Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Time for Some Action by Luis

Hello World. I am Luis Rocha and I am the AmeriCorps VISTA member working with the Texas HIPPY Center in Dallas, TX.

Why AmeriCorps?

Though many people who grow up in El Paso, TX cannot wait to leave, I cannot wait to get back. It’s a unique often unappreciated place. Despite the absurdly hot summers, and howling winds in the spring, there is nothing quite as awesome as a desert sunrise, a full moon over the Franklin mountains, or the yellow poppies in the spring. And who could ever forget Chico’s Tacos.

Growing up along the US-Mexico Border, as the son of a maquiladora (Mexican-twin plant) manager and a bilingual ed teacher the struggles of those in poverty where never far from our home. I remember going to the Sun Bowl every year and looking across the Rio Grande at shanty houses less than a football field away, made of tires, cardboard, and scrap wood, while I sat in my $60 seat and munched on an overpriced nachos and soda. Maquila employees in Mexico could not afford to buy my nachos and soda with a day’s salary. It seemed wrong to me, but it would take a few years for this to move me to take action. Enter AmeriCorps.

Why Texas HIPPY?

How do you rise up out of poverty? Education. I learned quickly from my mom that without a solid foundation and parental support students are destined for failure. In her second grade classes she could already tell which students would go on to graduate and those that would struggle and fall by the wayside. HIPPY serves as a catalyst for change at all levels; family, school, and community and I want to be a part of that change. Here at Texas HIPPY we believe that “Home is Where the start Is”. It my hope I can play a small part in helping other families have a similar start to the one my home afforded me.

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