Written By Lizeth Sanchez

One day I overheard a young woman named, Alina, talking about how she had graduated from The Leadership Center a few years ago. I was very interested in this place that she spoke so highly of. I paid a lot of attention to what she was saying and after leaving the conversation I went straight home and told my mom that I wanted to go to The Leadership Center.  We were both very excited about the opportunity.   I interviewed the following year and to my delight, I was accepted!

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The first couple weeks were so difficult for me, I remember that I use to go to take a shower at night, not because it was hot, but because it was the only place I could cry without anyone knowing.  That sounds crazy, but I missed my home a lot and I didn’t’ think anyone would understand it. I thought the other students would laugh at me. (Now I know that my roommates would never do that!)  The idea of sharing a room with 9 other girls that I didn’t know did not sound fun at all. At my home, I had my own room!  Well, many things at TLC were new for me and I didn’t know if I was ready for it all.

Fortunately, all of those fears and difficult times in the beginning passed and all my thoughts and feelings were changed for the better!  Personally, one of the greatest things I learned was the importance of having friends and being honest with them.  At the beginning, it wasn’t fun or easy to share my feelings with others.  I was more than sure my roommates and other people had more important things to do that to listen to my feelings and problems, but I discovered that I was wrong.  Throughout my time at TLC my roommates and classmates became more than friends, they were becoming family.  I learned to be more aware of what was going on around me and to know when I needed someone to help me or give me advice.  I stopped thinking about just how I was feeling and started to think about how I could help others around me who might be feeling the same way.

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“Throughout my time at TLC my roommates and classmates became more than friends, they were becoming family”

Learning to care about others helped me realize that my life has meaning and purpose. I have seen many families destroyed, many kids living with just one of their parents and many difficult marriages and that is not something that I want to see continue in my country.  I really want to help others by becoming a marriage counselor and provide the best help that I can.   It won’t be easy, partly because I am not married yet but I believe because I have the passion and desire to help, and even some ideas to start that I will accomplish this goal of mine.  I also have accountability partners and mentors who will help me continue towards this dream.   I believe that if you want to help, that you don’t need much to start.  I really want to reach this goal and I am praying to God that He will bring this to reality.

I won’t ever forget about my experiences here at TLC. What is easy? No. but nothing in life worth having is easy, so I am proud of myself and my accomplishment and of the other girls as well.  The Leadership Center has change my life for the better and I will always be thankful for all the hard-work that everyone at TLC has done for me and for other women.  Thank you to all the staff members and teachers for never leaving us alone and for trusting in us when others didn’t.