For this Hispanic Heritage Month, CentroNía is spotlighting members of our staff to showcase our multicultural environment and the different Hispanic cultures represented through the CentroNía community. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time where we get the opportunity to celebrate the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanic/Latino’s and where their families came from. To celebrate this month, meet Jennifer, CentroNía's Bilingual Admissions Specialist.
CentroNía: What drew you to CentroNía?
Jennifer: CentroNía creates opportunities and access to resources for low-income families, they help the people from my community. I lived in DC all my life 10 minutes away from CentroNía, to be able to help the community I grew up in and be part of something that has a big impact on people's life is what drew me to CentroNía.
CentroNía: How do your values align with the organization’s mission to “educate children and youth and strengthen families in a bilingual, multicultural community"?
Jennifer: I value diversity, having empathy and integrity. My values align with the mission to “educate children and youth and strengthen families in a bilingual, multicultural, community” by having the ability to comprehend and respect parents and their feelings and being able to build the connection with the parents without any judgement and providing with the sources CentroNía offers.
CentroNía: Tell us about your career path. How’d you end up in your current role?
Jennifer: I graduated from Trinity Washington University with a bachelor's in health services. I started at CentroNía as a Temp teacher assistant for Studio R.O.C.K.S, where I worked with Pre-K and Kindergarten students who were virtual learning due to the pandemic. After about a year, I got moved to ECE working with Jr. Pre-K students. After a year as an assistant teacher in ECE, I took the opportunity to work as a Bilingual Admission Specialist where I get to work closely with the parents if CentroNía.
CentroNía: What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? How do you celebrate your heritage?
Jennifer: Hispanic heritage to me is celebrating my family, myself and being able to acknowledge how my culture has shaped me into the person I am. It is a time to recognize the impact that Hispanics have here and everywhere else despite all the obstacles they must overcome.
CentroNía: What’s your favorite family tradition?
Jennifer: I’m not sure if this counts as a tradition, but every summer my family goes to Florida for vacation. My family is pretty big and this year 16 of us drove down to Florida. Florida reminds my family of El Salvador, we go to the beaches, we go fishing, we go catch crabs, and make lunch/dinner right on the beach. Seeing my family all together like that having a good time, relaxing, is something I cherish every year.
CentroNía: What advice do you have for those interested in helping their community?
Jennifer: Be open to helping at all times to all people, it can be as easy as helping someone who needs translating at the post office, at the doctors etc. Look for volunteer opportunities, CentroNía has them and hospitals offer them as well.
CentroNía: How do think we can best help support Hispanic families in the DC/Maryland area?
Jennifer: I think CentroNía does a good job at supporting Hispanic families in DC/ Maryland by providing opportunities and access to resources. As employees we continue to educate ourselves on ways to help Hispanic families by identifying problems in our community and finding the resources to provide them with. For example, the way CentroNía provide CDA classes that create job opportunities for the families as well.
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your CentroNía experience and what Hispanic Heritage means to you!