Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! 

Christmas is about reflecting on your faith, love, understanding, care towards all around you. I am thankful for the gifts I receive everyday in and out the athletic and civic arenas. The children I work with make my daily life meaningful. Their fears, doubts,  accomplishments and theirs daily battles are inspiring. 

For the  past 26 days I have gotten  the chance to project that happiness and pride to my biggest idol, my mother. 

Christmas was spent  with my mother,  couple of my  sisters and their respective families. It's in days like this one, when family gets reunited, that I get excited and motivated to keep pursuing happiness so that it can be shared. 

I challenge my readers, kids, family and friends to make every night a Christmas night. One that is grateful and full of peace, love, forgiveness. Nights in which we go to bed happy looking forward to what awaits on the following day for us. 

It's my hope that these holidays are full of  memorable moments. Im beyond thankful and happy for 2014. 
The tutoring program
The Run With ITA 
The Nutrition Class with Beatriz 
Our Zumba classes
ESL Classes 
Speaking Engagements 
and the amazing visit from the greatest partner L.L.Bean to the valley was what made 2014 a fantastic year for the In The Arena team in Alamosa. 

  My 2015 goals are to keep our ITA programs alive, moving and running smoothly. Im also excited  to give it a go to the marathon again. After a severe injury that left me out of the athletic arena, now days I am the happiest runner when I get to step on a track or road for a speed workout or the that 19 miler. Im fully aware of my fitness and  the fact that Im in many ways starting all over again. Im exited to go against the odds,  3 years later I am going to run the Marathon in Arizona at the Rock "n" Roll Arizona to chase the 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier. The Date, January 18th,2015. Race starts at 7:50a.m Mountain Time. Training is been very consistent, this week a bit colder than usual, but tolerable. Im in my third week of High milage 80- 110 miles a week. Naps are once again part of the routine and now that kids are on vacation I am making the best of my family and my training. My mother has done an amazing job at keeping me sane. From her amazing food, her wise conversation, company to  her fun sense of humor, I would honestly say that this has been the most enjoyable marathon training stint to date. Needless to say, my rib pain has disappeared. 

All in all, Im very happy and proud of my kids, the programs and training. I wish nothing but a very  Happy New Year to all of you! 

Be, Dream, Believe! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Thanksgiving is the only festivitie or event we celebrate as a Family. Here a few events, people,  I am thankful for:

Im thankful for my health, both emotional and physical. 

Im thankful for my immediate family in Alamosa.  My sister, brother in law and my nephews. They allow me to be a sister,  aunt and sister in law on daily basis. I love and enjoy those roles in my life very much. 

I am thankful for all my brothers and sisters. Without them I would not be me. Thanks to them Im more understanding towards others. 

I'm thankful for all my  friends here in the USA and different parts of the world and their health. 

Im thankful to have a close relationship with my mother. She is the person I admire the most. To have her as a friend is the greatest blessing there is. I enjoy our long distance conversations and look forward to spend quality time with her now that Thanksgiving reunited us one more time. I look forwardto another dose of  endless stories of wisdom and survival. 

Im thankful for In The Arena. I Love having the opportunity to create, share, implement, teach, learn, bond with our youth and adults alike. Sharing this passion for life and making dreams come true is fascinating. Thankful for all of you involved with the In The Arena. Thank you for keeping ITA moving forward!

Im thankful for L.L. Bean and its partnership with In The Arena. Having its support means a lot the entire organization. To witness an amazing production click HERE

Im Thankful for this amazing Thanksgiving week where we got a chance to travel to Oklahoma to reunite with my sisterAlicia and her husband Luke, Luke's grandmother,my mother, and friends from our childhood. It was wonderful to remember our adventures. 

Thankful to be back home rejuvenated and excited to keep after my community work with the English as Second Language classes, the after school program and marathon training. 

Im also thankful to Be, Dream and Believe! 

What are you thankful for? 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Back to Where It All Started

In 2006, my first community work initiative with In The Arena was to teach English As a Second Language. It was an experience that left a special mark in my heart. I loved it all. I enjoyed every minute of it and I knew that once I had the opportunity I would do it again.

It is amazing to sit down and rewind the tape. To go back to the early beginnings with In The Arena. If I recall well there was a question somewhere in the process that intrigued me and made me wonder, daydream.  What do you want to be when you grow up?
At that time I wanted to be so many things. Well, I still want to be and do so many things like: I want to get that master degree in Counseling, a Teaching License or that idea/dream of one day helping build an English as a Second Language Center or School fires me up. Why? Because, its a subject that hits home. Im an ESL student. I know what it is like to be humiliated or ignored for not speaking English.  I also know the amazing feeling to speak up, give  your opinion, to be outspoken or share your views and personal stories on a blog in a language you were not meant to speak.

