By Anielka Hondoy, Program Assistant
In 2013 Brenda Lacayo approached our home-visit team in rural Santa Ana. She had been living outside of the community with a distant family member to attend high school and she was now back home in Santa Ana. She had also just enrolled as a psychology student at the university. Brenda asked if a scholarship would be possible since her family was struggling to pay her tuition. Because her situation did not meet our criteria of having a proven track record in high school as a program participant, EI could not directly offer her a scholarship. Instead, our program director offered her a small stipend to cover her book expenses in exchange for giving back to the community. She went above and beyond the first year as she supported students with tutoring and then started to learn how to do home visits. The team was so impressed that when there was a need for another home visit promotor, she was offered a full-time job, and this really served her and our program well. Over the years, Brenda has stood out as a key leader in her own community and in the urban communities in which we work. Her passion and eagerness to serve and help the children and their families are palpable.
“I do my work with love every day, encouraging students to realize each of their dreams.” -Brenda
When she describes her experience with EI, she smiles her contagious smile and exclaims “¡Excelente!” As one of our staff psychologists who does home visits, Brenda takes on some of our more challenging cases. Each day she can be found visiting families in their home to discuss any issues they are having that may interfere with the child’s opportunity to attend school and be successful. This is not an easy job where she is the front line to motivate and encourage children with their studies while continuously working on self-esteem issues, daily family, and economic challenges as well as psychological and physical health barriers.
Brenda has been a witness to many significant changes over the years. Some noted by her are that now students are more independent and self-motivated. Parents value education for their children. She also notes that in our communities, increasingly, women are empowered to have a better life, with less violence, and less physical, sexual, and psychological abuse within families.
Sat, Dec 12 | Virtual Event
Join us at our end-of-the-year celebration! (PARTY OF HOPE) We will highlight achievements, challenges, and plans for the future.