Since her freshman year at Cristo Rey St. Martin 16 years ago, Esmeralda “Esme” Silva has been determined to be of service to others. Dedicated to paying her life forward and amplify the voices of victims of violence, the 30-year-old works to end human trafficking in several Wisconsin counties. A Class of ’10 grad, she also is the first CRSM alumna to be named to the Board of Trustees.
“I am extremely honored to be seated at the table with leaders who will make such a difference in the lives of students like I once was,” says Esme, a community resource specialist for Children’s Hospital in Wisconsin. “As a student, I didn’t really realize that there was such a dedicated group of people who cared so deeply about us and worked so hard to make the school successful.”
She says her compassion and passion for helping others was born in the hallways of CRSM, where she was the first person in her family to attend high school: “I learned to become dedicated, goal orientated and have a positive work ethic. Now, I feel my life is coming full-circle. I have a rewarding career that lets me help others, but now I get to really make a difference in the lives of students who remind me of where I came from. I hope to inspire where they can go.“
Esme’s career path has melded her interests in criminal justice and social services. Her experience includes working in victim advocacy, domestic violence, sexual assault services, and child abuse and neglect. She’s determined to grow as an advocate for victims in the legal, public policy and government systems.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in 2014 and a master’s degree from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2017. Prior to the Children’s Hospital, Esme was a crisis counselor for A Safe Place in Zion.
Esme is married to her CRSM high school sweetheart, Jose Nunez, Class of ’11.
“Our foundation and the values and friendships we made at Cristo Rey helped form both of our passion to give back to the community,” says Esme.