Name: Lesley Del Rio
Organization: Mi Casa Resource Center and AdvanceEDU student
Title: Career Pathway Trainer at Mi Casa Resource Center
Community work (board service, volunteering, mentoring, etc.): Co-Chair. for Denver Health Community Advisory Panel. Parent Advisor for Ascend at the Aspen Institute Postsecondary Parent Initiative. COLORISTA with COLOR (Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights).
The Why: Why do you do what you do/ why are you passionate about your work in our community?
I am passionate about serving my community because my son and I have received support, care and opportunities from many community organizations that have helped in my journey. From learning how to speak English as a club member at the Boys and Girls Clubs, receiving unparalleled support as a young mother at Florence Crittenton to now achieving my postsecondary dream and earning my Associates Degree with AdvanceEdu, I feel as though serving my community is a way to give back and uplift people like I have been. I have had the pleasure of working alongside and gaining knowledge and wisdom from amazing women in the community that I would have not be exposed to otherwise. I have been influenced by trailblazers in the Denver community to keep doing the work to continue to see our people flourish and thrive.
What is one of your biggest challenges that you have overcame, and how did you overcome it? One of my biggest challenges has been to stay motivated and ready to receive opportunities for growth and betterment. As a single mother, I have had times where I feel like I should be prioritizing the increase of income instead of pursuing my education. With the help and support I’ve received from the team at AdvanceEdu and others in my network, I have been able to earn my degree, share my story with others, keep growing in my career all while providing a quality life for my son Leo.
What is your personal motto? My personal motto is, “Focus on your own timeline”. I say this because there have been so many times that I have questioned whether I am doing things at the right time. I wonder if it’s too late for me or if I should do what others are doing, but reminding myself that I am on my own timeline has helped me keep focused on my own goals. This also helps me feel accomplished even though my timeframe might not be traditional or even conventional, I am still moving upward and progressing no matter the speed.
Advice for others in business based on what you have learned on your journey: I am not a business owner….yet , but a piece of advice I have to offer is that you have the power to change your narrative. Although there are many circumstances and experiences that shape our outlook and life, every step that is taken towards achieving your goals is monumental, not only to your narrative, but for the generations that follow. Making an investment in yourself, your education, physical health, mental well-being and happiness are as important as anything else. Investing in yourself holistically matters and is a way to change and shift the narrative.
What are you most proud of from the last year? I have a lot to be thankful for in the past year. My family and friends stayed healthy throughout the pandemic and that is something that brings me much joy. This year, I became a homeowner and became a part of the Mi Casa Resource Center community which brings me a great sense of pride, but I am most proud of earning my Associates Degree!