Valiore Corral’s experiences have led her to where she is today, helping others because of the help she was given.
Corral served 14 years in the military as an information systems operator analyst, deploying three times.
Corral, a first-generation college student, was inspired to become a social worker because of one who “saved her life.”
“Ms. Kristie Jones, a licensed clinical social worker who worked on Fort Carson, saw the sadness in me that I could no longer see in myself,” Corral shared. “Even though I thought I was fine, she did not walk away from me until I was ready to receive her help truly. Her patience was undeniable, and the safety she provided for me to be authentically me was something I wanted then and now to provide to the people I encounter.”
Corral said that as she was exiting the military, Jones told her she could not wait to call her a colleague.
“That stuck with me,” Corral said. “I am proud to say that I am now her colleague and the impact she made on my life I can only hope to pay forward to someone else.”
Before arriving at Newman for her studies, Corral was a student at Pikes Peak Community College. During one of her classes, Yelando Johnson, division chair and program director of the School of Social Work, visited and shared information about the degree.
“She made me believe that she would be on my educational journey with me,” Corral recalled. “Little did I know she would be right there with me teaching and adding to the desire I already had to become a social worker. She inspired me back then just as much as she does today.”
What Corral enjoyed most about her experience at Newman was the family-like feeling.
“Even though my professors were my teachers, they felt more like mentors guiding us in this big new world called social work,” she said. “When they said to reach out if we need them, I felt they genuinely meant it. It was not just ‘lip service.’ They made it worth coming to school every day and a joy to do so.”
Since graduating with her Master of Social Work degree, Corral has been volunteering with Silver Key Senior Services in Colorado Springs as a veteran companion. She’s also transitioning from working as a veteran-directed care case manager into a career as an outpatient therapist at Cedar Springs Hospital.
In the future, Corral plans to become a licensed clinical social worker and complete a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on nonprofit management. She also hopes to open her own nonprofit to better support the geriatric community, veterans and families.
“I think about me choosing social work as a career, but in all honesty, I feel social work chooses its people,” Corral said. “The professors and the literature can only teach a student so much, but the heart of the individual is what makes us the best in the helping business.”
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