Questions And Answers With Juan Vargas

September 16, 2019

Memorial Staff

Juan Vargas
Community Youth Counselor Level II, Disaster Case Management Program in Community Youth Services

Q: What are your responsibilities as a Community Youth Counselor?

A: Currently I am working with the ALLIES program (Adults living life independently, educated and safe) 70-79 years young. My job as a case manager is to improve their life to maintain independency in the community and be safe at home. This prevents isolation, which leads to depression.

Q: When did you join the Memorial family?

A: I’ve worked for Memorial for five years, not counting the hours I volunteered at the Emergency Room at Memorial Regional Hospital.

Q: Are you involved in other volunteer or service activities?

A: I’m currently the chair of the community service MEET team. We try to encourage employees to engage with one another and try to make work fun. When I was at Memorial Support Services I was co-chair [of MEET]. It’s good to see employees interact with each other, not just about work. We’re family, so we need to have the bond together to be able to make it through the hard times.

Q: How has being part of the Memorial Healthcare System impacted your life?

A: I owe a lot to Memorial. Before I began volunteering, I was still unsure what I wanted to do career-wise. I had just started at Miami Dade College. I was still not able to work in the United States, so I said what I can do is get experience by volunteering while still going to school. At the time, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Memorial saved my mom’s life. I owe a great amount of debt in that sense. That led me to volunteer as well. I just fell in love with the culture and the staff. Not only were they nice to me as a volunteer, but they were also very nice to my mom. I thought, ‘What an opportunity to work for this kind of organization.’

Right after I finished volunteering, I got the ability to work in the United States through DACA in 2012. I ended up with Memorial as my first job in the United States. It’s been a blessing. Every single day I wake up knowing that I’m helping [people].

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born in Bogotá, Colombia. I came to the United States in the early 90s, when I was six. This is the only place I call home. I grew up an American.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, it was really emotional for me, because I was the first person in family to get a bachelor’s degree. There was more on the line than just getting a degree; it was a life achievement. I was able to obtain the job I have now because of it. I’m going to continue my education. Next fall I will start on my master’s degree in social work. I’m doing it because this great country that I call home has given me the ability and the opportunity to do so. I don’t want to take it for granted.

Q: Finally, what do you do in your spare time?

A: In my spare time I love to go Disney with my wife, play video games, draw, and read comic books. I am big geek and pop culture fanatic.