Emily Rivera

I am here to tell you of the wonderful life I am enjoying since graduating from the Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum.

Life wasn’t so wonderful for me 10 years ago. I was 17 with a daughter nearly two years-old and receiving state assistance. The only jobs I could get were in retail where I was paid minimum wage.

I learned about the CPRF from my parents. They have always been very supportive of me. But I was very skeptical that an organization like the CPRF and free programs could offer me much help. I was so mistaken. My parents and I were amazed at the training and the opportunities the Forum provided me over the course year.

After graduating the CPRF good things immediately began to happen to me. I got a job as a clerk at the State of Connecticut’s Department of Insurance. I later became an office assistant at the Hartford Downtown Council. I enjoyed worked in the non-profit sector. Today I work at Sheldon Oak Central a not-for-profit urban development corporation. Sheldon Oak Central was founded by three church organizations in 1969 to develop the 91-unit Sheldon Oak Cooperative, the first low-income cooperative in Hartford. Since then, Sheldon Oak Central has developed over 600 units of affordable housing. I work as an Administrative Assistant, but my work allows my many other important responsibilities. I also provide information and support to the residents.

In addition to enjoying fulfilling work, I am currently enrolled in college. I am taking liberal arts courses towards a degree from Capitol Community College. I’m not sure what career I want to pursue, though I have considered work in the non-profit sector. I know I have gained so much by how non-profit programs like the Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum have helped me. I want to show others the same way. I thought it couldn’t get any better

for me. Four years ago, at the age of 23, I became a homeowner with the help of Hartford Habitat for Humanity. I was extremely honored when Mayor Pérez attended my home dedication to share in that important time in my life. I am proud to live in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood with my eleven year-old daughter goes to school nearby.

I would like to take this moment to officially thank the sponsors, collaborators and the dedicated staff of the CPRF. It was at the CPRF that I received the skills and confidence to help me acquire not only a job, but a better quality of life. Through your support, you have helped make a wonderful difference in the lives of many people just like me.

We need the CPRF to continue to serve the community and help people like me to improve their lives. To the Forum’s students, I want to assure you that a promising future awaits you when you graduate. Pay attention to the instructors. Work on your studies. I still believe in an even brighter future for myself, for my daughter, and my community. I know with the support of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum and all of you, that I can work to make all this happen.

Thank you!