Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Ofelia has lived in Texas for the past 17 years. When her mother-in-law moved in with her family, they needed more space. So the group moved from Irving to West Dallas, where larger accommodations are more affordable. Ofelia has been involved with The Academy for Adult Education since 2008, when a friend invited her to a community meeting held at Wesley-Rankin. As she tells it, Ofelia has undergone a transformation since getting involved with Wesley-Rankin.
Q: What is your first memory of The Academy?
A: There are so many! [Dallas Police Officer] Carlos Cruz! His class Think About It was so interesting because it explained how to prevent drug use and dangerous use of technology for teenagers. My son had just begun using a cell phone, so this was very relevant to my concerns at the time.
Q: What made you want to keep coming to Academy classes?
A: In the first meeting, they talked about bettering the lives of children, of the community. We talked about being involved with the schools our children attend to provide better services and education. And we talked about creating a better environment for all of us.
Q: How has your experience with The Leadership Council affected you?
A: I’m able to communicate with more people more frequently and spend time with other women. It has given me the opportunity to be more responsible, especially in overseeing the uniform store. I have a lot of pride and joy in being able to tell my husband stories about my time working to raise scholarship money.
Q: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I used to be very tense and angry, but I have changed a lot. I’m more happy now; I’m more happy after coming here. I love the parties and the opportunity to spend time with women from my community.
Q: What do you wish other people knew about Wesley-Rankin?
A: I would inform them that Wesley-Rankin helps educate the entire family, not just the children. There is so much offered to the community, valuable advice and information for all ages. And the conversation goes both ways. For instance, I want Wesley-Rankin to offer programming which addresses how to stop bullying. As a member of the Leadership Council, this is something that I can make happen.
Q: If you could change one thing about The Academy, what would it be?
A: [She pauses and visualizes.] Carlos Cruz, no! La Cocina Allegre, no! I wouldn’t change anything!