Sandra Rodrigues is an academic and career counselor at Cañada College. Since 2008, Sandra has been an ally and supporter of Immigrants Rising.
Why is working with undocumented students important to you?
I feel compelled to work with these students because I have faith that they will become citizens. What better way to become productive members of society than by getting educated? My hardest working students are the undocumented students and they also tend to have higher GPAs.
How did you get connected to our organization?
It was through students I worked with that I learned about E4FC [Educators for Fair Consideration, now known as Immigrants Rising]. Students frequently told me they wouldn’t be where they were at without E4FC. I had students feeling uncertain, and then they’d attend an E4FC gathering and come back feeling empowered and energized to continue focusing on their goals.
Through the services they’re being offered at E4FC and our college, students are able to be part a community that cares for their well-being, which makes them more self-confident and assured they belong. It’s not just about disclosing their status, it’s about having hope that they’ll be able to reach their personal, educational and professional goals.
What stands out in your mind when you think of our organization?
The support system and the network. It’s impressive how many students in the organization want to help others in finding scholarships rather than feeling competitive towards one another. One student I know had lost her housing. Within the E4FC community, someone was able to help her out. Also, there’s the networking the students get by meeting other students and working with Kathy Gin. Students who work with Kathy think very highly of her—she cares and goes out of her way to help each person.
Do you have a message to share with others involved in our organization?
E4FC is a tremendous support for our community throughout the Bay Area. The organization spends the time to empower and encourage undocumented students to keep going. And that’s a big deal. It shows in the successes students have with graduating college and finding jobs.
That’s why I gave more this year, because of some students I know who are doing well now. The students I’ve worked with, who’ve been involved with E4FC, still volunteer for the organization, even when they aren’t students anymore.