OLA Draws Young Help

Two Latino graduates of South Fork schools — one at law school, the other taking a gap semester — are lending a hand to Organizacion Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island, the group announced this week.

Thalia Olaya, an East Hampton High School graduate who is in her final year of law school at Hofstra University, is assisting OLA’s general counsel, Andrew Strong, with legal research and support at the organization’s new East Hampton office. Jonathan Lopez, a graduate of Pierson High School in Sag Harbor who is on a gap semester from Georgetown University, is serving as administrative support staff to “help shape the office systems and protocol as OLA expands to offer direct legal representation on specific cases,” according to a release. 

OLA’s executive director, Minerva Perez, spoke glowingly about both Ms. Olaya and Mr. Lopez. Mr. Lopez had first contacted her when in high school, looking for suggestions about starting a Latino Teen Leadership League at Pierson. 

“Jon was so organized and passionate about helping fellow middle and high schoolers,” Ms. Perez said in the release. “What I found most admirable is that he saw this leadership league as a way to address challenges felt by all teens, regardless of ethnic background.” 

Ms. Perez first met Ms. Olaya when she was a high school volunteer at the Retreat, an East Hampton agency that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She described her as “a rare combination of empathetic and driven.”