By Aileen Delgado
When Andrea Graham-Rechichi’s great-grandfather went to his father and said, “dad, don’t sell the land, let’s develop it,” he had a vision for what Miami Lakes could be. Three generations later, Ms. Graham-Rechichi is working to maintain that dream, to “carry out a legacy,” continue building a town that feels like home.
“My grandfather, made this company a community. I have watched this community around me develop throughout the years, and the people make this their home,” she said.
And she knows what that means, because Andrea Graham-Rechichi grew up in Miami Lakes, attending both Miami Lakes Elementary and Miami Lakes Middle School.
Graham recently visited Miami Lakes Educational Center. She was given the opportunity to take charge, as well as a time to shine as she became “Principal of the Day” for MLEC students.
She toured every classroom and every hallway, visiting our labs and getting a feel for what it’s like to live and learn at MLEC. She also had the opportunity to visit The Harbinger newsroom and share her vision for the town, as well as her own history with the town that her family founded.
Passion for education
Andrea attended the University of Colorado-Boulder for her undergraduate studies. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up,” she said. But she soon realized that she was passionate about history and politics. Ultimately, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and went on to join AmeriCorps, where she worked with children and closing the digital divide.
“I don’t think that where a person is born should determine who they can become,” said Graham-Rechichi. Her work with children inspired her to do more, to see education as a way to help communities thrive. It inspired her to earn a master’s degree in non-profit management from The New School for Public Engagement in New York City.
When she returned home to Miami Lakes, she spent some time as a program director at
Honeyshine inc., where she was able to mentor young girls in building life skills for a stable future.
She was working non-stop. Then, one particularly busy holiday season, at a family dinner, her aunt helped her realize that she was perfect fit for the family company. She could use her skills and her passion for community building right here, at home.
Soon after, she became Vice President of Customer and Corporate Relations for the Graham Companies and began revamping the company’s community relations.
She has launched the town’s social media accounts and continued to grow the town’s annual Festival of Lights, which has continued to grow since she took charge of it five years ago. Now, it’s a place where you see “everyone, from old to young, dancing around the fountain,” she said. This was, she said, always the goal of the festival, a place to bring the community together.
“My father always instilled in me to do something that I was passionate about and that I loved,” she said. “I am passionate about education. I’m an activist. And my work allows me to continue my family’s legacy and to also give time to causes and organizations that I love,” she said.
Source:: The Harbinger