Staff Spotlight: Paulina Serna

Paulina first became involved with Raising Special Kids about 14 years ago when her twins were born. Her son Luis was born with spina bifida, and she needed support from other parents who had similar experiences. Paulina appreciated the guidance she received from Raising Special Kids, and she wanted to get more involved. She started as a volunteer parent leader and later joined the Raising Special Kids staff as a bilingual Family Support Specialist.

Paulina has been with Raising Special Kids for nine years, and she loves assisting families with their disability journeys. She also helped develop procedures for working families of infants and toddlers through a collaboration between Raising Special Kids and the Arizona Early Intervention Program. Paulina also served as an active member of the Alliance for Children and Youth with Unique Challenges, a Parent Advisor for the Arizona Department of Health Services Office of Children with Special Needs, and she continues her professional development. These experiences enable her to serve the community and provide families with support they need in English and Spanish.

Recently, Paulina joined Raising Special Kids’ Positive Family Coaching team, where she assists families of children receiving behavioral health services. Paulina said she learns so much from the families she has the privilege of working within this new role. “I really enjoy being part of the organization and seeing how we can bring happiness and hope to families who are where I was at one point at the beginning of my journey,” Paulina shared. “I don’t think I could do this work if my heart was not in it and it truly is.”

Looking back, Paulina is proud of how far her son Luis has come. As he heads into high school next year, they will keep breaking barriers together. “We will continue to advocate for Luis and other children with disabilities so they can be included in activities the rest of the kids do,” Paulina said. “Luis will be going on a school trip to Washington D.C. this year and I am so grateful he will have this opportunity!”

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