In 2005, Belkys, a mother of three, began volunteering at her children's elementary school. Serving as an assistant in a kindergarten class, Belkys helped the teacher communicate with the Spanish -speaking children and provided translation and support for parents. This was a rewarding experience and she discovered she had a lot to offer the children, teachers and parents. The school valued Belkys and recognized her for her commitment and leadership.
"At first, I though this experience was the best way for me to improve my English. However, the kids seemed to learn faster than me," chuckled Belkys. Learning another language as an adult is a challenge for anyone. It takes a great deal of determination and requires a supportive environment. Belkys was determined to improve her English and made a commitment to herself to actively engage in the community and improve her skills while helping others.
Belkys didn't take a break from her commitment to learn and serve. During school vacations she joined the Volunteer Program at La Alianza Hispana."When I signed up, I thought I would have the opportunity to help my community and an organization I cared about, but I didn't expect that I would gain so much in return. In a month, I enrolled in workplace English classes in La Alianza Hispana Education and Workforce Center for Success, and I was even named the Student of the Month!" exclaimed Belky.
Belkys serves in many volunteer roles at La Alianza Hispana: reception, community outreach, and event coordination. She, like the others in the Volunteer Program, have a wonderful "can-do" attitude and pitch in where ever their help is needed. "I especially like working in reception. Many people come through our doors every day looking for help. I really like when I can connect them with the services they need. Sometimes I refer them to English classes and they become my classmates. And sometimes I need to refer them to other agencies. They come back though. La Alianza Hispana is like a family. The people we serve feel a strong connection to us because we are an important advocate for newcomers to Boston."
Belkys, together with her Education Counselor, is designing a career path to become a social worker. Belkys summarized by saying, "I believe in La Alianza Hispana. I'm constantly seeing how La Alianza Hispana changes people's lives and I want to be part of making this happen. I want to go to college and return to join the staff at La Alianza Hispana."