Like I explained to little Olivia, a sweet, blonde hair, blue eyes girl I babysat, when she asked:

 "Why do you speak weird English?"
"I speak weird English because I was born in Mexico, Olivia. There people don't speak English we speak Spanish. I am learning English and it is very difficult. The sounds and words are very different, if you hear me speak weird or wrong English please correct me" From then on she corrected me here and there and even asked me how I would say something in Spanish. 

 Needless to say, 14 years later, little Olivia is now a Junior at the University of Arizona where she is majoring in Special Education.

English has not come easy. I still at times speak weird English and guess what? I love it! I don't think I ever want to lose that. It feels nice when others appreciate and understand your weird way of delivering a message. To me, being able to communicate in another language is extraordinary and I believe we all are very capable of doing so.

With this in mind, I am happy to announce the partnership with another non-profit organization in town, La Llave (TheKey), to teach ESL at the Tierra Nueva Apartments in Alamosa  to our home stay moms.  So far, I have 10 moms signed up and an average of 6 attendees per class.  I am on my third week and I love It!

When: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday

Time: 10:00a.m

Where: Tierra Nueva Apartments

Book: Side by Side

PD: If you know of anyone that has Side by Side Book 1 and would like to donate them, I assure you, we will make great use of them. Please send me an e-mail at:

Be, Dream, Believe!
Se, Suena Y Cree!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Tears of Growth

The core of my community work is the after school tutoring program. We continue to meet Monday-Thursday from 4:00p.m to sometimes 5:30p.m.  The cut off time is 6:00p.m The after school program is a unique place in which I’ve realized I am very fortunate to go home with endless stories. This past two weeks have been quite different in the sense that after the kids are done with their homework there is a group of 4 or 5 girls that stay to chat. The feeling of being trustworthy is second to none.
One afternoon during our conversations three of our girls ended up crying, but really crying. That type of crying that is allowing your heart to grow. You know, when your nose get stuffy and you end with swollen eyes. Apparently one of my girls (12) had come back from school when she noticed her two younger sisters were not home yet. Her being the oldest of 5 children and knowing her parents were still at work felt responsible and walked to the elementary school (1km walk) to look for them.  At the school they confirmed her sisters had left on the bus, so she shared to us how on the way back home, the thoughts of her sisters being robbed or kidnapped were so strong that when she got home she felt so helpless that the only option she found was to cry.  Soon after she started crying, when her sisters came into her apartment she hugged them tight and told them how much they meant to her.I would call this tears of Love and Growth.
Note that all this ordeal took 10/15 minutes, the sisters were at her cousins in the same apartment complex.

Before we were told the entire story, when the two younger sisters showed up to the program they told us right away that her older sister had been crying... and a lot.
That incident allowed  us to start our little discussion or share sessions after we are all done with homework. Of course some days are much better or funnier than others.

I also get to hear the funny stories, like that one of the missing cake. A class project for Araceli was to bake a cake, decorated it and bring it to class. My girl was very proud of her cake and excited to bring it back home to share it with her family, little she knew that another girl from her class got so in love with her cake that took it home. Araceli got an apology letter and 4 days later ½ of the cake was returned. The cake was not eatable anymore. So for a couple of days after the incident when Araceli would show up at the program all of us would start chanting “Queremos Pastel, Pastel, Pastel” “We want some cake, some cake, and some cake”

I had another incident in the middle of the tutoring program when Andres (8) showed to the program in tears of growth and disappointment. We all looked at each other, I gave them the look to mind their own business and I went towards Andres. “What’s wrong? Is there anything I can do to help you?” I asked “My brother broke a promise and promises are not meant to be broken, he lied to me!” He replied  I sat down with him for good 20 minutes until he was able to speak clearly. We had a good conversation about trust, promises, etc. At the end, he thanked me for listening to him and apologized for making a scene, but he said he was really hurt. Even tough, Andres is in special education, I’m always mesmerized by his level of intelligence. kindness and common sense.

It is in these daily stories that I get my ideas as of what would be good for our kids. Eventually, Im planning on having Araceli and her sisters over to my place to bake a cake. Andres reminded me to keep my promises.

Speaking Engagement with Sargent Girls and Boys Cross Country Team
October 9th, 2014

In The Arena with Brittany Lopez 5th runner
 Tears of Hapiness!

