My name is Wanda Islas, and I manage our programs at Presencia.
I’m 22 years old, and I have a baby boy who just turned two. Growing up, I was the oldest of four sisters living with a single mom. My family and I moved a lot. It was difficult because schools taught the same things but at different paces. I remember having to move schools as I was learning multiplication. At the new school they had already started division.
This caused a lot of struggles, but Ruthie and Ian came knocking on my door once to let me know that they were hosting a party at their house. Eventually they began helping the other kids and me with homework.
I still remember Ian helping me with my multiplication with cards. Unfortunately, my family and I had to move back to Mexico for a while. After two years we came back, and I wanted to go back to the apartments to see if Ruthie and Ian were still here.
Fortunately for me, they were and they knew exactly who I was. They made me feel happy and excited. They told me that because I was already in the sixth grade i could now be a leader which meant I got to help other children with their homework and distribute food.
It made me very happy to be able to help the children just as Ruthie and Ian helped me. When I started the eleventh grade, they offered me an official job at Presencia. I discovered that I have a gift for leadership, and I’m now working together with them as the Program Manager for Presencia.
It makes my heart happy when I get to help a kid. Sometimes they are struggling emotionally or they can't physically stay still because of a condition. Other times they cry because they can’t figure out their homework. I get to help them feel better and know that they are in a safe place.
I know we're making a difference in these kids’ lives not just because we show them the multiplication tables but because we get to walk with them through whatever they’re facing.
Thank you for being part of my life through the Presencia family!