My name is Luz Santana and I’m 36 years old. I grew up in Ponce, Puerto Rico. We are a family of twelve. We immigrated to Holyoke, MA on March 11, 1991. I left my home when I was 16 years old. I kept going to high school until my junior year. In 1996, I decided to move to Connecticut and I dropped out of high school. I got a job at Value Mart so I decided not to go school. I kept working while taking care of my kids. I now have three children: Giovanny 19, Govan 17, and Yulixa 5.
In 2001, I started to work at The McAuley [a continuing care and retirement facility] as a waitress, a month later they offered me a position as a hostess. I didn’t have enough English to pronounce the clients last names. It was very difficult. After eight years I was promoted to a Supervisor /Hostess with a two dollar raise. I was happy, but not satisfied. All I wanted to do was to go back to school but I couldn’t go back with my work schedule.
I got a job in the housekeeping department as a Housekeeper/ Laundry Assistant in 2011. The McAuley hired a new Director of Operations, a man named Dave. Dave passed around a flyer to each department asking what our goals in life are. I said to myself, this is a great opportunity to get my high school diploma. I got to talk to Dave about getting my diploma and he said we can do it. One hour every Tuesday, four of us from the same department studied for an hour with one of our residents. She was a teacher at New Britain High School before she retired. She tutored us in reading and writing and Dave tutored us in math. We were paid one hour every Tuesday to go to school. I was very impressed that the company cared about our future.
It took me six months to finish the National External Diploma Program. I graduated in November 2012. My oldest son said to me, “Mommy you are our role model in our lives. Congratulations, you graduated before we did.” I couldn’t believe that my dream came true!!
I didn’t want to finish here, I wanted to keep going and enroll myself into ESOL classes to improve my English speaking, writing, and reading. How could I stop when I want to become a LPN or Business Manager? These are my dream jobs. It helps to make your goals easier to reach by breaking them down into manageable steps. After using a tool to develop and plan a goal, you can print out your own goal sheet to guide and inspire you. I can also provide examples of how other people have reached their goals – they did it and I know you can too.