Maria Cardenas - From Stand UP Participant to Stand UP Parent Educator

After participating in the Stand UP Program, MAria Cardenas became a Stand UP Parent Educator. During a recent graduation ceremony, this is what she told the Stand UP Graduates:


My name is Maria Cardenas I am a mother and a proud part of Stand UP, a program of 10 weeks where we give classes focus to educate parents on how to guide their children to university.

A year ago I lived in a bubble. I thought that all schools were great, and that my duty as a mother was to send my children to school, and that my children will have a guaranteed success. Until one teacher made me see the importance of being an informed and educated parent. Thanks to this teacher, who did not do a good job at all of teaching my child, my son finished the second grade with the worst grades he had ever had, and with very low self-esteem. He felt like the dumbest kid and the worst-behaved in his class.

During that time I approached the parent coordinator in the school to seek guidance. She talked to me about Stand for Children, and invited me to participate in Stand UP. As time passed and classes moved forward, my bubble burst, and I saw that in my hands I held the future of my children, and that if I didn't take care of them drugs, gangs or other problems would do it for me.

While in Stand UP, it shocked me to learn that there were more young people in prisons than there were graduating in universities. At that moment I promised myself that my children would never be part of that statistic and that I would do something to help other parents who like me, once lived in a bubble.

And now I am here, as a Parent Educator. I am not a teacher, I don't even have experience teaching classes, but what moves me is to help other parents  open their eyes to reality and to rise up to improve their child's education.

Also, when I am in my kid's school and I see other children, I think that they must have the same opportunities that my children.

Now, my son is improving, overcoming challenges and demonstrating to himself that he can be successful in school. That the difference now is not that he is in a new school, which is academically and behaviorally more challenging, but that the difference is the one I am making - because now I have my hands full of tools to fight for my children's education.

The true difference is made by us, the parents. It is not easy, and that is why there are only a few of us, but if we unite we can make sure we become more, and when more people join us, more children will have better opportunities and better schools. For this I congratulate you tonight, for being parents part of Stand UP and leaders fighting for a better future for your children, and mine.

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