Promotores Reflect on Their Year: Martha

We took an evening recently to catch up with 6 of the 7 Promotores — Josefina, Florinda, Maria, Maricela, Martha, and Minerva, our brave and dedicated leaders. Every week until the end of January we will feature one woman, highlighting their dreams, reflections and goals as we welcome a new year and a new decade. 

This week we feature Martha, Nuevo Amanecer Resident, Mother and Promotora

On Being a Promotora:

A sido una buena experiencia, es emocionante cada vez que aprendemos nuevas cosas, creo que mi parte favorita es el descubrir en mí, una faceta que no me conocía y es la de interactuar con la gente, el sentir que puedo ser útil, el darme cuenta que la vida no esta solo de las puertas de tu casa para adentro sino que hay vida afuera y que hay mucho que hacer para mejorar el entorno. El programa de promotoras me enseñó a entender a la gente, a saber escuchar,  a ponerme en sus zapatos y no pensar sólo en mi, a darme cuenta que cada día que empieza es una buena oportunidad para servir y ayudar a quien desee ser ayudado, me gustaría tener la oportunidad de seguir aprendiendo, de tomar cursos de tener algo más que ofrecer a mi comunidad y que aportar a nuestras nuevas generaciones. 

It has been a good experience, it is exciting every time we learn new things. I think that my favorite part is to discover facets in me that I didn’t know: to interact with people, to feel that I can be useful, to realize that life is not just from inside the doors of your house but that there is life outside and that there is much to do to improve the environment. The Promotores program taught me to understand people, to know how to listen, to put myself in their shoes and not just think about myself, to realize that every day that begins is a good opportunity to serve and help whoever wants to be helped, I would like to have the opportunity to continue learning, to take courses, to have something more to offer my community, and to contribute to our new generations.

On Changing Perspectives

 Siento que ha cambiado un mi forma de ver la vida ahora que soy promotora. Antes las cosas de los demás me parecían simples, o pensaba, ‘bueno a mi no me está pasando a mi que importa’, pero ahora pienso que esos problemas que no son solucionados terminan impactando nuestra comunidad y sociedad  muchas veces de manera negativa. 

I feel that the program has changed my way of seeing life since becoming a Promotora. Before the things of others seemed simple, or I thought, ‘well it’s not happening to me, so it doesn’t matter’. Now, I think problems that are not solved, end up impacting our community and society many times in negative ways.

When I Look in Mirror to Reflect…

Bueno al verme al espejo miro a una mujer que  desea ser recordada por sus buenas obras, a una mujer que está dispuesta a hacer sacrificios por los que ama, a una mujer valiente que le gustan los retos, que le gusta ser cada día mejor que el anterior y lo más importante a una mujer con respeto y amor hacia sí misma.

When seeing myself in the mirror I see a woman who wants to be remembered for her good deeds, a woman who is willing to make sacrifices for those she loves, a brave woman who likes challenges, who likes to be better every day than the former– and most importantly– a woman with respect and love for herself.

Your Biggest Life challenge and how you overcame it?

  El desafío más grande fue el recuperar a mi hija. Su papá se la llevó cuando ella tenía menos de dos años, sin aviso, sin mi consentimiento. Estuve lejos de ella por casi 2 meses, no sabía nada de ella y la policía no podía hacer nada porque era su papá y no era tomado como secuestro. No sabía a quien recurrir esos casi dos meses fueron difícil recuperarla pero al final logré hacerlo con ayuda de algunos conocidos y de un buen juez que dejó a la niña a mi cargo después de ir a corte. Fui mamá soltera por 3 años y también fue un tiempo muy difícil pero pudimos sobrevivir, pienso que todo gran desafío deja una enseñanza aún más grande, y la enseñanza fue que por más difíciles que sean las cosas la actitud ante éstas es lo que define el éxito o el fracaso.

The biggest challenge was to recover my daughter. Her father took her when she was less than two years old, without warning and without my consent. I was away from her for almost 2 months. I didn’t know anything about her and the police couldn’t do anything because she was with her dad and she wasn’t considered kidnapped. I did not know who to turn to during this time. It was difficult to recover but in the end, I managed to do it with the help of some acquaintances and a good judge who gave me custody after going to court. I was a single mom for 3 years and it was also a very difficult time but we could survive. I think that every great challenge leaves an even bigger lesson– that no matter how difficult things are, the attitude towards them is what defines success or failure.

About the Promotores Program

Following the hiring of Promotores Leadership Development Coordinator, Anabel Hernandez-Mejia, the Promotores Program was developed and launched in the Spring of 2019 to increase individual skills, community building, overall understanding of and access to services, and to create a sense of advocacy within the wider community regarding issues that affect our communities of predominantly immigrant, low-income farmworkers and families.

A prerequisite 5-day training with the Ford Family Foundation finalized the recruitment, followed by a 3-day Promotores Initiation Training, leading to 7 Promotores formally entering the Program, all women from 6 of our Woodburn properties, eligible to receive stipends and skill-building opportunities to help them and their neighbors achieve their goals. To date, all Promotores have participated in between 10-20 events each, ranging from trainings in confidence and public speaking, affordable housing, health access, food and nutrition, educational access, and more.

Promotores now meet regularly to discuss their goals and the needs within the community, and frequently take on leadership roles at FHDC and community events to ensure families get their basic needs met. Promotores practice and learn effective communication skills which help them motivate and identify and advocate for the needs within the community.

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