High School Equivalency Program Outreach Specialist at Columbia Basin College
Planner or procrastinator:
Favorite sports team?
El America! (my dad will love this)
Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities?
Floating down the Columbia River
Age and current hometown:
Briefly describe your organization:
The High School Equivalency Program at Columbia Basin College serves low-income migrant seasonal farmworkers. We help this vulnerable population obtain their GED diploma, continue with higher education, sign up for English classes and refer them to other needed programs.
How long have you worked at CBC? Five years.
Education: Associate degree, Columbia Basin College; bachelor of arts in comparative ethnic studies and bachelor of arts in women’s studies, Washington State University, Pullman campus; currently working on my master’s at WSU Tri-Cities.
I have the most supportive, amazing family, my mother Cilvia Lucatero, my father Hector Rene Alvarez Ramos “El Grande,” my two brothers, Jesus and Hector, my baby niece Avyan, and my wonderful life partner Ricardo and my friends who I consider family.
They are the reason why I am good at my job because they have always backed up my radical ideas and stand by me at all times. I also have three awesome little dogs that keep me on my toes — Luna, Sol and Cielo!
What brought you to the Tri-Cities?
We moved to the area when I was 11 years old. My mother was born in the United States but when she was little her family moved to Mexico. I was born in Colima, Mexico. When my father became ill in Mexico, we moved to the States to find him help. I feel like I was able to adapt to the community quickly and the Tri-City area became my forever home.
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 18 years.
Dream vacation: Anywhere with a beach! I had a trip planned to Greece this summer but because of Covid it didn’t happen so I will say Greece.
Favorite book? Movie?
Favorite book: “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color,” 2015, by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa. Favorite movie: “Forrest Gump.”
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I love snakes.
Describe your job and how you got into it: My job is to reach out to the migrant community in the Tri-Cities area and provide assistance as an education advocate.
I also assist with academic advising.
Depending on the need of the people I meet, I will refer them or advise them in the right direction. I also work very closely with all other migrant programs in the area to provide opportunities for the community.
One thing I strive to do is to keep our migrant community informed by providing information about what’s going on in the community in Spanish or in a way they will understand.
I also feel like I can be that bridge for them at CBC. People know to call me so I can refer them to other programs.
Toughest career decision?
Just recently I was offered an amazing job opportunity at Washington State University in Pullman, which I decided to turn down because I know how much my community needs me here in the Tri-Cities.
I know I am making a difference here, and I am establishing my leadership with the goal to protect and assist people of color.
How did you earn your first dollar?
I grew up in a little town in Colima, Mexico. We lived in very poor conditions. At the time my mother and father had a taco stand outside our house. I remember always trying to help my mom as much as I could, cooking, cleaning and serving. I was 6 years old at the time.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
I am actually really good at this. Thankfully a lot of my really close friends work doing the same type of work that I do, so I get to spend a lot of time with them at work functions.
I think my work is really fun and sometimes I don’t look at it as work. I look at it as just helping people who need me to listen to their needs or concerns and be their voice where they are not heard. To me that’s not work, that’s just being a human being.
Now when I really do need to take some “me” time, I love to travel. I have traveled to many amazing places and will continue with my adventures when the quarantine is over.
Community involvement and service: I am involved in a lot of different organizations in the community, as well as different committees within Columbia Basin College.
My involvement always has been driven by social justice and to protect and inform vulnerable populations in our area.
I am the co-chair of the Tri-Cities Latino Community Network, a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee at CBC, and just recently became a member of the Tri-Cities Immigrant Coalition. I also have been a member of Tri-Cities LULAC and other organizations that serve the Latinx community.
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