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Building a better future through education

Parent & Family Engagement | 10/06/2015

Jeff Howard
Regional Digital Strategist

As regional digital strategist, Jeff helps to build online engagement to support students and improve education.

My name is Albertina Sanchez and I'm from a small village in Turicuaro, Michoacan Mexico. From an early age, I saw the importance of education, even though my own might be considered “non-traditional.” Our village relied on the Tarasco dialect as our main form of communication. My parents understood that while this language provided a sense of comfort and community, it would be in my best interest to learn Spanish as well. Since the age of five, they spoke to me in Spanish until I understood, so that I could have conversations with people outside my village.

My husband and I came to the United States in 2005. We were scared beyond belief. Again, I faced people who spoke a language that I did not understand. I felt the pressure of cultural barriers which I didn’t completely comprehend. However, we slowly adjusted.

We have two beautiful children, John (nine years old) and Kimberly (six years old). My children are the main reason for my involvement with Stand Arizona. I remember when Balbina, then a Stand leader, invited me to attend a school meeting one day. I thought it was a school-sponsored event but when I arrived, I realized that the women holding the meeting were not part of the school staff, but instead were concerned mothers, just like myself.

That meeting is where I first met Liliana, one of Stand’s incredible organizers. I remember she gave parents important information about the critical role they play in their children’s educational success. At that point, I knew that my involvement with Stand would be important because I was not familiar with any of the school processes in the United States. If I wanted to help my children have the opportunities that I didn’t, then I would have to understand how education in Arizona works and become an advocate for all of Arizona’s students – including my own. I realized that as a parent, I have a responsibility to stand up for my kids to make sure they graduate high school ready for college and career. Through my work with Stand, I’ve learned that this is something we all must do for every child in our state.

I started regularly attending meetings in Murphy School District. That is where Liliana taught us about the power that parents have in improving the education of our children. She also helped us understand policy at the State Legislature and the power of the electoral process. Slowly, I became more and more involved until Liliana told me one day that I was considered a “Leader” within the Murphy School District. Liliana saw my potential and dedication and pushed me to become the “Team Captain” for the Murphy School District. The members and leaders in Murphy will now look to me for guidance as we make decisions for the betterment of our children’s education success.

I hope you’ll join us in that incredibly important work.

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