October25th 2014: I drove with my nephew Brayan and his teammate Matt to Colorado Spring to cheer on their teammates and the rest of the  San Luis Valley teams that made it to state. Alamosa High School came home with first ever dual State Titles.   To read a great article featuring Tara Sowards please click HERE Lots of tears of happiness, closure and accomplishment

 I’ve been following Tara and teammate Brittany closely since they were in Elementary School. Both were part of the Run With US! Program we implemented at Ortega Middle School back in 2012 Pictures HERE 

October 25th, 2014: Spent my day in Centro, Colorado a small town north west of Alamosa sharing my story with Middle School and High School Students. We shared a few tears of joy, pride and hope.

October 31st, 2014: I spent Halloween at the harvest party hosted by Living Water with a few kids from the after school tutoring program. Our outfits were handcrafted and donated by Living Water. 

Moral of the blog:  Don't ever be ashamed to share a tear!
Be, Dream, Believe!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Harvest Activities

 We've been very fortunate to have come in contact with Amy from a local church in town called Living Water Fellowship. Amy and her crew came over the summer to spend a nice afternoon with the kids with a lot of fun activities like: Face Painting, Water Balloons, Ice Cream, Bubbles and a lot of social time for the kids. The purpose of the activity back then was to bring some fun to the neighborhood and it did. We all enjoyed a beautiful afternoon.
Some serious business here with Amy
Learning how to play new games.
This past Saturday we met again. This time around the theme was Harvest Fun Activities. Many members of the church donated costumes to be delivered within the community. The goal was aid parents with a Halloween costume for their kids while making a kid happy. It was a great afternoon as Amy got to share a nice story with the kids followed with some refreshments and the hunt for a costume. Many of our kids did find a costume that they liked and stayed to play some games with some volunteers from Living Water.


"I am Ready" Alexis

An all around win/ win situation. I'm glad we continue to connect more families and kids within the community. To Amy and all the members at Living Water Fellowship, those that donated a costume or their time to plan this out, Thank You! Know that somewhere in

Our rabbit (Jessica) saved the day and passed on the dress to Alicia, Catie was happy with her lovely Cat Costume.

Alamosa during this time of the year some of  this kids will be proud and happy to wear their
costumes. I know that your compassion will go a long way. You have planted a significant seed in the heart and memories. I'm convinced the seed of compassion will blossom and continue to spread. A gesture that has and will impact their lives in a positive way for many years to come.

Board Games a Success!

Can we play another game?
For our Butterfly Picture Click HERE 
 Maya was walking by. We asked her mother if Maya needed a Costume.. The answer was Yes and we ended finding this beautiful Butterfly costume.

Looks like a perfect summer weekend in Alamosa with @zoilagomezita and the ITA kiddos! ☀️

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Interacting with the Vikings from Center, Colorado and sporting my awesome L.L Bean Rain Jacket Photo by: Coach Dennis Schoenfelder

This week has been an active week for our youth in the San Luis Valley. Have you heard of the Let's Move Campain?

Let's Move! is a campaign to end childhood obesity in the United States. The campaign was started by First Lady Michelle Obama.  Let's Move! seeks to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity and encourage a healthy lifestyle through "a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative that addresses all of the various factors that lead to childhood obesity" Today nearly one in five children in the U.S. between ages 6–19 are obese, and one in three are overweight. The childhood obesity rate tripled from 1980-1999 creating an epidemic and a generation where children may have shorter life spans than their parents.

Im so proud to share with you the amazing news and pictures that shows how the community in the San Luis Valley are taking action in this matter and our kids are actually moving. We started the week with the 2nd High Altitude Challenge Run hosted by Parks and Recreation Center in Alamosa.  Around 200 kids took part on the event and what was even more impressive was the attitude and pasion each participant competed. Needless to say, the races took place in Southern Colorado where the air is thin, 7544ft above sea level. This coming Tuesday October 7th, Parks and Recreation will host the 3rd and last XC style race of the season. Im so excited and looking forward to witness one more time the beauty of seen our youth on the go, moving and making strides to a healtier life. 

On Friday, Alamosa Elementary had their annual and now traditional, Fun Run. What I witness was beyond my comprehension, hudreds of fit, competitive, excited kids, looking forward to step on the starting line and compete. My hat goes off to all the PE teachers for having them mentally and physically prepared for that given day. Two weeks prior to the competition, the fun run and how much they had run that morning at school became their highlight of the day. No lie, but I know this was by far the fittest class I've ever seen, at least since I've been around 2001? 

Speaking about Character~Alicia being a good classmate by pacing her friend

It makes me proud to know that our autorities and school are taking stand and action to fight obesity. This is a true testimonie that our kids in the San Luis Valley are moving and their are moving fast.

 Let's keep moving!

PD: I feel this post over run the system as I'm having  a hard time uploading pictures. Please check later for an update.