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Student is Learning to Lead with a passion to help
Brenau junior wants to inspire others to be successful
Brenau University resident assistant Christal Dimas decorates a bulletin board Friday in Crudup Hall in anticipation of the incoming students for the new school year. Over the summer, Dimas took part in a program called Latinas Learning to Lead in Washington. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Christal Dimas is an accomplished leader, but she isn’t content.

Although she is busy accomplishing her goals, she won’t be satisfied until those around her accomplish their goals, too.

“Being a leader isn’t about having a position,” said Dimas, a Brenau University junior. “Being a leader is about helping others become the best people they can be.”

Dimas was one of 22 students selected to participate in the Latinas Learning to Lead program in Washington. She was the only Georgia representative in the program sponsored by the National Hispana Leadership Institute.

“The Latinas Learning to Lead participants are an exceptional group of young leaders who exemplify the values of NHLI and the best of our community,” said Cristina Lopez, institute president.

“As a result of participating in the program, they acquire valuable leadership and career skills, learn to be an effective voice in their community and become part of a powerful network of Latinas across the country who are working towards making a difference.”

During the weeklong program, Dimas and the other participants took part in workshops on various topics including cross-cultural communication, public policy and financial literacy. The goal of the program is to give the students skills to help them become effective leaders in their community.

“This program has boosted my confidence,” Dimas said. “I had the opportunity to meet phenomenal women from all over the country that are doing amazing things with their lives. Women that aren’t perfect — that had failures and struggles, women just like me.

“It has made me feel like I can truly do anything. I also learned the importance of the phrase, ‘When you shine, I shine.’ It helped me realize that when one of your peers is excelling in something, it doesn’t take away from your shine, it adds to it.”

Even before participating in the summer program, Dimas was an effective leader. A full-time student, she is also a resident adviser in her dorm, president of the school’s American Medical Students Association and vice president of Brenau’s Student Government Association.

Between all of those duties, Dimas still finds time to volunteer at Gainesville Middle School.

“(People) have given me so much, but as a college student with nothing monetary, I’d never be able to pay it all back,” said Dimas. “The only way that I can return it is with my time.”

Although the program is over, it has left a lasting impression on her and inspired her to give back even more to her community.

“I realize that young Latina girls need to be empowered. They need someone to look up to and someone to tell them that they are beautiful and powerful,” Dimas said. “I want to start that empowerment as early as possible, which is why I want to start a mentoring program for elementary school girls.

“As of now, I’m in the initial stages of beginning the program. I need high school students, college students, mothers, teachers, anyone who is living a positive life and feels like they could inspire a young girl.”

Dimas has plans to continue giving back to others even after graduating in 2011.

“I am a biology major. Initially I chose biology because I was intrigued by science. After my first year, I decided that I wanted to enroll in medical school after Brenau,” she said. “I want to become a doctor solely because I have a passion for helping people achieve the best quality of life possible.”