I am proud to introduce you to the Gutierrez family, who emigrated to this country in 1986 from Tacatzcuaro in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. Their suitcases were loaded with big dreams, but also, they were very eager to work hard to achieve them.
Don Jorge and Doña Rosa Gutierrez are the parents of 5 beautiful daughters, now all of legal age who are strong hard working women. Their daughter Cristal is the oldest; she studied cosmetology and enjoys her career choice. She works hard to help her family. Adriana is the second oldest; she graduated from high school and has helped her parents run an ice cream shop, which is the family business. Their daughter Andrea majored in accounting and graduated from University of California Riverside in 2019. She is currently working on her Masters and expects to finish in 2022. Esmeralda is the second youngest daughter, and this year has graduated from Cal State of San Bernardino, earning a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and Business Administration. Rosalina is the youngest of all and graduated from MLK High School Riverside this year. She plans to continue her studies at Riverside Community College, we wish her the best!
Andrea is a first-generation college alumni and has motivated her younger sisters to pursue higher education. Their family is exemplary, they are always united and support each other.
When speaking with Doña Rosa and Don Jorge, I asked them this question; How does it feel to have achieved your dreams? With all humility, Don Jorge replied, “I feel great pride for my daughters and inexplicable happiness seeing my family fulfill our dreams, despite all the difficulties we have gone through and I thank God for allowing me to see the results of so much effort.”
I asked Doña Rosa the same question and she answered, “I am grateful to God for allowing me to see my daughters graduate and fulfill their dreams; which were also my dreams.” Doña Rosa told me that she would have liked to continue her studies while in Mexico; she loved school. But unfortunately, her family did not have the financial means to support her. After trying to get ahead in Mexico and realizing that it was very difficult for them, that was when they decided to come to this country and start from scratch.
Don Jorge dedicated his time to work to support his family and also looking after them. He’s a hard working man who has always wanted the very best for his wife and daughters. He was able to get their franchise ice cream shop opened, something he worked very hard to accomplish.
Doña Rosa was the one who was in charge of taking care of her five daughters at home. She was involved in their daughters’ education and selected the schools they attended, attended all parent meetings, and stayed on top of their grades and extracurricular activities. She is a mother who has liked to help her daughters with tasks and projects. Since there is not much of a difference in age between them, there was almost always a project to start and another to finish.
Doña Rosa never hesitated to reach out to her daughters’ teachers, counselors, and school staff when they needed support at school; she was always present to advocate for them. There were times where her daughters needed emotional support and she never let language be a barrier to find the support her daughters needed.
In every family there are difficulties and obstacles to face, but together they have always known how to handle things well. Doña Rosa commented (with tears in her eyes) that on many occasions she and her husband saw their daughter Esmeralda spend entire nights studying and doing homework. She said many times they stayed to accompany her, and there were moments where they had to share tears of frustration, stress, and fatigue from so much study and work. Esmeralda had 2 jobs and was a full-time student, and there were many times she did not get enough sleep. She had problems with one of her jobs because they assigned her a schedule that did not work, because school and her studies were her priority. That employer did not understand. She said goodbye to them with dignity. Esmeralda is now grateful that employer said “no” to the time off she needed for school. Thanks to that “no” she was able to put them in the past and focus on her future and her career.
We know that 2020 was a very difficult year for everyone; Covid 19 brought challenges for this family too. Their family business was closed and money was very tight. Esmeralda was in her last year of college and knowing her family was struggling financially was very stressful. She needed financial support to cover books and other school expenses. Doña Rosa remembers seeing her daughter, desperate and anguished about their financial state. Esmeralda, understanding what her parents were going through, did not want to worry them even more, and thought about putting her career on hold until their situation improved.
When her parents found out what Esmeralda was planning to do, they did not allow it. United, they made adjustments in their finances and managed to move forward with a plan. When I say united, I mean all the sisters worked and pitched in to pay what Esmeralda needed at that time and supported her.
Now that things after the pandemic are returning to normal, they have been able to reopen their ice cream shop where the five sisters work. All the daughters rotate shifts and help each other out with school and family responsibilities.
The three words that I use to define this family are Unity, Perseverance, and Success. Gutierrez Family, congratulations on your success and for the legacy you are building for your future generations.
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