¡Feliz Año Nuevo from One Family Honduras! We hope you all had a relaxing and family-filled holiday season. At One Family Honduras, we’re back in full force—students are turning in homework, mentors are preparing activities for a new year, and teachers are already knee-deep in grading. One of those mentors and teachers is Alina, and we’d like to highlight her this month. From Estefany’s mentor to our new coordinator for secondary students, Alina has been an important support for OFH.
Alina is from a small town in Ontario, Canada. She grew up in a woodsy area and loves being outdoors, just like Ada and Estefany. In addition to these interests, Alina is trained in sociology, anthropology, and history. After college, Alina volunteered for women’s shelters and on the crisis line for a sexual assault support center. These experiences, in addition to her innate ability to care for others make her an excellent friend and an excellent mentor.
Alina officially joined our team last year, but she created relationships with the Ramirez family long before that. Alina first became acquainted with the family through Sergio and Karla. Alina explains, “Some of the other teachers at the time introduced me to Sergio and Karla when we would see them working at the hotdog stand in the evenings. From then on, every time I walked by I would usually stop and talk to whoever was working at the time. More often than not, the younger kids were hanging around as well, so over time I grew closer with all of them.”
When the opportunity arose for a new mentor tutor for Estefany, Alina was the perfect choice.
“[From the beginning,] I knew what a little fire-cracker Stef was, I love her spirit. She’s so headstrong and never takes ‘no’ for an answer. When she wants something, she will find a way to get it done. Even at eight years old, she’s so driven and I have no doubt she will get whatever she wants in life… She just has this zest for life and doesn’t want to miss out on any opportunity that comes her way. It’s been really amazing to see Stef grow over the past year.”
Estefany and Alina enjoy many activities together beyond just her classroom assignments. Together, they like bird-watching, doing yoga, and going for walks outside. Alina notes that Estefany is becoming more responsible and will often be the one to notify Alina of homework she has to complete. She has also taken more responsibility at home with the baby twins, too! Alina says, “My heart just feels so full when I think about how much Stef has grown and how much of a responsible little lady she’s becoming”
Even though Alina has such a strong bond with Estefany, we see that she has such strengths as an advocate and leader for Karla and Sergio. Starting in January, Alina will begin a new position as the International Education Coordinator for Secondary Students. She will work with Karla and Sergio and encourage them in their studies as well as balancing family responsibilities.
“My goals [as Secondary Coordinator] are to help Karla and Sergio continue with their education in a manner that works best for them and does not feel forced. I think this is important in order for them to feel empowered through education, and not view it just as a chore. My goals are that they will see the benefits of continuing their education and that they will maintain an interest in their studies, so that they have the knowledge and ability to pursue anything they want, and that they don’t ever feel limited. I think that Karla and Sergio are at a challenging time in their lives, and they need guidance with balancing their education, work, and families. I believe that OFH will play a crucial role here, and I’m eager to be a part of this.”
We recognize that the older students have needs different than the younger students, and we’re thrilled to have Alina as the point-person for the helping OFH develop the right programs and strategies for our older students. In this way, Alina has been a wonderful support for not only our students, but the organization as a whole.
Thank to Alina for all you have done and continue to do for One Family Honduras! We’re grateful for everything you’ve given, and excited for all that’s to come.