1. Tell us about yourself.
I am Vanessa Medrano and I have called El Paso home for all of my life, even when I left town for school. I have a BSA in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Psychology. I moved back to El Paso toward the beginning of 2020 and decided it was time to contribute to community that has contributed so much to my own growth.
2. Give us a description of what you do for United Way.
My title is officially called Community Education & Career Coordinator VISTA. It is a bit of a mouthful but basically, I work with our Parents as Teachers (PAT) program by specifically working with Resource Navigators and our PAT advisory committee to improve our program’s experience, effectiveness, and benefits for families that enroll in PAT here.
3. Why is this work so important to our community?
As my education and life experiences have shown me, the first relationships and lessons we experience in life stick with us in a way that continues to affect not only us as individuals but the people we interact with and our future generations. By helping make our program enhance the health education we provide for families and their family member’s efficacy, we can continue creating an even brighter future for these amazing parents and their children.
4. What is the most surprising thing you have learned about the community and yourself in your time at United Way?
I think that what has surprised me the most is that while El Paso and our surrounding communities may experience an intensification of issues our country and world faces, there is a multitude of individuals and movements working to effectively and permanently uplift our region and neighbors.
5. Share a quote that motivates you as a person and as a member of the United Way team.
This quote is a summary of a quote from the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead:
“Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. Broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.”
— Ira Byock, The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life (Avery, 2012)