Tag Archives: Guadalupe Centers

Stretching…

I am the proud alum of the University of Houston. I was blessed to work in downtown Houston and my mother made sure I had a humble heart. I was blessed to speak Spanish and understand the language of poverty.

During my stay in Houston I learned about the worker’s will to unionize and of the incredible push back they were receiving. The janitors that worked downtown after hours only earned minimum wage, which at the time it was $5.15. They also paid for their own parking. When I worked late hours, I saw kids, not that much older than me, taking out the trash, vacuuming and covering the square footage of this twenty floored sky high building. I decided to join them for the march that would not only change the earning ability of Houston janitors but ultimately the minimum wage of the country.

They won their campaign and I went to law school. Through life’s journey, I did not become the lawyer I dreamt of becoming since the 6th grade. I instead became something better (it is my interpretation, so to my lawyer friends, don’t get offended) by quitting law school and become a (self proclaimed) epic organizer. Giving a voice to the voiceless or ignored, I facilitated an organization of janitors in negotiating their pay just like lawyers, doctors, and business professionals. I organized over 500 janitors to go on unfair practice strikes because they were not being treated fairly, and getting taken advantage of.

I had to have tough conversations with families who shared a one bedroom apartment to prepare them for the aftermath of a strike. I had to prepare them for worst case scenario and give them hope for best case scenario. I had to talk to people who were making decisions for their children based on their minimum wage and had 16 hours of sweat and tears, emotional roller coasters. This was the biggest growth and stretch of SHE.

 

 

 
–Laura Isabel Alvarez

Laura earned her degree in Political Science from the University of Houston and currently serves on the Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs as the Vice-President. She was inducted as a Master’s of Science of Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University in May 2014. She joined Guadalupe Centers, Inc. in April 2013 with several years experience in Human Resources employee related issues and education. As a manager of HR, she is responsible for all Human Resources and Talent Management programs at Guadalupe Centers. You can connect with her on twitter or LinkedIn for the latest happenings in Kansas City, MO.

 

 

 

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The True Beauty of Words

I was in second grade, a little older than the picture below when my parents announced they would be getting a divorce. To be frank, my parents never married for love. My mother married to have the freedom to fly, to be a butterfly. My father married my mother because she was beautiful; she had long dark hair that would make any color bolder and brighter. Their marriage was peaceful. It was exactly what it needed to be to raise a little girl full of love and joy. My mother was a joyful creature. My father was full of peace. Together they created the epitome of yin and yang.

Lia

My father left shortly after they completed their divorce. I locked myself in a closet with a roll of toilet paper because that’s what I had seen on TV. I sat there and waited to cry. I never shed a tear, I wasn’t sad. I was happy for my mom. I was happy she would have a second chance to find “true love” and I was thinking that my father would always be around. I was the only biological child he could have so how could he forget about me, right?

It was October twenty something, a few days after my birthday in 2nd grade. My father had called me and told me to get ready to go to the mall so that I could have those lights-up shoes they sold at JcPenny, I cut the picture out and everything. I waited by the street light to see if I would see him drive up. I waited I waited for hours as the street lights turned on and my mother made me come inside. I waited on the couch and I called to make sure he was okay. I waited and never saw him.

My mother called him and let him know his biggest mistake was to get my hopes up. I went to my room to reflect. Was I sad because I was left waiting, I was in 2nd grade; I had plenty of time to wait. Was I sad because I was lied to? No, I was mad because he lied to me. Was I even sad at all? No, I was mad because he lied to me and thought it would be okay.

It was that moment when I learned the true beauty of doing what you say you will do. It was that moment that I saw the value of letting your words mean something. It was that moment that I understood the concept of integrity. It was at that moment the birth of greatness in my core values occurred.

–Laura Isabel Alvarez

Laura earned her degree in Political Science from the University of Houston and currently serves on the Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs as the Vice-President. She was inducted as a Master’s of Science of Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University in May 2014. She joined Guadalupe Centers, Inc. in April 2013 with several years experience in Human Resources employee related issues and education. As a manager of HR, she is responsible for all Human Resources and Talent Management programs at Guadalupe Centers. You can connect with her on twitter or LinkedIn for the latest happenings in Kansas City, MO.