Claudia Avendaño-Ibarra

Claudia Avendaño-Ibarra

Claudia Avendaño-Ibarra

Occupation: Co-chair of Skagit Valley College's Human Services Department. Owner of Raices Consulting and Counseling. 

Residence: Mount Vernon. 

Education: Masters degree in social work from Eastern Washington University. 

What do you like about living in Skagit County? "Our community is changing and we look different. I feel that here we’re willing to reconsider and reinvent."

What are your hobbies? Reading, making health and body products, traveling. "I’d love to go back to Bali. I love the gratitude culture there, and the peacefulness.”

The world would be a better place if: "I think, if we had more authentic relationships with diverse people, ... and if we loved and supported more than judging. We spend a whole lot of energy judging, and I think we can be better."

Biggest pet peeve: "The one that makes me flip out is people chewing with their mouth open." 

Something that brightens my day: “I feel strongly about this. I love the laughter of children, while in the hands of the elderly. I think the connection between the generations is so powerful." 

When I was younger, I wanted to be: “I admired attorneys because I like that idea of challenging injustice.”

First job: Worked at the front desk for Community Action of Skagit County. "It was one of those programs that helped teenagers get employment experience." 

If you could vacation anywhere, where would it be? Oaxaca, Mexico. "I want to reconnect with my indigenous roots, especially after COVID, I got to thinking about what really matters." In its "religion, art and hearty food," Oaxaca is a region that has fought to maintain a connection to its indigenous cultures. 

Person I admire most: "It's always been hard to say one person. It's really courageous people that are willing to give up some of their privilege to go against the current." She thinks about her grandparents and parents, who immigrated to America knowing the risks that come with leaving everything behind. “That's courage for me.”

How has COVID-19 impacted your life: Having to quickly recalibrate to remote education was a challenge, but she said she feels privileged to have the position and resources to be able to be able to work from home safely. She likened the unequal impacts of the pandemic to a flood. “For me it was really obvious that some people had access to a ship with cargo which has been helpful in stabilizing it. Some had a boat, which is better than nothing, and others were caught left floating in the water.”

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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