Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 - October 15! In accordance with this celebration, Goodwill recognizes current staff across our organization with Hispanic heritage. Marina Plata has served as a Life Coach at (Meadows) for nine months. Marina has an extensive background in Spanish and International Studies and celebrates this month each year as an opportunity to display how the Hispanic culture has and continues to impact the United States. Marina’s students describe her as knowledgeable, empathetic and a great listener. Read on to learn more about Marina and her heritage!
What does Hispanic Heritage Mean to you?
Marina: Hispanic Heritage means a lot to me. It is a time where us Latinx can truly be acknowledged, celebrated, and given a chance to demonstrate how our culture has impacted the U.S specifically. During this month, I see more representation and community engagement and outreach, whereas I feel it gets easily overlooked at other times of the year. I look forward to Hispanic Heritage Month every year to find new resources and events to support myself, my family, and the community around me.
What is your favorite part of working at Goodwill’s Excel Center, our free high school for adults and older youth?
Marina: My favorite part of being at The Excel Center is to see the difference you can make in a person’s day. Sometimes, I’m able to provide long-term solutions to the student’s barriers and sometimes it may be short-term solutions. No matter the situation, I take pride in knowing I’ve made someone feel happier that day. I’ve made them feel safe, calm, confident, and hopefully inspired. It is a joy to uplift others and to show them that they are amazing human beings who are capable of anything they put their mind to.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
Marina: The most challenging part of my work is knowing that I’m not able to provide support for my students 100% of the time. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not always be available, it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay that all tasks aren’t always going to be done. However, what I can do is simply give my best effort each day to make the most progress I can. There will always be room for growth, and it’s important to have a work/life balance.
Why is it important that we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
Marina: It is important for everyone to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month because the land the United States was founded on was ours. Before the late 1800’s, Mexico stretched to most of the United State’s southwest territory. As the story goes, we lost our land, lost our rights, lost our voices, and were forced into survival mode. Mexicans and other Latinx/Hispanic cultures did not speak Spanish originally. We are indigenous peoples of the continent of America with a vast cultural diversity. But our influence, resilience, and hope did not die with our ancestors. They continue to flourish and find their way into creating something beautiful. A place and a time where, now, we can live in co-existence with this idea of “an American Dream,” where we can have the freedom and opportunities to live our lives as we please.
Goodwill would like to thank Marina for her contribution to our mission of changing lives every day through health, education and employment! She joins over 360 other amazing Goodwill education professionals across central and southern Indiana in our schools. To learn more, visit goodwillindy.org/education.