A migrant worker’s journey toward her own field of dreams

Samantha Guajardo was nine years old when she started to learn the value of hard work. She grew up in a family who earned a living through migrant farm work.

The 24-year-old Crystal City resident said she recalls working side-by-side in various fields with her family picking onions, sugar beets, and potatoes, to help put food on their own table. It was hard work but to her, it was a way of life.

“It was how we made a living. I never thought about it as anything else. This is how my family has survived through life,” she said. “Migrant work is part of who we are.”

She said her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, have always been extremely dedicated to their work.

“It’s my mom’s side of the family that has invested most of their lives in migrant work,” she said.

Samantha traveled with her family many times, and during her travels, she said her family always encouraged her to keep her options open, despite obstacles like figuring out how to pay for college and transportation.

“I’ve always dreamed of becoming a nurse. I love helping people and I’m compassionate. Helping make a patient get better is something I can see myself doing,” described Samantha.

So when she graduated from Crystal City High School, she knew she wanted to go to college but felt overwhelmed when thinking about it. She asked herself: How will I ever pay for college? In addition to that, she was expecting a child and would be raising her son as a single mom.

She felt her dream of becoming a nurse was now out of reach. “I became depressed and felt discouraged about going to school,” she said.

As she was feeling hopeless and uninspired, she heard about Family Service Association and how they helped individuals and families in need of support. She felt a glimpse of hope.

“I reached out to Family Service and they offered to help me get back on track with my dream,” she said. “Family Service was a godsend. They believed in me.”

Samantha was inspired, once again, to pursue her dream. With the support of Family Service, Samantha received assistance to pursue job training in an LVN program with funding through a grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. She also received financial counseling through Family Service’s Financial Empowerment Center.

She was encouraged by Family Service to enroll in the Vocational Nursing Program at Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde, and has recently completed the program with flying colors. She plans on earning her LVN license this summer. But her dream won’t end there; Samantha plans on enrolling in the registered nurse (RN) program at San Antonio College and hopes to complete it in the fall of 2019.

She also desires to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, once she completes the RN program. “I would love to earn my BSN and after that, maybe become a nurse practitioner. There are so many opportunities now.”

And eventually, Samantha wants to work in a hospital specializing in labor and delivery. “I’ll be working my dream job as a labor and delivery nurse, doing what I love and still be able to come home and love my son. That’s my main goal.”

“I’m so happy and excited. I’m finally pursuing my dream. It’s happening and it’s what I always wanted for myself and for my family,” she explained. “My son is even inspired by my dream. I think he wants to become a doctor so who knows, right?”

Samantha said the possibilities are endless when you get the support you need from people who believe in you. And for Samantha and her four-year-old son, Matthew, that support was there for them, thanks to Family Service and to her own hard working family.

“The Family Service team has empowered me to go after my dreams. I’ve learned to never give up. No one should have to,” said Samantha. “So if you have a dream but feel it’ll never come true, please don’t give up. There’s hope. And, there’s Family Service.”

Family Service Association is the oldest human service nonprofit in San Antonio, celebrating its 115th anniversary this year. Family Service is also celebrating its 20th anniversary of serving in rural communities, including seven counties. Family Service serves more than 98,000 individuals and families annually. Their mission is to empower individuals and families to transform their lives and strengthen their community. For more about the organization, visit online at Family-Service.org.

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