Their Stories: Merci Escamilla

I first came to MSH for an Elective. Lety Sanchez was teaching one about hair. I saw it on Facebook and decided I’d give it a try. At the time I just wasn’t focused on my life and family. I thought I was doing okay – I didn’t have any crisis. But it didn’t take long until I realized there were so many things that needed some help. I realized I wasn’t doing a very good job of taking care of myself. I was focused on everything but me! I was depressed and frustrated.

It took a while for me to decide on SFI, but WOW – it changed my life! I found myself. I had so many things to discover about myself and I realized that I wasn’t going to be helpful to anyone if I didn’t take care of me first. I put so much emphasis on my kids and all the things they needed and there was never time for me. I resented it and it paralyzed me.

SFI helped me see the world differently and to get a new perspective. I began to pay attention to how I was behaving. I used to be angry about everything. I complained and argued or just started crying and throwing tantrums. I just wasn’t coping with life; it was overwhelming. I knew I wasn’t acting right, but I didn’t know what to do.

I am so different now!  I speak with a calmer voice. I am careful to think before I speak. I learned to manage my time, to communicate better, to control myself. I learned to look for what would be best for all of us and for ways that we could solve our problems together. All the sessions in home & financial management, getting organized, making a plan, parenting:  they were so good for my family, but there were also so good for ME!

I am working to become a citizen and then I hope to become a ZUMBA instructor. My mother, who is still in El Salvador, is ill and I’m trying to care for her needs. I’m working on a plan to get to her soon. In the meantime, I’m busy at my children’s school, leading a Mother’s Club, being an SFI mentor and helping with the Exercise Club. I’m able to give back because I have something to offer.  I am not alone because I am part of an extended family that will support me – and expect me – to reach my potential. It feels so good to be loved and to be part of something making a difference. I am committed to staying connected to MSH and to my community. I feel so grateful and so blessed!