Rocketship Discovery Prep Inspired Me to Lead Outside of My Children’s School

At Rocketship Discovery Prep, where my two daughters attended elementary school, there were two parent organizers with whom I had the pleasure of working, Diana Lambrecht and Alicia Ross. I learned how to do many things from them, but most of all, I learned what it meant to be an organizer and a parent leader. I want to share how I put into practice the leadership that I learned at my daughter’s school.

I always parked two or three streets away before arriving at my daughters’ school to walk and get in some exercise but also to explore the neighborhood. After walking daily for three years, I adopted this neighborhood as if it were my own. Unfortunately, I realized that my community needed a lot of help, like street cleaning, more security, and a crosswalk for children who walk to school. This neighborhood also needed someone to bring resources to help people living in that community. 

With everything that I learned from Diana and Alicia, I decided to start a petition with signatures and with a lot of effort, the city gave us our crosswalk. Then we met with the local councilor, Raúl Peralez, and at that meeting, his assistant, Patricia Ceja, advised me and gave me the idea of ​​forming a neighborhood association. This idea coincided with what I planned to bring to the community!

At first, I thought it was going to be very difficult, and I didn’t have the time to dedicate to it. After awhile, I decided to start the neighborhood association. 

Fortunately, I found Angel Martinez, who worked for the councilman. Angel is a young man who is passionate about helping people, especially the communities that need it most. I decided to talk to him about the possibility of having a neighborhood association, and I soon had his support.

I contacted some moms and neighbors in the area, Ivette Mora, María Lorena Aguilera, and their daughter, and together we made a plan on how to involve the other neighbors. We walked through the community and handed out brochures to convene a meeting to see what the needs were. The school had a significant role in supporting these efforts as well, and the principal lent us classrooms to have our meetings. 

Finally, the Wooster Neighborhood Association was founded by parents and neighbors in 2016, and we are officially celebrating three years!

We have achieved so much, even if it seems like a little:

  1. Street cleanings, and every time we have these cleanings, we also involve the children from the school and their families. They’ll learn from a young age to keep their community clean. 
  2. We have meetings every month to plan and bring resources to the community.
  3. We have achieved relationships with the police department, Comm University, Caltrans, Siren, Valley Transportation Authority, Crime Stoppers in San Jose, and Karina Crime Prevention.
  4. We have the support of Senator Jim Beall’s office, Sandra Murillo from the mayor’s office in San José, Lilia Sandoval from district three in Raúl Peralez’s office, and Rocketship Discovery Prep, who has undoubtedly supported us so much from the beginning.
  5. We also have a sponsor with Advantage Homes who always support us, and we’re looking for more sponsors to continue contributing and helping the community.

I want to thank all the neighbors, we’re already celebrating another year, and we have all worked very hard to achieve all of this, it’s such a beautiful experience to know your neighbors and work together to improve your community. I want to recognize: Ramona, Dommy, Isabel, Lupe, Benjamin, Rocio, Benjamin, Rosita, Yvette Mora, Cirilo, Maria, and Brianna Mora.

If someone wants to create a neighborhood association, I would like to make some recommendations before you start it.

  • Identify all the problems your community has and think about possible solutions and up to what point you can help.
  • Find responsible neighbors with the desire to help your community.
  • Make an appointment with your area representative (councilor).
  • Have a place, day, and schedule that works for all members of the community to continue having meetings and planning.

As a mother and leader of Rocketship Discovery prep, we don’t only have to do things within the school. Everything we learn can be put into practice in our communities and follow the school’s creed. I am a Rocketeer in my school, my home, and my community.

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Eva Heredia

Eva Heredia

Eva is a parent leader at Rocketship Discovery Prep and at KIPP Heritage Academy in East Side San Jose. She currently lives in San Jose California with her two beautiful daughters and her husband. She was born in Mexico City in 1976 but also considers Oaxaca as her home because of her mother. She began her leadership at Rocketship Discovery Prep four years ago. She learned that there was so much ore that she could do as a parent beyond volunteering in her children’s classroom. Eva became fully aware of the political involvement a parent must act on. She has experience and extensive knowledge about public officials, school board members and school administrators who play an important role in public education in East Side San Jose. Besides being a champion for high quality education and choice, she also helped build the Wooster Neighborhood Association in her community. She is the voice for her children, students and her community. She is a huge supporter for parent engagement, choice and access to higher education.

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