Amanda is the Human Resources Generalist for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. She has been with the movement for almost 13 years. Amanda worked her way up within the organization as a part-timer, then as an Assistant Director, and eventually as Club Director before ending up in her current role.
Can you share a bit about your background and family history?
My parents and I were all born and raised in Dallas. My great-grandparents and grandparents are from Tampico, a small town in Mexico. They came to the United States and planted their roots in Brownsville, Texas, leaving Mexico with nothing but their vehicle and the clothes on their backs. My grandfather didn’t speak any English when they came to Brownsville and had nowhere to go. They had two boys while in Brownsville and they decided to go to Dallas for a better opportunity.
They were at a park and my grandmother was crying. A woman sees her crying and approaches her. The woman ends up taking them to the Salvation Army offering shelter for the mother and children while Amanda’s grandfather slept in their car outside of the shelter.
The Salvation Army helped him get a job with the City of Dallas as a park keeper where he worked for 30 years and retired from the City of Dallas.
Are there any Hispanic role models or figures who have inspired you in your personal or professional life?
My mother is my role model. Although a common answer, she was a young mother at 16 but she always kept sight of her priorities. One day after having me she went right back to school and worked a part-time job. She graduated and then made a career in payroll and benefits at Austin Industries. She worked there for years and is still working in HR today.
How have your cultural roots influenced your career path or educational pursuits?
My heritage has impacted my work ethic. I see how people of Hispanic heritage work, especially when they come here as immigrants. I see families getting things done for what their families needed. They see it as a whole different playing field when they come here.
Are there any specific cultural traditions or customs from your heritage that you continue to celebrate or practice today?
Posadas! It is when you do a ceremonial prayer and sing with the rosary. They lift a baby Jesus figure from a manger. The whole family comes together at my grandmother’s. All the children also participate. Traditionally, it is a whole gathering of different community members like deacons, neighbors, and more. It takes place from December 16 – December 24. Some even go door to door throughout this time and sing in their neighborhoods.
Can you share a favorite Hispanic dish or recipe that holds special significance for you or your family?
Posole! My dad oversees cooking it every year and he only does it once a year.
What advice would you give to current Boys & Girls Clubs members about embracing and celebrating their own cultural heritage?
Accept who you are. Do not ever be embarrassed in any way. You should be proud of all your accomplishments and burdens that have made you who you are.
Why is it important to be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month?
It is important to understand where we come from and what it means to be of Hispanic descent. Embrace your culture. Understanding the importance of our history and those who have paved .
Fun Fact: Amanda is the only grandchild in her family that speaks Spanish!