Karen Santiago has lived in Sevier County most of her life, but working at Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic is giving her a closer look at her home town.
“You get to know the community a lot,” she says.
Karen first came to the Clinic a few months ago, taking on a part-time position while one of the receptionists was on maternity leave. When a full-time receptionist’s position opened up recently, she took it on — she’d had on-the-job training in the part-time position.
She’s bilingual, speaking fluent English and Spanish. She was born in Mexico and moved to Sevier County when she was 5 or 6 years old. “I learned (English) pretty quickly,” she remembered. Children find it easier to learn a foreign language, and school gave her plenty of incentive.
She attended Pigeon Forge High School, with home schooling in her junior year. She had a little girl, Laylani, who is now a year and a half old. She graduated two years ago.
Karen lives with her parents and her daughter, and spends much of her spare time with Laylani. When she has time, she also likes to help her former boss at Parrot Mountain.
Another advantage of working at Mountain Hope is that Karen enjoys helping people, and her job gives her many opportunities to do that.