Leida Ruiz continued
Leida grew up in Guanajate, Mexico. Her father passed away when she was 11 and her mother had to raise six children on her own. Leida’s mother was determined to move to the United States where she hoped to build a better life for her children. Eventually her mother made her way to the U.S. and one by one, each of her children joined her. Leida, at 20 years old, was the last one to make the trip. Eventually she found work as a caretaker and house cleaner for a woman in San Francisco. Shortly after that, Leida met her husband and they began to build their family.
Leida’s children – a 2nd grader and a 5th grader now, both boys – are her main motivation and inspiration. Sometimes, exhausted, she feels drained of all motivation to keep up the fight, but then she looks at her children and remembers her dreams for them, and the fire inside of her is sparked again. She is deeply grateful to Coleman for helping her develop the skills and confidence to be an advocate and organizer and for giving her the sense that she is not in this alone, and someone always has her back.
One of the biggest challenges Leida has faced as an organizer has been trying to motivate other parents. She sees a lot of people around her expecting some immediate prize for any time they put in. She says that she has been able to stay committed over the long haul has because she has never expected anything in return for her work. The rewards have been huge, she insists, but she did not expect or require them. “I do this work because I believe in it and I want to do my part to make a better world for my children. I am constantly reminding other parents, even if there isn’t some immediate payback, the knowledge and information that we gain from the process is a treasure. It helps us to support our children with their educational success and in their lives”.
Leida says people ask her all the time: “How do you do it? How do you keep up with it all?” She always responds that she just does what she is able and that no one knows her children, and what need to succeed, more than she does, and so it is her responsibility to play an active role in their education. She tells other parents that they have the same special insights about their own children and so the same responsibilities to be involved.
JUN 11, 2015