When Liz Limones, a 2008 graduate of St. Mary’s College of California, was on the plane heading east to Rhode Island to begin her 2 year placement as a Lasallian Volunteer, the thought of moving across the country was the hardest part.
“I come from a very close knit family and moving was hard for me to fathom. I remember crying on the plane to Rhode Island just thinking how I was going to make it without my family and friends,” said Liz. 23 years old, Liz was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and raised in San Jose, California, after immigrating to the US in 1988 with her parents and her three siblings.
Growing up her parents always instilled the idea of college in her but it seemed remote and only “an idea”. Nobody in her family had ever been to college so it was more of a dream than anything else.
After working her way through high school, Liz decided to attend St. Mary’s in Moraga. There in the small classes Liz got the close attention and recognition she sought from her professors. “I can honestly say that I am very proud of where I come from and the education I received from college and from my parents,” continued Liz.
Now Liz is giving back by serving as a Lasallian Volunteer with the Tides Family Services program which assists nearly 500 youth and their families in Providence, Pawtucket-Central Falls, and Kent County, Rhode Island. Her job is School Social Worker at the Tides facility located in the inner city of Providence. She provides skill development assistance for at risk students and delivers counseling services to the youngsters.
“Working for Tides has made me strong. Working with at risk youth has brought a complete new level of respect for kids who learn to survive on their own,” remarked Liz. “Many of my kids have been through Training School, homelessness, street violence, and still get up and go to work,” she added.
“The fact that Liz is bilingual in English and Spanish is really an asset,” observed Brother Michael Reis, the Founder and President of Tides Family Services.
“She’s a remarkable young lady,” commented Virginia Schuttert, Director of Education and Principle for the Tides School in Providence. “Liz has a sparkling personality, but in a quiet, reserved way.”
As Liz’s direct supervisor, Schuttert has seen first-hand Liz’s thirst to learn and to serve.
“When Liz first arrived in Rhode Island, she told me she wanted to work a long day, and learn as much as possible, and that’s exactly what she does.” Schuttert described Liz as an easy person to connect with, especially for Tides students and clients. “The kids absolutely love her, and she is so dedicated to working with her clients, whether it’s tutoring or transporting them home.”
As for the future, Liz hopes to study immigration law so that she can continue to help those in need.