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She Chose Us!

May 29, 2014

 

Margarita has been a student in the Empowerment International program since grade 10th, when she was 16 years old. Just over 6 years ago, she started to volunteer in our rural community of Santa Ana.  Her first job was to introduce herself to the parents and gather information for the uniform purchases for the school year.  Young and timid, this was hard for her but she persevered.

Margarita working with one of EI's 323 kids.

Margarita working with one of EI’s 323 kids.

 

She was EI’s first student to go to University, in psychology. Along with her studies, she continued to volunteer and intern with EI to ‘give back’ for her education and her living allowance. Young and timid no longer, this confident young woman led parent meetings (which she termed “Parent School”) and youth groups on her own.  In addition, she had a share of home visits that she would do.
Margarita Arrolgia had grown with Empowerment International.  Her schooling was not at the very best university but she threw herself into her studies and got everything possible out of it. She was also benefiting from on-the-ground training with EI in her field. She gained respect of her community and they no longer thought of her as a child but a young professional, one that they could count on for advice and assistance.
As the years progressed, I realized she was hoping to extend her internship with EI into a full-time job. She was certainly a strong and proven candidate and it was tempting to hire her. But we wanted Margarita to explore other options and understand what she was capable of.
Margarita took on two part-time jobs, one as an instructor at her school and another at Casa de la Mujer. With a few other students, they even started their own clinic. Yet, she surprised us.  She kept coming in to the center. She kept volunteering with EI. She kept spending time helping our kids.
Finally, in February (or whatever), we had an opening and we formally interviewed her. The same week, she had two other full-time job offers. She chose us!
Below is an interview of Margarita…. From her perspective. (Kathy Adams, Founder and Director)

How did you feel graduating from college?
The process to achieve one of my biggest dreams was very difficult as I had to face many obstacles, such as not being with my mom regularly because I had to work in the capital, and the death of my father.
On December 16th, 2013, I graduated, accompanied by my mother. For the first time I was being acknowledged as a graduate. I felt speechless, it seemed like a dream, it was almost unreal to see my mother’s face filled with a proud smile. It made ​​me happy for giving her the opportunity to enjoy this moment that any mother dreams for their children, but some do not have that for different reasons.  When I held the diploma in my hands, I said to myself: ¨I finally did it!¨ and thanked God, Kathy Adams, and all Empowerment International donors for giving me the opportunity to have an education and be someone with a better future and being able to help society. I realized all the sacrifice of studying long hours was worth it because now I have a profession and a hope for a better future with my family.

 

Leading the Youth Group

Leading the Youth Group

What experience have you acquired besides interning with Empowerment International? Please describe each experience and what you did.

In 2010 I had the opportunity to work with “Manos Que Miran” or “Hands with Sight” which was a project formed by blind people who performed massages. I helped with the English speaking customers and was in charge of the daily monetary income.  During my training, I had the opportunity to meet important people who gave me several opportunities.

In 2012, a group of seven Psychology students, myself included, initiated a project called “Manos Unidos” or “United Hands” Care Clinic and Psychological Guidance.   It started as a Psychology project and the goal was to learn and create a company that could help us succeed in our careers. We knew the need for psychological care in our city was important and unmeasurable.  There were only 2 clinics dedicated to this type of care, which made it hard for the community to have access, sometimes a person had to wait as long as 1 month or more for an appointment.
Our idea was very good but there was no financial support.  After circling the subject,  we visited “Casa De La Mujer” or  “Women’s House” directed by Deputy Maria Lidia Mejia who supported us to carry out the project. I worked the clinic for a full year, but most importantly, we left a legacy for the university as this clinic now serves as a center of practice for Psychology Students.
I also gave talks to inmates at the prison system in Granada, with the goal of teaching new ways of living in society.
I volunteered at the Center for Rehabilitation Masaya AMAR- supporting and working with men who suffered addictions and their families. In addition, I counseled rural communities in Rio San Juan about sex education. Most of these communities have no access to information, health center and clinics due to the infrastructure accessibility.I supported a special education group for handicapped children, which was called “Corazon Contento Granada” or Happy Heart Granada. It was a project that allowed me to work with hyperactive children.

Currently I work teaching psychology at University Hispano Americana UHISPAM-GRANADA on Saturdays and Empowerment International during the week.

What would you like to say to the donors?  
Thank you for the opportunity to provide children and adolescents with EI. Without you, it would not be possible to continue our studies and we would not be professionals. Thank you for the opportunity to experience a different world through education. Without it,  we would not be productive for our country. Thank you for giving us hope with each of your donations.

What is your advice to parents and kids in the program?
Education is the best tool to beat poverty. Achieving this is not easy; we need to work for it.   We need to overcome our obstacles and pick ourselves up every time we fall.  Remember to value all experiences, good and bad, everything leaves a moral in our lives and we use them to be better every day.  Be optimistic and plant the seed in yourself to have a brighter future as a professional and human being.

Home visits - Alicia Fox Photography

What is your big life dream?
Since I was a kid, I had two big dreams. One was to be a psychologist and thanks to this program it has already happened.  Second is to have a house of our own; my family has always lived with relatives. I am certain that I can reach that goal because I am a professional and I have a career.

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