Fall 2005

The CTC VISTA Project Profiles:
My Work in Rural Washington State

Amanda Lasik (right) at La Casa Hogar
My work at La Casa Hogar has affected me deeply on a personal level. I now have a much greater understanding of immigration and the real, complex issues that immigrants in the United States face. I will never really understand what it is like to live in a country where I don't speak the language, don't understand the laws, and work at a difficult job just to make ends meet. However, I can say that simply by listening to their amazing stories, I gained a better understanding of the motivation that led these families to the United States.

The students of La Casa Hogar and I have very little in common. They have trouble understanding my independent spirit, why I am working at this organization as a volunteer, or why I am unmarried and have no kids. In turn, I have trouble understanding why they cannot go anywhere without their kids, and why anyone would focus that much energy and effort on cooking. But something about the atmosphere of La Casa Hogar allows people to breakdown barriers created by background, money, and language. I saw within the women of La Casa Hogar a deep love for their families and a desire to make their lives better.

Luz Monroy, Data Management Coordinator, Bookkeeper, and former student said the following, "...in La Casa Hogar, I have found my family, my home...that place that always has open doors, in which we can find refuge and feel safe, where nothing can harm us because among family, there is a bond of love that keeps us together."

My new "family" provided me with new perspective on my life and made me think about what is really important. I think that many Americans could learn a lesson from the Mexican culture about what it really means to be a family. Mexican families in the United States face many barriers—language, income, cultural assimilation vs. maintaining heritage, but beneath all of that is a closeness that keeps families together through thick and thin. 

My VISTA year provided me with the opportunity to branch out and meet people I never would've met otherwise. My heart has been touched many times over by the women of La Casa Hogar and the strength of their spirits. 

Amanda Lasik served as a CTC VISTA at La Casa Hogar (WA) last year.  This essay is from Amanda's July 28, 2005 VISTA weblog. CTC VISTA Project weblogs were instituted by the Project in the Fall of 2004.


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