Brenda Chour Orantes graduated from Esperanza’s Community Health Promoters Training Program and is now an active leader in her community.
I am Brenda Chour, originally from Guatemala, my beloved homeland …I’ve been living for 7 years in this country. Like all immigrants, for personal reasons, I migrated to the United States. I left behind all my dreams, illusions, and most importantly, my family and my life. It was very difficult to adapt to a new land; uncertain and unknown. For a long time I tried to find a horizon that would change my life, but did not find it. During that time, I came across Hope Street Family Center, a program at California Hospital. They helped me with workshops and support for my little girl who had speech problems. There, talking to my social worker, she told me about Esperanza’s Community Health Promoters Training Program, and gave me a sheet with a phone number and said to ask for Lupe or Norma. That call changed my life… I went to get an application, went through interview process, and waited for the acceptance call. I was selected for the Promotores class 2010. Long were the six months, but very interesting and valuable teachings and trainings, self-discovery, sharing, personal development, etc…Esperanza’s Community Health Promoters Training changed my life! I was welcomed to a new family, because you really get to be part of this large family of promoters. The personal support, emotional and career development I received from Norma was invaluable. Graduation was a great experience where we receive tokens of affection and support from this new family. Upon completion of the training program began a new stage, the internship. Among the many difficult and personal moments in my life, I had the advantage that at the moment there were many people who supported me and gave me encouragement. I started my internship with the steady support of my friend Irma, also a Promotora. The Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA), sister collaborator of Esperanza was another milestone for me. The knowledge I received from Esperanza and opportunity to learn about organizations and individuals who care about the development of Promotoras to go out there to support our communities, and immigrants like us, it opened the horizon I was looking for. I received lots of support and life lessons of all staff, especially Marlom Portillo.
In February of 2011, the opportunity to apply for Best Start Metro LA came, an initiative funded by First 5. In mid-March I started working part time at Best Start LA Metro, and fifteen days later, I started another part-time in SoCal COSH. It was incredible to see so many changes occurring in my life in just one year, and it all started with a phone call to an incredible organization that helps people who love their community and gives us the opportunity to prove how valuable our work, sacrifice and much effort can go as far as one proposes! Although I still miss my country and my family, I live happy today with my husband and my two princes karolay and Sofia! I take this opportunity to thank Esperanza greatly and all the beautiful people who work there and opened their arms and gave each of us the opportunity to re-discover ourselves and changed our lives. Special thanks to Norma for being my guide and my mentor. God bless Esperanza!” ~ Brenda Chour Orantes, Community Health Promoter.