Buckelew News

Celebrating the Uncelebrated Award for Misleidys Mendoza

posted: Friday, May 01, 2015

We are so proud of Family Service Agency Marin's staff member, Misleidys Mendoza, who was honored at the Celebrating the Uncelebrated awards dinner on May 14th at the Embassy Suites in San Rafael.

Misleidys (on right) with FSA Director Margaret Hallett and Buckelew's Executive Director, Steve Eckert, LCSW.

Misleidys' story is one of hope and courage.  Misleidys was pregnant when she left Cuba with her husband and came to Marin. Adjustment to a new country was difficult.  She didn’t know English, felt isolated and suffered from post partum depression after the birth of her son.  Three years later, she separated from her husband and her three-year-old son was out of control at home and school. “I was angry at him all the time, so frustrated that  all I did was yell at him,” Misleidys says. “I was alone and I didn’t know what to do.”

She was referred to Family Service Agency and accepted help from the Parent Aide Home Visitor, with whom she found support and understanding.  The Parent Aide invited her to join  Groupo Esperenza,  for Spanish speaking mothers who were depressed and isolated. With the help of a therapist, at FSA, she and her husband soon reunited and they began Parent Child Interaction Therapy.   In PCIT sessions they learned how to engage their son in play and discipline him positively.  The Parent Aide helped her to enroll in English college classes. Her life slowly came back together.

Misleidys became an active member in the Spanish Speaking Mothers Group.  She took an interest in the other women and reached out to them in meaningful ways as a mentor and friend.  To encourage their attendance, she volunteered to provide transportation and to care for older siblings.

Misleidys’ courage, strength of character and desire to give back and to help other immigrant families motivated her to support pregnant and postpartum families in need.  When FSA’s Parent Aide position became available, Misleidys was hired.  For the past 4 years she has worked tirelessly and has helped over 200 mothers and families.  She provides transportation to crucial medical appointments for pregnant mothers to ensure good prenatal care, she stands by the side of parents when their new born is in intensive care, she introduces new immigrants to their community and encourages them to get the help they need, she provides education on parenting skills and infant care, she is an empathic listener and helps mothers problem solve their difficulties. She now facilitates Group Esperenza, the weekly gathering where Spanish speaking mothers can come together and help each other to feel less lonely, isolated and confused.  

Misleidys’ experience was not very different from the women and families she works with.  Because of this they can easily trust her and she becomes a mentor and role model for them. She has managed to overcome great personal  obstacles to reunite her own family and now help others in need.  To be able to grow from becoming a client to a provider takes a commendable amount  of courage, commitment and passion.  These are all the qualities that she has in abundance.  Thank you Misleidys for your tireless work with parents and children in the Hispanic community.  

Celebrating the Uncelebrated Award for Misleidys Mendoza