Where Are They Now? Alondra Martin
Discover how Alondra Martin, a fourth-grader in our afterschool program 20 years ago, became part of our team.
Hi Alondra, We’re eager to hear the story of your involvement with Hope for Miami. How did it begin?
It all started back in about 2003 when the church I was attending, El Buen Pastor announced they were going to host an afterschool and summer camp program with funding from The Children’s Trust awarded to Hope for Miami. I was attending South Hialeah Elementary at the time, so our after school teachers only had to cross the street to pick us up for the program. When we arrived, we had snacks waiting for us and we began doing our homework. The teachers and counselors always had many activities for us to do whether they were on paper, indoor games, classes (such as jewelry with Miss Yvonne) or being outside playing games. Funny how I still enjoy many of those activities and play with my students now.
What were some of those experiences like for you?
Most everything was great. I can still remember all the fun times we had going multiple times a week to Babcock Park pool, where we would eat snacks, dance and swim with our friends. The best part was having my siblings and cousins there with me. The field trips were very similar to the ones we now go to, so I really enjoy going and talking to my students about all the memories I once had in those places. I can definitely say that growing up in a program like Hope for Miami was amazing! I am grateful that although I grew up in an extremely low-income household, I was able to enjoy a great life and experience places I was not able to with my family.
Who were some of the staff team members you remember who made a positive impact on your life?
When it all began, Mayra Sanabria was our Site Supervisor. I have known her basically my entire life because we attended church together. She gave me my first job and pushed me towards my current career path. I now have her twin granddaughters as part of my Summer Camp group.
By far my favorite teacher, although I had many great ones, was Yanela Medina. She sadly passed away a few years ago. I remember her as kind, compassionate, very caring and loving. She was tough on us because she wanted what was best for us. Having gone to school with her daughter, I can remember how she would secretly pay for my field-trips with school because she knew my mom could not afford them at the time.
Then Mally Fontan came around and I LOVE HER TO PIECES. She is so fun, creative and loving. At that time, I was already a teenager and she knew exactly how to engage us and entertain us during camp time.
What are you doing now and how did your earlier experiences prepare you for your current endeavors?
I am currently working as an Interventionist at Mater Academy Elementary. I am receiving an education in Psychology and hope to one day finish my Masters in order to become a school counselor. I'm also serving as Instructor for HFM's summer camp at Gloria de Dios Church in Hialeah.
Some children grow up in broken homes with broken parents and sometimes it is a teacher’s job to break those generational curses for our students and make sure we leave an impact so that they grow up to be their best. It’s a really tough job and at times can become stressful, but I honestly cannot stress enough the importance of creating positive and strong impacts in our students’ lives. Sometimes we are ALL they have.
Having positive interactions and experiences in both Hope for Miami’s programs and at school have helped mold me into who I am today, as not only a person but as a teacher/interventionist.
Alondra, your journey is encouraging to hear and we value knowing you and working together for the flourishing of our kids!