Arielle Maldonado was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood called Logan Square. Growing up on the inner city streets of Chicago were tough and shaped who Arielle is today; a proud, driven Puerto Rican woman working to make a difference in the world.
Arielle graduated from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in 2008. While studying at Walter Payton, Arielle had the opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese for four years. In 2007, Arielle was chosen to participate in a full expense paid study abroad trip to Shanghai, China. The trip was sponsored by the State Department along with a grant from Motorola. The six-week stay at East China Normal University helped to reinforce her study of Mandarin. One of her biggest accomplishments was making it to the top of the Great Wall in Beijing.
At Payton, Arielle was President of the Environmental Club, Vice President of Animal Rights Club, and a participant in Model U.N. Arielle spent a lot of time in the school’s green house, which opened the door to urban gardening for her.
Before choosing to attend Tufts University, Arielle had the opportunity to attend the Business College at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign on a full scholarship. She chose Tufts because she wanted to grow and experience a new city. She does not regret her decision as she made many international friends, got to travel along the east coast, and be independent in Boston.
Arielle graduated in 2012 with a BA Degree in Economics & Chinese along with a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
In 2011, as a junior at Tufts, Arielle interviewed and was chosen for an interfaith group service trip to Rwanda, a country in Africa famously known for its 1994 genocide. Through Tufts Hillel she mentored teenage orphans from the genocide at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in rural Rwanda. It was there during her one-month stay that she made countless friends and learned the importance of giving back. Arielle returned to Rwanda in January 2014 to attend the graduation of the students she mentored there.
Arielle spent a year working in the renewable energy field after graduating from Tufts University. She then decided to make the switch to the non-profit sector in 2013 to better serve those at-risk in her community by taking a role as Development Assistant for The Boston Foundation. However, she made the decision to move back to her hometown Chicago in 2014 to follow her passion of being an advocate against gun & gang violence and to fight for human rights of those living in poverty. She started out by volunteering with Parents for Peace & Justice, playing a crucial role in managing their Facebook page, email blasts, website creation, and assisting with event coordination. In Fall of 2015, Arielle began a new project she co-founded called The Healing Corner. The Healing Corner is a community outreach program that goes to different street corners known for violence primarily on the West Side to pass out free food, hugs, and resources in an effort to cultivate a dialogue around the issue of violence while building community relationships. Arielle still leads The Healing Corner in its mission to inundate neighborhoods known for violence with Hope, Empowerment, Atonement, and Love to create unity and peace. Most recently, Arielle served as Development Coordinator for The Global FoodBanking Network, an international non-profit that helps start and support food banks around the world to fight hunger. Arielle is currently a Substitute Teacher with CPS when she is not in the streets or doing Healing Corner planning.
Arielle is on a never-ending mission to bring about peace and social justice locally as well as globally. E-mail Arielle if you are interested in joining her movement.