“Noe is an amazing dad. He’s put off his own educational goals for years because he has dedicated all his time to working for his family. He works three jobs at least. He gets into work early so he can make it home in time to drive his son three hours round trip to the best mixed martial arts classes in the area, because he knows how much his son loves it. At the same time, Noe is shouldering huge anxiety and uncertainty due to immigration policy in this country. Sometimes in education, we see families who don’t always show up at the conferences or return phone calls right away, and we assume they’re ‘disengaged.’ But we have no idea how hard they’re working or what else they are balancing behind the scenes.
Noe is incredibly committed to the success of his kids and his family, but he can’t be everywhere and do everything at once. It’s important to remember that parents—and especially those who are recent immigrants—are often carrying immense burdens. We have to honor everything they’re doing and all the ways they are supporting their families, even if those aren’t always the obvious ones like helping with homework or being at every school event. I’m so inspired by Noe, and all the ways he is dreaming big for his children and helping make those dreams a reality.” – Arlene Sanchez, Boston Navigator
“I'm originally from El Salvador. I came here by myself when I was 15. My idea was come for education because my opportunities were very limited in my country. But when I got here, I had to pay my bills, so I jumped right into work.
My son is nine and my daughter is five. In the beginning of fourth grade, my son was struggling a little bit because I think it's a huge jump from third grade to fourth grade. He’s doing better now. I push them. After they read a book, I’ll say, 'Tell me what you learned about this.'
They’ll ask me, 'Can you read me a bedtime story?' Like I said, I don’t have much education. I’ll read them a short story, but most of the time I sit with my kids and tell them about my parents, our life back in my old country. My son once asked me what my Play Station was when I was a kid. I told him we didn’t have toys like that. We used to have this bucket we’d cut in half. We put a string on it and we’d drag it out through the woods and fill it up with gravel, and we thought that was our car. It's totally different than the life we are living in the United States. We grew up in a really poor village, but the way I looked at it was, I was rich. We didn’t have anything fancy, but we were all laughing. So now, especially my son, he knows more about my country and culture. That’s different from what he's been learning school.
There’s not really a book to teach you how to be a good parent, or how to lead your kids in the right direction. When I met Arlene, my Navigator, she was giving some really good ideas. Most of the stuff she taught me has been working out really good with the kids. We’ve been talking about how I might be able to get my education, too.
Immigration in this country's been very tough lately. It’s very difficult continuing daily in your life, because you have always have this fear. I have temporary protected status, and you never know what’s going to happen. If someday I become a citizen of the United States, it would give me so many more opportunities. I would like to go back to school. I would like to travel. I would like to bring my kids to my country. I still have the fear that I don't have enough stability. I think that’s a huge wall in front of me. One of my dreams did come true: I bought my house.
Now I want to get my kids to college and see them graduate. I think that’s every parent’s dream. I want see my kids with that hat on, and then doing something they love. My son says he wants to be one of those doctors for the Mercy Ships, going to different countries to do surgeries for kids. I told him about those ships, and how a small surgery can change a life forever. I told him how we should be grateful for everything we have, and how a lot of kids don't have these opportunities. Now he says when I'm grown up I want to be a doctor and help other kids be able to smile and walk.
You know, they’re kids so they don’t really know what they’re going to do when they grow up. But it’s nice to hear him say he wants to do something like that. I have wonderful kids. I’m very lucky to have them. I'm not saying I'm the best dad, but I get up and work hard for a better future for them.”