Each month, the Mission Economic Development Agency honors one of its dedicated volunteers—the people who are an integral part of MEDA’s ability to provide free services to low- and moderate-income Bay Area residents. Thanks to all of the selfless MEDA volunteers who choose Plaza Adelante as their second home.
Name: Cesia Edith Valenzuela Velazquez
Program: Workforce Development
Why did you decide to volunteer with MEDA?
At the beginning of the summer, I was applying for internships and volunteer positions, and when I saw MEDA’s website, it immediately caught my attention: economic justice, economic development, Latino community, immigrants. I knew that’s the place where I wanted to spend my summer, using my time with people who are doing something good and right for the community.
What projects have you worked on as a volunteer?
I developed the Business Communications curriculum for summer, fall and winter Mission Techies and Bilingual Bank Tellers sessions. This includes the course outline, lectures, activities and assignments. Also, I was an instructor for the Business Communications courses during the summer session for the Mission Techies and Bilingual Bank Tellers. I also participated and helped to organize activities for these two young adult programs.
What do you like best about volunteering at MEDA?
How everyone is so passionate about their work! It’s a great work environment.
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
That nothing is impossible. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your background, social status or language. There is always a way to get what you want, to make your life better, to reach your goals. It might take you longer than you expected for different reasons (maybe you are an immigrant, you didn’t have the financial resources to pursue your education, you are not fluent in the language of your new country of residence), but there are people that have been in the same situation as you or that understand the struggles of not having everything in your favor. And the people at MEDA are some of those that are making a difference–a good difference, for many, many families in the Bay Area. It was a pleasure to spend my summer at MEDA.
Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life?
I am from the city of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. I lived there with my family until 2008, the year when I defended my thesis for my Bachelor’s degree. I moved to Montreal, Canada in 2008 to improve my French and English, and after a few months living in the vibrant city of Montreal, I decided I wanted to make Canada my permanent country of residence. It hasn’t been easy to be an immigrant in a country where the weather conditions affect your daily life, and where people speak not just English, but French, too; however, being persistent, working hard and having the support of my loved ones has helped me. I am currently a grad student in Economics, and will hopefully graduate with my MA degree by summer of 2016.
In my spare time, I like baking (a passion I have developed in the last few years in Canada; using the oven makes your stomach happy and your house feels warm), jogging (I was part of a track and field club in my teen years and participated in several races, including my state’s Olympic games) and watersports (this passion naturally comes from my childhood in Mexico).
Looking to join a great cause, too? Find out how to volunteer at MEDA. We hope you can join us!