Tanya Alfonso: Houseparent Trainer
When I look into our students’ eyes, I see a reflection of me from when I was their age. Even though I did not attend MHS, by all accounts I would have met the qualifications to enroll in the school, had my mother known about it and the opportunities it affords.
Having begun my journey at MHS in 2003 as a houseparent of middle school girls, for nine years I had a deep sense of connection with our students. Middle school is a difficult age developmentally, and I wanted to be that someone to tell them that it is going to be OK.
I always stressed the importance of focusing on why they are at MHS and to take advantage of the opportunities here. Having said that, I began to think about opportunities the school has given me as an employee.
My life path did not include going to college right out of high school. I had always wanted a better life for myself than what I had witnessed my mother go through as a single mom raising three kids. College was something I wanted to do but could not afford. Raising a family became my top priority, and to do this I had to put off school and go out into the workplace. Years went by, but my heart still wanted to seek higher education. I did not actively look into going back to school until after I changed careers and became a houseparent at MHS and began encouraging the value of an education to the students.
Putting my money where my mouth is, I took advantage of the school’s tuition reimbursement policies and enrolled at Eastern University. Throughout the years while caring for our students, I was able to receive my bachelor’s degree in 2011. Having accomplished that long sought after goal, I began think about obtaining a master’s degree. I am happy to say that as of April 2015, I successfully completed my studies and earned a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership. I owe this all to MHS. I share these accomplishments with students as often as I can. I know the struggles they face, but with relentless perseverance through adversity, they too can reap all the benefits that MHS has to offer.
I will be eternally grateful to MHS for funding my lifelong dream and I want all of our promising students to know that they too can overcome any obstacle if they just stay focused, listen and pursue their dreams.