Their Stories: Leticia Sanchez

My Safe Harbor has just become part of my life now. I started coming in November of 2009 and was in the very first Mother’s Club, the very first Electives and the very first Strong Families Institute cohort. That seems so long ago and, yet, just like yesterday.

I like to be involved helping people. I feel active and alive when I’m here. I like the way I’m treated here. Since the beginning I have felt accepted and welcomed – I feel comfortable here. I feel valued and my opinion matters. I have the opportunity to put my gifts to work and to teach others.

My Safe Harbor is a place where I found it safe to change. I found help to overcome my own problems and to change my life. Even though I was facing some tough things at home, I found a place to be myself and to be productive. I found a place to learn new things, to try new ideas and to risk being known.

One of the most helpful parts of SFI for me was the parenting classes. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that I wasn’t doing a very good job of parenting my children. I was able to identify that I was doing the same things my parents did with me and I knew I wanted to be different, but I didn’t know how. Practical tools and tips were a part of every class and it changed our family. In SFI, I learned who I am and that I have the power to change things in my own life and with my family. My, how far my family has come since those early days.

Two of my children have now graduated from high school. My oldest son is at Humboldt State studying Kinesiology; he wants to be a fire fighter/paramedic here in Anaheim. My oldest daughter is a psychology major at Santa Ana College and wants to be a social worker someday.  My youngest daughter is now in high school and is interested in being a radiation technician…or a Marine. I love listening to her go back and forth.

My mother would have told me exactly what to do and it would have been something simple and practical. But, because of SFI, I’ve learned to dream and I’m helping my children learn to dream. Before SFI I would have just opposed them, told them to be practical and make that the end of it – no discussion. Now I listen, I laugh, I let them dream and I encourage them to become all that they can be. SFI helped me to believe in myself and make important changes. I want my children to know that I believe in them and that they have the power to become anything they want.

I am presently volunteering and am here almost every day. I still feel so appreciated and an important part of a great team. And I am continuing to learn. Even my English has improved!!  I can’t wait to see what God is going to accomplish in the days ahead and am so glad to be in the middle of such an important ministry.