Family Hope Center Houston/Aldine Series: The Empowerment

Josefina Herrero is well-spoken, professional and educated. She considers herself “a very responsible mom,” adding “sometimes maybe too much.” She hold’s a master’s degree in education from a university in Mexico.

But as a recent immigrant to the United States, she also can’t find a job. So she comes to the resource center at the Family Hope Center Houston/Aldine to help in her search.

“I use the resource center to make copies, find jobs and find information on the computer,” she said. “Without the center I would have to look in newspapers, look with friends, or go to each place to find work.”

Currently, she is looking for a full-time job to help her family financially. ”I would love to have a full-time job, but if there is a part time – preferably in the mornings -- that would be really great because I have my daughters going to school. It is difficult to find one and the salaries are not the best, but yes, I would like to find something in the morning.”

Her dream for employment means more than money for the Aldine area mother. “I am looking for something that is accessible to me and that makes me feel happy as a wife and as a woman.”

Fabiola Bautista, as case coordinator for the resources center, intends on making that dream of empowerment come true for Josefina and for many others who come looking for job, community services, and family and assistance resources.

“It’s a kind of one-stop-shop to different services, not only our services, but other services within the community that are able to meet the needs of that person,” Bautista said.

“For instance, I have a client who was trying to find a job – an older person with experience. We definitely struggled to try to find something that was adequate for the person and their time and everything, but they just started a job this Monday.”

A major employment emphasis at Family Hope Center Houston/Aldine is on education that creates opportunity for empowerment. In fact, the Hope Center offers a dizzying array of classes designed to move users students into jobs, education, self-sufficiency or life enrichment. Participants can attend classes for GED, English as a Second Language, computer, Spanish, dance, basic auto repair, gardening, public speaking, culinary arts, crafts or business development.

Rocio Mendoza is taking ESL classes to create empowerment opportunities for herself and her children.

“I help my daughter do homework at the house, but I didn't do it before because I didn't know anything in English,” said Mendoza. “Now I can have a conversation with my daughter's teacher and I’m feeling more comfortable knowing what happens at my daughter’s school.”

She said the ESL classes also make a difference in her attitude. “I don't feel nervous anymore. I feel comfortable when somebody speaks to me, because I understand what they say.

“So now, I have a conversation with everybody, I go shopping by myself, I don't need ask, ‘Do you speak Spanish?’ Because sometimes people don't want to help you. They speak Spanish, but they don't help. They say, ‘This is America. You need to speak English.’ And it's true, right? If you come to another country, you need to take on the role you need to be better in the community and personally.”

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