#WCW: Maria Guadalupe Jaime

16452feBorn to migrant farm workers, Lupe Jaime was born and raised in a small community outside of Sacramento on the River Delta. Driven to succeed and raised to give back, she pursued higher education. She received not only her Bachelors degree and her teaching credential from Fresno State University, but also a Masters degree in Education with a focus in Cross Cultural Curriculum.

For her, education evened out the playing field, positioning her to help support parents and children of the Central Valley. In her current position as the Director of Early Care and Education for the Fresno County of Education she helps bridge the gap for children heading into schools so that they can be prepared for kindergarten. She sees this as a way to connect with migrant families, like her own, that she knows need the support.

Like many others, Lupe got involved in HOPE through the advice of her mentor, Dr. Teresa Huerta, who encouraged her to apply to the HOPE Leadership Institute(HLI). After researching the organization and coming to the realization that she could grow in her understanding of the world of politics, activism, and advocacy she applied and was accepted into the program.

HLI was am amazing experience for her, and provided some great takeaways. The biggest of which was the network! Wonderful Latinas in various industries, with different backgrounds and alternative perspectives. “Hearing their take on things. Having them as a sounding board. They are some of my closest friends now. If I’m ever looking for direction, I know I can reach out to them,” she explained. Another of her takeaways was the hands on experience of going through the training and learning about the political system. Through the HLI program she was able to go to Sacramento and advocate for Latina issues as well as visit Washington D.C., where she was invited to The White House.

She has recently been appointed to the First 5 California Commission. Being not only a Latina but also the first person to represent the Central Valley on this commission makes it so much more meaningful for her, as she has a true understanding of the unique perspective the Central Valley has.

“It is very humbling to be selected, knowing the responsibility and the voice that I’m going to carry forward, I will not take it lightly,” she expressed.

When she reflects on the advice she would give her younger self, she said “I would have searched out more mentors, especially seasoned women.” “Network and be involved, sometimes you have to slow the process down to experience life,” she continued. “Don’t be embarrassed, reach out and ask for help.”

 

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