Each month, VBR shines a spotlight on a current participant or a graduate of Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement. VIDA’s mission is to simultaneously address the need for skilled works in the Valley while preparing unemployed and underemployed residents for high-skill, high-wage jobs. This month, the spotlight is on Maria Delgado. The story is written in her words just prior to her graduation in December 2020, which will provide her with a more promising VIDA.
My name is Maria Delgado. I am a 55-year-old female who was just released from the custody of the Bureau of Prisons in May 2020. The last six months of my 188-month imprisonment, I resided at the GEO Group Inc. mid-Valley house in Edinburg. They help individuals like me transition back into society. I served 13 years and three months, and I am currently under supervised release.
I tried to find a job; however, I had not worked in over 13 years; therefore, I couldn’t find one. My case manager at the halfway house and I set forth a plan. I was very skeptical about going back to college because I had attended college in 1986, 33 years ago. Nonetheless, I enrolled in South Texas College, where I am attempting to acquire a certificate as a legal office specialist.
I found VIDA, and I can honestly say that through their support, I have accomplished several things. When COVID-19 shut down the schools, I was unemployed and had no money to purchase the supplies I needed to continue my studies. VIDA provided me with the resources I needed to continue my courses. I hold a 3.75 grade-point average and am currently attending fall 2020 classes, graduating this semester.
I reiterate that I was released from the halfway house May 1, 2020. I had to file for the SNAP program, which is helping me with my food. I also qualified for the Hidalgo County Indigent Program for my health care because I was homeless until March 27 until a friend offered me her home. I just started a part-time job two weeks ago because my next goal is to purchase a car. VIDA’s financial support is greatly appreciated and is super mega helpful to those who really need a boost to accomplish goals for a successful future.
I have come a long way and yet I have many more miles to go. VIDA’s support has made my journey a lot easier. I thank God for programs such as VIDA that help us succeed. Thank you very much for your support.