September 15 to October 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month — a time to pay tribute and celebrate the diverse histories, cultures, and contributions of the Hispanic communities in our country and worldwide.
At Bellevue LifeSpring, celebrating Hispanic Heritage is not just an annual tradition; it’s an integral part of our mission. As an organization dedicated to serving Bellevue students of all backgrounds, this month is a poignant reminder that diversity in Bellevue is a source of strength, and by celebrating it, we empower our students and future leaders to create a better Bellevue for all its children and families.
Lucy Garcia, a Bellevue LifeSpring Human Services team member, works directly with Bellevue families to help get them the assistance and support they need. Read along as Lucy shares what her Mexican heritage and culture mean to her and how it impacts her important work here at Bellevue LifeSpring.
Hi Lucy, can you share your background and what your culture means to you?
I am of Mexican origin, from a town in northern Mexico. I immigrated to Washington five years ago. My roots come from a vibrant and close-knit community where family is the most important thing. This connection to my origins, my language, my heritage, and my culture is fundamental to who I am.
First and foremost, Mexican culture places special emphasis on the importance of family and community. In our close-knit world, extended family members play a pivotal role, teaching us invaluable lessons about support, loyalty, and unity. My family is very large, and we take great care of each other. These values are not only appreciated within our own families but also extend to the community at large.
One of the most cherished aspects of Mexican culture is our hospitality and warmth, encapsulated in the phrase “mi casa es tu casa.” This tradition of open-armed hospitality inspires me to make sure that everyone I meet feels comfortable, valued, and at home, regardless of their surroundings.
The Spanish language is also clearly part of my cultural identity. It serves as both a bridge to my heritage and a means to communicate meaningfully with my family and my Latino community.
In addition, my Mexican heritage instills in me the values of hard work, resilience, and the celebration of life and death. For us, it is important to enjoy every moment, no matter how small, and this philosophy shapes my outlook on life.
Bellevue LifeSpring serves a diverse community. How does your cultural background help you connect with and understand the needs of the children and families we provide support to?
Having grown up in a Mexican household and immigrating to the United States, I have a unique perspective and experience that can be valuable in serving a diverse community like we have here in Bellevue. I understand the importance of cultural sensitivity and respect for diverse backgrounds. This knowledge helps me engage with clients from various cultural experiences in a way that is considerate of their traditions, values, and beliefs. Being fluent in Spanish allows me to bridge the language gap that might exist for some clients and their families. This ensures that clients feel heard and understood.
My own experience as an immigrant means I can empathize with the challenges and uncertainties that many of our clients may face when adjusting to a new country and culture. I can offer support and guidance based on my personal experiences.
Mexican culture places a strong emphasis on community and helping one another. This background has instilled a sense of responsibility to assist and uplift others. I can leverage this value to foster community and support within the Bellevue LifeSpring community.
Thank you, Lucy, for sharing a bit about your valuable perspectives and experiences.