Ralitsa Rano, LCSW, PhD, is the founder of Multicultural Counseling and Training Services. Ralitsa was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She was working as a journalist and just earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree from Sofia University when she immigrated to the United States in 2002. The experience of culture shock was her “blessing in disguise”. She decided to go back to school and become a clinical social worker, so she can use her personal and professional experiences in helping other immigrants and refugees entering this lifelong journey. In 2006 she received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania.
Ralitsa has worked with refugee and immigrant youth in Denver metro and Aurora, Colorado for over a decade. She has extensive experience in program development, multicultural counseling, outreach, leadership and group interventions for refugee and immigrant children and adolescents. She has developed and conducted trainings focused on refugee journey, past trauma and cultural adjustment experiences of refugee youth and families for educators and mental health professionals at universities, schools and districts across the state of Colorado. Ralitsa presented a successful cultural adjustment groups’ model for refugee and immigrant adolescents at the 2012 National Refugee and Immigrant Conference: Issues and Innovations in Chicago. She is a co-author of the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Guide, Refugee Education and Schools Promoting Empowerment and Culture of Tolerance, for School Social Workers, Counselors, Psychologists and Educators.
Ralitsa strongly believes that refugee and immigrant youth have the resilience and leadership potential to become change agents for their own communities. She was awarded the Pollination Project seed and impact grants for her Multicultural Leadership Project. Through the program, high school students of all cultural and religious backgrounds share personal experiences, develop social skills and assume leadership roles within their schools and communities. Ralitsa joined the Pollination Project team as a 2017 Fox Fellow with the commitment to further empower the diverse youth community in Colorado. She hopes the seed that helped her project to grow will turn other people’s ideas into meaningful projects that will make a difference in youth lives.