The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) recently received a $10,000 grant from the Washington Forrest Foundation to hire a part-time bilingual Business Engagement Specialist. Lucero Alvarez, a recent Marymount University graduate, has been hired to fill the position for 10 hours per week for the next year.

“We’re thrilled to have Lucero with us,” said Executive Director Kim Klingler. “And we couldn’t be grateful to the Washington Forrest Foundation for affording us the opportunity to expand our outreach and support in the Hispanic business community, an community we have long hoped to build better relations with.”

Lucero was born in Perú and moved to the United States at 9 years old. Since then, she has resided in Fairfax County. An avid hiker, Lucero has climbed the 17,000 feet of Rainbow Mountain in Peru and has traveled extensively internationally, including to Spain, Colombia, and Bolivia. Over the years, she has worked as a volunteer in a nursing home, hospital, and education center in Peru.

She first became acquainted with CPRO in February of this year when she was working on her senior project to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Marymount University.

In April, she joined the organization as an intern and proved vital to CPRO’s increase in business support programs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shut downs. During her internship, she worked with staff from the County and Arlington Economic Development to expand CPRO’s database of Columbia Pike businesses and secure contacts to assist Program Director, Stephen Gregory Smith, with more direct outreach to the local business community.

As the newly hired Business Engagement Specialist, she has already met with dozens of Columbia Pike’s Hispanic-owned businesses to discuss their unique needs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the local community. She is also assisting the organization with increasing its communications in Spanish and is working with the Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, Amanda Lovins, to develop a robust communications plan for 2021.

“I’m excited to join the team at CPRO,” said Lucero. “I believe in the work the organization does and am eager to see what we can accomplish together to better serve such a diverse community.”