Neighborhood Services News
Being the change you want to see.
“If we show presence, we can make change.”
This very true statement came from Reyna Garcia, a LINC Academy for Social Transformation (L.A.S.T.) graduate and a parent who has lived in two Believe 2 Become zones. She believes strongly in the power of any community, and says she sees it now with LINC and B2B every single day. Garcia says she knows she is a leader now, and is ready and able to make change.
How did you get involved with Believe 2 Become, and what has your involvement been so far?
I attended the first two Believe 2 Become meetings and then I had that L.A.S.T. training with LINC. I’ve been surprised how I’ve seen Believe 2 Become grow from the first few meetings to now. Based on what I learned as a leader, I know that I need to be better prepared to inform the parents and to be a part of the community.
Have Believe 2 Become and the L.A.S.T. trainings changed your life?
Yes. It provided the tools and a vision of how the system works and where I’m positioned. They made me think that I had to continue and that I have a lot of potential to help the community, for my family and for myself. I have a different perspective completely on how it is to work with the community, how to use strategies, how to speak to people, how to relate to others, how to respect others. I feel so much better.
How has your children’s experience in school changed?
I had problems with the Grand Rapids Public Schools, serious problems. But if I had had this training I would have fought until the end, I wouldn’t have stopped. And I would have known I had support, and I would not have felt alone. It took me time but I was able to fix that situation, but now I think about these women that have the language barrier still there. It’s probably a good time to talk about how we can show more support. I also feel that I have a family with L.A.S.T.
With Believe 2 Become have you noticed things changing in your community or your neighborhood?
Being able to find [community liaisons] like Rosie and Hugo – I’ve seen them walk that zone, and put up posters and they’ve been face to face with the community. I think that’s a huge step so people trust and are more aware and are willing to participate more. I know I have to be a part of the support because I can’t think like before, “I’m tired, I can’t make it.” Because if we show presence, we can make change.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you think about your experience in the L.A.S.T. training?
Emotional, I cried in one of the sessions. I shared my experience. Not for pity – but because I consider its time to talk and let them know that life is sometimes complicated but nothing is impossible. I’m standing up, I will continue to prepare myself as a human being, as a mother, as a leader because I feel that we as people need to evolve.
What kind of emotions do you have when you think about Believe 2 Become?
When I talk about I Believe I Become I think about the children. I will continue to say this – they are not the future, they are our present. If right now we don’t work with them they won’t have a future. I say this because I have two small children and now that I am much more involved my question is, “How I can help other people realize that this is important?” They are like a little plant that you’ve got to protect and you’ve got to nourish.