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Sandra Perez said that participating in Centro's Nuevo Dia program helped her communicate better with her daughters. The following are the answers she gave us to some questions about her experience in the program.
CDLFU: Tell us about your experience in Nuevo Dia.
SP: I liked it very much. We were a group (of mothers) who bonded. I think we cared about each other. We all had the same objectives to learn about the themes that the instructors presented and to help our daughters, which was why we were in that class.
CDLFU: What kind of subjects did you learn about?
SP: There were very interesting themes such as family abuse, mental abuse or emotional abuse, also physical abuse toward our children, which sometimes we don’t realize it’s abuse, but we still do it. We learned about cancer, which I thought was great. They gave us the opportunity to learn where to seek help, and that those who don’t have health insurance can get it for free. We often don’t know that there are resources and we don’t look for help because we don’t have the money or the right information.
CDLFU: How did it help you as a mother?
SP: It opened my eyes; it opened my mind. I now think twice, especially when I’m disciplining my daughters. I think, breathe, and I try to make them understand how I feel and the reason why I’m grounding them or being strict. And I think that this way they understand and react in a more positive way to any objective I might have for them.
CDLFU: Did you notice any changes in your daughter?
SP: Dana has always been a social girl. She likes to have friends. But she and my other daughters are mixed – they’re not only Mexican, but they’re also Polynesian, and white – and it is hard to find friends who have the same curiosities, the same type of problems, or whom they can identify with. And that’s what I liked, I saw her interacting with the other girls and that is very important because that’s how she will develop better in society. Dana has changed considerably and positively.
CDLFU: How has your relationship with your daughter changed?
SP: I am closer to her. I try to have a transparent relationship with her so that she can tell me things even if she thinks she will get in trouble or knows I won’t like what she will tell me. So, it’s about spending time with her, spending time just with her, the oldest, because when you have several kids, it is hard to have one-on-one time with each. And that is what I always try to do, so they know that although they have sisters, they are a priority to us as individuals.
CDLFU: What would you say to a mother who is thinking about being part of the Nuevo Dia program?
SP: I would tell her to try it; that it is good to know that our community has resources and a program that takes care of our girls, who are this country’s future. And the program will be very helpful for her as a mother. Of course, the results depend on us as individuals.