One of my most treasured possessions is a now-faded piece of paper – my Grandmother Eva’s certificate of naturalization issued in 1942, 16 years after her arrival in the United States. A Russian immigrant, my grandmother held two jobs and raised her four daughters alone. It was only a slip of paper, but for her it carried a profoundly real psychological impact – the feeling of belonging, of legitimacy, of building toward a future of living in the light.
My mother understood, as the first in her family to be born in the United States, just how important a single piece of paper was for the many women, children and youth served by Puente each year — the farmers, farm and nursery workers who grow our food and flowers and fuel our agricultural economy.
She also understood the value of education for our region’s young people and that is why during her lifetime she pledged $10 each month to Puente. Will you consider donating to Puente today?
My mother had a special appreciation for one of Puente’s most familiar young faces, Laura Rodriguez, age 20, now one of Puente’s Community Resource Navigators. She would frequently ask about Laura and how she was doing. She would be happy to know that Laura was recently approved for a special, blanket visa that will allow her to stay in the U.S. indefinitely and to apply for a green card.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Laura feared highway patrol officers and checkpoints, because someone could discover she had no driver’s license and take her car away. Now she drives without fear – which is especially helpful in her commute to community college, where she is studying to become a computer engineer – the first in her family to go to college.
Her story is shared by countless others in our region who need the extra support that Puente provides. We’ll put your contribution to work immediately by:
- Providing college scholarships and paid internships to students in their chosen career field as well as continuing educational partnerships with institutions such as Stanford University, University of California, Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University.
- Supplying life-saving basics to South Coast farm and nursery workers who need a warm welcome – a hot meal, a blanket, and a welcome bag as well as rental and utility assistance to those who find themselves at the economic margins of society.
- Providing expedited health insurance to the region’s residents and immigration assistance to locals whose paths here left them without adequate resources.
- Advancing the groundwork for a county-funded mobile health van to provide primary health care in 2015 — currently 911 is our only healthcare option.
- Partnering with the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District to launch robust early childhood education options for South Coast children to lay the foundation for all children to read at grade level by 3rd grade.
A respected Silicon Valley donor will match dollar-for-dollar all gifts that are over and above your previous contribution if you make your gift by midnight on December 31, 2014.
Your generosity this year will make a huge difference in our ability to improve the quality of life for all South Coast residents – we rely so much on every donation and hope you’ll consider digging deeply again as 2014 comes to a close.
As the holiday season continues, we are grateful for our health, our homes and our beloved community. Your annual contribution enables Puente to continue seeking justice and equality for all residents of the rural South Coast.