My ancestors migrated from Mexico and Spain, up through California and eventually to Oregon. Today, I continue to grow and sustain the deep roots they planted right here in Hillsboro.
My father grew up in San Francisco in a family of laborers, while my mother, one of six children, grew up among farm workers in the Imperial Valley. I am honored and humbled by the sacrifices my parents and grandparents made so that their children could have a better life. I am a second generation American, the first in my family to earn a college education and to go beyond it, as I have become a doctoral candidate at PSU’s school of education.
I can still remember the last good hug I got from my father. He died of stroke complications in January 2013. My parents and my grandparents instilled in me the importance of family, and although my family has not always been a traditional one, I have always honored that value. I currently act as a caretaker for my 90 year old mother.
I have been working with Portland metro area at-risk youth and families since 1987 for non-profits (Christie School, NAYA, Opening Doors, Salmon Corps, and the Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement) and in post-secondary education (PCC and PSU) helping first-generation, underrepresented students with high school completion, college access, paying for college options, retention, graduation, and career development.
I currently work for the CREATE Program in Cornelius – a center supporting youth and families, which includes a credit recovery program serving Western Washington County high school students at-risk of not graduating. Our students are 98% Latino, first-generation, and low-income. Many face complex social and economic challenges, such as food insecurity, family instability, and homelessness. I am excited to help these students with high school degree completion, develop their transition from high school, and to empower them as leaders.
People come to Hillsboro to build a better life for their families, just like my grandparents did when they came to the United States. Our homeless community members, our immigrant families, and those who come here seeking refuge, remind me of my family’s own journey. We share the same hopes, the same dreams, and the same community.