In the Staff Spotlight blog series, meet the dedicated people from across the country who bring their unique experiences, skills, and passions to work every day. Together, we're fighting to ensure every child, regardless of their background, has access to a quality public education.
Name: Liliana Hutcheson
Job Title: Organizer
Time at Stand: 6 years
1. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Mexico. Shortly after college, I moved to the U.S. in 2000. At the beginning, I faced many challenges like many other people who migrate to the United States. In 2001, I married my husband Reggie who help me learn English.
2. How did you end up at Stand?
I worked for four years as a Community Organizer for a nonprofit organization in education. The organization lost funding during the economic crisis in 2008. During the time at that organization, I enjoyed reaching out to thousands of parents across Arizona to share the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education. I knew my next job had to be in education. The parents in the community needed to be informed, feel welcomed, and have the tools they need to help ensure their children got the best education possible.
In February, 2009, Stand for Children posted a job opening. I applied that same day for the Organizer position. Stand Arizona’s office wasn’t ready to open until that fall, so in June, I went to the Portland office to work there for four months until the Arizona office was ready. It was a very difficult decision for me to make since my husband and my son Markus were in Arizona.
3. What is one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?
I love all the projects that I work on. The one I loved and I am so proud of are the Stand Arizona Tutoring Programs.
I have helped parents to grow, develop, and become great leaders in their communities. Norma Chavez and Lucila Maldonado, Alhambra School District parents, and now Stand team captain leaders, saw the need in their community for kids to get the extra help they aren’t able to receive at home. We started a Stand Arizona tutoring program in their community and secured Alhambra High School as a partner in this work. Our parents held a planning session and invited the principal to join. He loved the enthusiasm of Stand parents, their commitment to the community, and their demonstrated leadership. The principal offered to have Alhambra High School's honor roll students serve as tutors. He also offered up the library to host the tutoring program and enlisted school staff to support Stand parent leaders during the sessions.
Today, we hold a Stand Arizona and Alhambra High School tutoring program every Monday and Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. Students in the Alhambra community can get help with their homework, specifically in math and reading. The program started two years ago with only 12 students and 6 tutors. After two years, we have more than 50 students attending and 65+ tutors participating.
Albertina Sanchez, another parent and now team captain, is starting a new Stand Tutoring Program at Carl Hayden every Monday and Wednesday with 40+ students and 40+ tutors.
I am very proud of what a Hispanic parent can do in their community with the support of a great organization like Stand for Children.
I have a lot of stories of how these tutoring programs have a direct impact on so many children’s education, from improving their grades, to getting certificates of recognition for their academic growth.
4. What motivates and inspires you?
The parents that I work with inspire me. When I see them be the voice for their children’s education, and what they have done and accomplished in the state of Arizona, it motivates me every day.
5. Why do you like working at Stand?
I love working at Stand because it gives me the opportunity to help other parents have a voice in their children’s education. I believe education is the key to success and I love and believe in Stand’s mission.
6. What are your hobbies/passions outside of work?
I love hiking. In the hot summer months, my mornings start at 4 a.m. with a hike up a nearby mountain. The hike usually takes about an hour. I don’t have to wake up so early in the cooler months.
7. What are you reading right now?
I haven’t sat down to read a good book in years.
8. Any fun or interesting facts about yourself?
I learned Japanese when I was little. I went to a Japanese elementary school and also learned the culture and discipline. My dream is to go to Japan someday.