Today we’d like to introduce you to Lucinda Cortez.
Lucinda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am the Adult Education Coordinator for Friends of North Richmond, I am married to Roy Cortez, a kidney transplant patient pending a donor. I have six wonderful children, several grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren and my beautiful stepdaughter I call my daughter. I am a very proud mother, my children worked part-time jobs while going to school to provide for their own career choices they have. Before I married my husband Roy, I was a single mom working two jobs, trying to stay on life survival mode, trying to keep food on the table. I am very proud of the mothers and fathers they grew up to be.
Before I get started, I want to tell you how I got started with Attack Poverty Friends of North Richmond in 2009.
Let me share with you how this all got started with a man and a woman wearing green shirts walking through the neighborhood where my dad lived; dad had a little house he builds 63 years ago, right in the middle of what is Called North Richmond, and his regular routine was sitting in the yard with his walker and a cigarette. One day, this man and woman stopped by and visited with my dad and told them about how they would like to repair his wheelchair ramp for free. We had just loss mom about a year before this, so my dad spent most his lonely days sitting outside with his walker and cigarette. He didn’t want to move in with anybody so my husband being the oldest of the family took over taking care of dad as he had been doing for a very long time prior to losing a mom. When we got home from work and stopped to check on dad as we did every day, he mentioned that a young man and women had stopped by and said they were going to fix his wheelchair ramp for free, the first thing that came to mind was (dad what did you sign) he said he didn’t sign anything and they were coming back on that Sunday. They did and we met this young and he explained to us his purpose and his mission and his vision and, the next thing I knew we had over 50 volunteers doing dad’s little home repairs and a new wheelchair ramp and that is when I found out what my God’s calling was – to give back to the community what Attack Poverty Friends of North Richmond had given my dad.
Attack Poverty Friends Of North Richmond, not only repaired my dad’s little house, they brought back laughter-Love-joy-happiness back into his little house of dad’s and dad’s life, all the volunteers were calling dad Grandpa that joyed him.
Thank you, Attack Poverty CEO Richard Logan and Becky Watts and all his volunteers, for being that young man in 2009.
The reason I am committed to serving the families in our community is to try to make a difference in a family’s lives.’ Attack Poverty Friends of North Richmond is what we stand for, who we serve.
At Attack Poverty, we are empowering people… to attack poverty in their life and community.
We are a global organization that serves locally breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Our mission is to strengthen under-resourced communities through spiritual growth, education, revitalization, and basic needs.
We do this in partnership with the local church, residents, businesses, and community leaders by adopting pockets of poverty, launching what we call Friends of Locations and making a long-term commitment to go deep and really care about the things that community cares about. Our approach is deeply intentional, both strategically and geographically.
We listen and connect resource with need. It all starts with listening for me, I listen to the father with earning minimum wage with no Highschool – No GED not able to get a better job to be a better provider for his children – a single mom with no employment to provide a better living for her children and not being able to move them out of the environment, out of poverty. To a young adult that is trying to stay out of trouble but has no educational guidance or someone that cares.
It all starts with listening for me. This community is personal to me, I was raised in this community of North Richmond. All that Attack Poverty has to offer these families, I didn’t have growing up in this neighborhood. I was one of these families – I want to give back to the community what God gave me, I want to make difference in these family’s lives, I want to see that father earn a higher wage to be a better provider, I want to see the mother with a job to earn enough to move her children to a better environment, get her own apartment and put a bed in her children room, I want to help that young man or young lady not get in trouble, offer them an educational, career planning help and goal setting to be decent respectful adults in the community. We don’t want to lose this young man or lady. We want to listen, we want to be the ones that care.
We can do that now with Attack Poverty and all the caring volunteers we have to teach the GED Tutorial Class- the Jobs For Life Class – to help with employment placement- the Computer Class to teach them a new skill make them more valuable to an employer, the ESL English second language so they can participate in their children’s school projects and be productive in their community. All this is through the power of God and Attack Poverty that has provided me with the tools I need to serve the families in this community.
When they walk through the doors of friends Of North Richmond, they become my family, we pray together, we cry together and together, God’s stands with us.
As I mentioned before the families, serving has a special place in my heart.
At Friends of North Richmond, we have a success wall full of pictures and stories of these families – stop by someday, I would love to share their stories with you.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In my life journey, at the time single mom mother of six, I never gave up, I cried a lot not knowing the what my tomorrow would be, where am I getting that bag of groceries, the fear of not knowing, living from paycheck to paycheck, but not giving up. My struggles made me stronger. I went through a lot of roadblocks – most of them were trying to tell me to do all the wrong, at that time I didn’t have God in my life but God had me in his: I started praying in my closet so the kids wouldn’t hear me crying the (Why Me). As my days pass and my children got a little older, God started showing me doors to open – my advice to young mothers is don’t give up, seek opportunities- look at your resources – if you don’t know where to start, contact me – contact your local church – don’t just not try. You are made in God’s image and He made you live in joy, love, and peace. He gave us children, the most precious gift of all – so, seek Him, pray to Him, which I always did.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am the Adult Education Coordinator, I provide educational tools to adults.
We give people tools to help themselves break out of the cycle of generational poverty. We are not a handout we are a hand up. The difference between is we care, we listen, we try to provide service and tools that the community needs to move forward from poverty, we try to provide services the community in a survey said they needed to better themselves for their family.
Jobs for Life in JUST 8 WEEKS, you will… meet with local employers and learn what they are looking for when hiring and be prepared and confident in job interviews! Resume writing/job leads/Employer Role plays/Employer interviews Tuesday & Thursday/5:30 p.m.– 7 p.m.
English Second language (ESL) Learn conversational English to be able to communicate and be productive in your community and to be able to participate in your child activities.
Aprender Inglés conversacional para poder comunicarse y ser productivos en su comunidad y ser capaces de participar en las actividades de su niño.
Special Services/Wellness Workshop Money management skills, physical and mental one-hour seminar/workshops!: Start date to be announced.
Computer Class Learn the simplest way to understand and use a computer! Wednesday 5:30 till 7:00 pm and Saturday 8:30 am-Beginner—10: 11:30 am Advance 10:-11:30 am.
GED – Tutorial preparation class yearly Ongoing— Our class is structured to help individuals pass GED exams. Necessary to receive their GED certificate. Students attend six hours a week meet twice a week with tutors.
We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
I don’t feel there are any barriers, I feel that women have moved up to accepting life challenges. In some areas of the communities, I would say lack of continuation of education, lack of opportunities, lack of mentors.
- Address: Friends Of North Richmond
1305 Clay Street
Richmond, Texas 77469
- Website: www.attackpoverty.org
- Phone: Office: 281-762-2068 Desk : 832-945-3770
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org