by Maria Jandres, National Narrative Shifter, FII-Northern California
“Legacy is not what I did for myself, it is what I am doing for the next generation.” – Vitor Belfort
I was born in 1986 in Nicaragua. I grew up with my grandparents and a my mother who has been a lawyer in Nicaragua for 45 years. I graduated from law school in 2007 and came to United States for vacation that I never imagined would last the past 12 years. I got married and unfortunately this was a very toxic relationship that last 7 years of mental, emotional and physical abuse. I got pregnant and decided to end that relationship and move to the Bay Area looking for a better and healthier life for me and my baby. Suffering depression, low self-esteem, and with many doubts in my head, I decided to go back to school and graduated May 2016 from San Francisco City College with my AA in Social Behavioral Science and Paralegal certificate.
Once I finished school I was still going through my depression and I needed to find a job to secure more financial stability for my family, so I found different resources and organizations that could help. I got a job at Homeless Prenatal Program, and continued with my undergraduate education at San Francisco State University, graduating with a degree in Liberal Arts. Then I went to law school. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, achievements and failures but I am so proud of the support I found. I found my community and organizations like Family Independence Initiative that help me continue building my story and invested not only on my goals, but my entire family.
My story is a story that hasn’t end yet. I continue learning, growing and building my community and finding ways to support those families that like mine are still struggling with poverty and the inequality of our system. I advocate for childcare in the federal, state and local level with Parent Voices, Mission Promise Neighborhood, Soroptimist and many others because I want to leave a legacy for my child. I am work with FII to advance my goals to end child poverty and shift the narrative of low-income families.