Volunteer Highlight: Bethany Cardenas

My name is Bethany Christine Cardenas and I live in Cypress, California. I am 24 years old and I am currently a college student studying at Biola. I am from a small town from Central Valley California called Turlock, and came to southern CA for college. I am one of six children in my family and am also a twin. I am passionate about helping people, reading, my tiny-toy poodle named Klaus, and spending time with friends and family. My biggest upcoming challenge or project will be applying for and gaining entry into graduate school-wish me luck!

Career Aspirations:

I am an undergrad student at Biola University studying communications sciences and disorders to one day become a speech language pathologist. I originally became interested in the profession when I was working as a CNA or Certified Nurse’s Assistant at an intensive care hospital. Many of the patients there had suffered from stroke or T.B.I. and I experienced what an impact it made on their ability to speak and perform daily tasks. I want to specialize in this area as an SLP and hope to work in the hospital setting in the future.

B.R.A.I.N Volunteer:

I have been volunteering for B.R.A.I.N for a little over a year now and have been involved in the Cognitive Fitness Class and B.R.A.I.N Cells program. I was the instructor for the cognitive fitness course for around 4-5 months, which was supervised by Angela Mandas, CCC-SLP of B.R.A.I.N. This was an amazing experience where I constructed and lead activities that would improve cognitive skills and memory. I believe I learned more from those I worked with than they learned from me. Quick shout out to this awesome group!

I am currently still part of the brain cells program where survivors are matched with connector volunteers to provide friendship and guidance in pursuing their personal goals. The survivor I was paired with was Kamri and there is little wonder why! We have a lot in common: we both have large and loud families, we are both strong willed, and we are around the same age. Her main goal was to get into college and I am currently in college so that is the task we have been working on. We have become friends in the process.

Her incident was tough on her both mentally and physically but she is the strongest person I know. She is resilient. Being a part of her journey and watching her improve has been an honor. She has recently been improving a lot in her ability to speak, a direct result of working so hard in speech therapy. I am very proud of her and her innate ability to give one-hundred percent in all that she does. She is an inspiration for all, and the bottom line is that I am glad we were matched together in the B.R.A.I.N Cell program.