Nathaly Trinidad Flores, 2022 SAF intern
SC Migrant Education Program
Being confident in your work and intentions is a mindset I quickly had to adopt once starting to work with the South Carolina Migrant Education Program. This confidence helps make the message and services we are trying to provide more valuable and enriching to farmworkers. In the early days of my internship, it was incredibly intimidating to walk up to workers and start to share our “elevator pitch”. The reason being that I am a stranger going into either their home or interrupting their personal time to ask them personal questions. There can definitely be forms of distrust or at its best, a hesitancy to speak to us. Therefore in those first couple of minutes that I have their attention, I have to build trust through an open dialogue where I can learn about their qualifications for the program but most importantly make them feel comfortable and let them know we can be a connective resource while they are in South Carolina. That is where my knowledge of the program and my confidence in my role as an intern has to to be strong in order to accomplish this all in a timely manner.
The South Carolina Migrant Education Program provides for migrant farmworker families and youth. The summer is especially an important time because youth are coming to work for the season and families have more time because school is out. Our day-to-day is spent driving around South Carolina to provide different services to our students. It might be English classes, goal setting, peer mentoring, spreading information about important events, etc. As we drive around, we are also in recruitment mode to enroll students to provide these services to everyone that is eligible. Because of this when we see a bus with farmworkers we have to introduce ourselves to see if they are new arrivals that can be enrolled. The picture above is when we enrolled 3 students in their bus in a Walmart parking lot and then went to their camp to teach a class to about 20 farmworkers. Although it was overwhelming to walk up to the bus, it was exactly what our training prepared us for. It was one of the most stand-out moments of the summer because it led to such a great class with incredible students, and although it sounds like a random occurrence, it definitely takes more than deciding to go up to the bus.