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2024 WVC Distinguished Alumni: Ricardo Escobedo '99

Ricardo Escobedo

A Journey from the Bering Sea to Global Impact

When you think about the paths that lead to success, the journey of Ricardo Escobedo is truly remarkable. Graduating from Wenatchee Valley College (WVC) in 1999 with an Associate of Technical Science, Ricardo's story is one of resilience, determination, and a commitment to making a difference in the world.

His decision to attend WVC came after crab fishing in the Bering Sea - a job often touted as one of the most dangerous in the world. "That experience helped shape my decision to create a work-life balance," Ricardo recalls. As a full-time student at WVC, Ricardo juggled multiple responsibilities. He worked at the Chelan County Juvenile Justice Center and held a work-study position in the Adult Basic Education department. Thanks to his afternoon class schedule, Ricardo found time to snowboard daily at Mission Ridge, allowing him to cultivate that work-life balance.

One of Ricardo’s fondest memories at WVC was participating in a powerful play about family dysfunction and alcoholism. The play highlighted the unspoken issues surrounding alcohol abuse and its impact on families. This experience at WVC’s Van Tassell Hall brought together students, faculty, and community resources.

Today, Ricardo is a Strategy Consultant and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at KIERI Consulting. He co-founded the KIERI Healing Sanctuary, where he offers ecotherapy and earth-based healing practices to those struggling with trauma and addiction. His work also involves teaching community resilience, psychological first aid, and providing mental health services to first responders and humanitarians in conflict zones and natural disasters. He mentors students at UC Berkeley and is involved in numerous community and environmental initiatives, including the CWU CAMP Advisory and the Wenatchee River Institute Board.

Reflecting on his time at WVC, Ricardo credits the supportive instructors, faculty, and student resources for his academic success. He encourages current students to seek mentoring, ask for support, and embrace the college experience. “Remember, what you do should not define who you are,” he advises. “Who you are should define what you do.”

Receiving the 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award is an honor for Ricardo. “I am not the kind of person who toots their own horn, nor will I ever be. However, it’s wonderful to recognize others and be recognized for my work with certain communities.”