Melissa Cornelius-Freyre has always had a passion for teaching. Her mom, a teacher herself, told Melissa from a young age to go find a career where she could make money. It didn’t matter, though, because Melissa knew she would be an educator from a young age when she would line up her My Little Ponies to play “school.’ Melissa is a Texas State and UTSA alum and has worked in the field of special education for 16 years. She currently has her dream job as a Transition Specialist for The Nellie Reddix Center in Northside ISD. Previously she worked as a director at The Arc of San Antonio and has taught middle school through post-high school. A San Antonio transplant, Melissa loves this city and is passionate about making our community inclusive to all, regardless of ability or need.
Why have you decided to serve as a Trailblazer for the JLSA?
As a previous JLSA volunteer I have seen the difference that can be made through a dedicated group of women who believe change is possible. I look forward to seeing the results of this labor within the children of our San Antonio community.
Who and/or what inspires you to pave a path in our community (be a community leader/participant)?
I do this for a former student who battled with mental illness as long as I knew him. In his heart was a boy who wanted to love and be loved, but his illness sabotaged him every step of the way towards adulthood. He deserved better. The children in our community deserve better. They deserve a chance to learn how to navigate trauma and process their feelings in a way that can help them grow. My hope is that this partnership between JLSA and Clarity will be an opportunity to help children understand their feelings, learn to deal with stressors, know where and when to get help, and become happy, caring adults.