Meet Ana, a farmworker single mother of three, who over the years visited the Immokalee office of the Farmworkers Association of Florida (FWAF) with workplace-related questions. We were always happy to inform her about her rights. Recently we were in for a big surprise!
Ana frequently came to the FWAF Immokalee office asking questions for other farmworkers or for herself about worker’s rights. A few times she visited because the farmwork had decreased. On those occasions, we assisted with the rent. Sometimes we wouldn’t see her for a while, as she traveled North with her three children looking for more farmwork during the summer. When she returned, she would spend long hours working and still come to an Immokalee community meeting – the information she learned was that important to her.
A mother’s dream
Like all parents, Ana wanted her children to work hard and do well in school. But she hoped for something more. She had dreamt of being a social worker herself and hoped her children would follow that dream. So it happened that when a new position opened up at the FWAF Immokalee office, she encouraged her youngest daughter to apply.
What a great surprise it was to us to find out that our newly hired organizer Olivia Perez was actually Ana’s youngest daughter! Olivia Perez: “Having seen the struggles my mother went through when we were growing up, her words about her dreams resonated with me. When she told me about this position opening up at FWAF, it did not take me long to decide to apply. I’ve always been the most compassionate of my siblings.”
“Once receiving assistance, now helping others”
With her daughter now being part of FWAF we get to see Ana more than ever. She is very involved in the community. When asked about her new position as organizer Olivia said: ”I applied because I wanted to know more so I could help my mother and the other farmworkers. In the past few months I have learned so much about what we can do to support the community. I was once receiving assistance from FWAF and now I am the one giving help to others!”