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!