Meet Nic!


Nicolas Contreras He / Him

My name is Nicolas Contreras and I’ve been working in the world of foster care for the last 5 years as part of First Star Academy. I began as a youth coach one summer where I fell in love with the combination of educational, therapeutic, and community-based approach the program took in its efforts to care for the foster youth that made up that group. Since then, I’ve remained with the program, becoming first a coordinator and then transitioning into the role of program manager and director. 

Previously my experience was largely in community and education, in various forms. While working on my bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah I spent my undergraduate career working as a writing coach and program coordinator for the Salt Lake Community College’s Community Writing Center. There I focused on leading accredited workshops in the Salt Lake County Jail, while also managing other programming we provided to the public. At the U, I worked with my mentor Dr. Christie Toth on research and development for undergraduate transfer pathways. This turned into the basis of a U of U pathway course built to help students become better integrated upon transferring to the school that is currently offered for free to SLCC students. 

While working at First Star, I’ve seen firsthand both the amazing people that make up this community (both the students and the people who work with these youth – some of which make up this very organization) and the various complex challenges that accompany these youth in care as they go through life and seek to better themselves as they leave the system. I believe that an organization like ours will be able to serve our community and close so many of the gaps that folks fall through in their journey to building a better life. In my own experience as an immigrant in the United States, I’ve learned that change and care must come from within our community, those that know best what it is we need and where the system has failed us. I truly believe that this group – composed of those with experience in the system and those who work within and alongside it – is best suited to do so. I’m excited to be a part of this group and for what we’ll be able to do together.