last three and a half years, Alana has also been the Youth Programs Coordinator, working with the church’s young people from 6th-12th grades. Her role as Youth Programs Coordinator has been especially vibrant since the return to in-person church in fall 2021. There are currently 45 youth registered, and there is a typical weekly attendance of 10-12 people.
Alana told me that “when youth are in the elementary program, I consider that the time that the seeds of our faith are planted; and, when they come to the Youth Program, the roots that have grown from those seeds deepen and sustain them during a very impressionable phase of their lives.” She says that “soul matters” and there is always some discussion in youth group meetings related to the church’s monthly theological theme. She loves being part of a community that has shared values, and she believes that “children and youth programs are the most important thing we do.”
Another part of Alana’s role is co-director of First Unitarian’s yearly summer camp. She loves the planning the begins months before camp, and being a co-leader in making it all happen.
As for what keeps Alana busy when she is not at church, she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Studies, and she loves KARAOKE! She also enjoys spending time with her two young adult daughters and going to the park and playing games with her 5 year old grandson!