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Best Start East LA-First 5 Success Story Spotlight: MERY CORTES

Mery is a resident leader with the Parks and Open Spaces Committee. She resides in East Los Angeles with her partner and two children, her six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.

She had been participating as a parent volunteer at the Amanecer Primary Center in East Los Angeles for the past couple of years. Her son started Pre-Kindergarten there and she has followed him up through his first year of Kindergarten.

She learned a lot about the importance of being involved in those primary years in her son’s education. The principal at Amanecer was extremely helpful in getting her involved.

It was at Amanecer that Mery was first invited to the "Academia de Padres" that was being facilitated by Promesa Boyle Heights. Mery was excited about learning more and expressed that she had gained leadership skills and confidence.

She also obtained more information about the 0-5year period in her children's development as being a crucial phase in setting her children up for success.

After graduating from the Academia, Mery joined the Parks and Open Space Committee (POSC) because she sees the importance of the role parks and open space play in a child’s learning. The first POSC meeting that she attended was held at her son’s school. Now, she goes to all of the POSC meetings held across the street from her home at Salazar Park.

She is eager to learn if the work in the POSC will lead to some parks improvements to Salazar, but expressed that she now takes her kids to the park more often.

Recently, Mery graduated from the Hand in Hand parent training. She stated that the seminars really helped her connect more positively with both of her kids. Especially with her three-year-old, Mery says:

“What I learned, is that a baby’s brain which is still developing is not set with the skills of control, and when my baby girl starts crying, I kneel down to her and communicate in a soft tone that I am there for her. I used to raise my voice, but now I never do that. The knowledge has changed my life forever and I know that my kids are more connected with me. It is a great feeling.”

Mery shared that she will continue to build upon her leadership skills and hopes to share her knowledge with other parents in her neighborhood.

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