Maria has lived in East Harlem for 10 years with her husband and three daughters; Two were born in Mexico and the youngest was born in the US. She is from a small rural village in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico that lacks educational opportunities beyond primary school which caused her to move to Mexico City where she was able to graduate from high school. Maria recognizes the importance of being well-informed and of understanding the system in which she is living. This motivates her to be an active member at her local community center, Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA). It was at LSA where Maria first participated in our signature 8 session course and more recently attended our new workshop, Get Prepared: Migratory Processes and Your Money.
Given the current political situation, she feels anxious about the future of her daughters. Children in her neighborhood are experiencing so much toxic stress that some are refusing to go to school or even to play in playgrounds and parents are staying home out of fear of being deported, she explains. However, this uncertainty only drives Maria further, as she proudly says: “ignorance will not get us anywhere.” Since participating in our workshop, Maria explains that her financial priorities have shifted dramatically and currently her main focus is to save money for an emergency fund.
Maria has already begun to put into action some of the recommendations made during our new workshop. She has met with her bank representative to understand how she can access her accounts remotely and has opened a joint account with her eldest daughter. The workshop also spurred her to have conversations with her daughter about what to do if she was forced to leave the country. Maria is a true role model for her daughters and personifies what we are seeing from many of our participants – That they act as communicators – always sharing what they learn with others and Maria shares that she is finding great strength in the unity of her community.