Head Start Success Story – Maria Nelly Martinez

Maria MartinezMy name is Maria Nelly Martinez. I have been a migrant all my life. I have traveled to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nebraska and Texas. We traveled state to state in search of agriculture work. Being a migrant I had to juggle work and school, in the summer were long days of working in the sun followed by homework packets given to us by summer school teachers. My parents tried their best to give us the best education they could but sometimes they needed our help working in the fields. All of my childhood was spent juggling work with my education. Freshman year my parent and I made the decision that I would drop out of school because I felt I needed to help my parents more. At such young age it was so hard to juggle work and my education. Jumping from state to state meant jumping from school to school. It wasn’t a problem when I was younger because I was allowed to catchup with homework when I couldn’t be present in school, but once I got to my freshman year I needed to be present in school so my grades would count and being a migrant that was not possible. After dropping out as a freshman I dedicated my extra time to working towards my GED. I am proud to say that after only three and a half short but difficult months I was able to obtain it. This for me was an extremely proud moment because the lack of education presented difficulties in me learning the material I needed to complete my GED. Three years down the road I met the love of my life and we decided to get married. My husband was able to obtain work in a place that would allow for us to put our migrating years behind us and plant roots for our family. His employment took him away from what mattered most his family. This brought forth more struggles and hardships than anticipated so in 2015 as a family we decided that we would yet again pack up our belongings and migrate with the hopes of finding work that would allow us to make a living but keep our family united. We found work harvesting potatoes and sugar beets. In 2016 we came back to North Dakota. When I first arrived I was referred to Tri- Valley by the local MET program in Grafton. I put in my application for work as an RFA because I wanted to be able to help migrant families get much needed help and make a difference in their children, just like someone did when they told my parents about the program that I went to in Cavalier , ND. Summer school as I called it was such a great experience for me, not only did it give my parents the peace of mind knowing that I would be safe when they were working but I was able to make friends and learn from my teachers. This is now my 2nd season working for Tri- Valley and I love it, I am making a difference in the lives of migrant families and their children. I am currently working on completing the family service credential so that I can better serve the families in our program. I plan to further my education in the social service field. This will not only allow me to better myself professionally, it will also make me grow as a person so that I can better provide for my family. Thanks to Tri-Valley for the training and experience, they have given me up until now.