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Spring 2012 started with a fever for big blockbuster movies full of superheroes saving the world from alien invaders. However, as fascinating these characters can be, the title ‘hero’ for me can only bring one person to mind: my mother. Sorry guys, but The Hulk, Iron Man, Capitan America and their gang have nothing on a woman who migrated from Cuba, learned English as her second language, was the first in our family to graduate from college and became an accomplished teacher, mother and community role model.

For Latinos, families are at the core of our lives and madres and abuelas are often the epicenter of our families, as the purveyors of love, wisdom and the most delicious food you could ever imagine. In my case, I feel blessed for my mom instilling me the passion for education and the dedication to serve my community. She is a real role model and inspiration to me in my daily life.

When I was a child, I remember that I used to go to college with her when she was unable to make other arrangements for childcare. I watched many lectures from the back of the classroom. I witnessed her hard work and dedication first hand while building a better future for my brothers and me. Moreover, I had the privilege to walk with her the day of her graduation and share in her accomplishment although I was convinced that I was graduating also.

What I did not realize until much later was that having had that experience created a strong academic foundation for when I did go to college. And whenever I thought a class was difficult, I remembered my mom who graduated with honors with English as a second language and I knew that there was nothing too difficult that I could not overcome with hard work and dedication.

A curious fact is that despite me being born in this country, English was also my second language. We only spoke Spanish at home, and I learned English once I started school. My parents foresaw the value of being a bilingual American with a broader heritage. Again, thanks to her wisdom, the understanding of my culture plays a vital role in my job at AARP, where I spearhead Hispanic marketing efforts and execution of a Hispanic strategy that increases member engagement.

On behalf of AARP, Happy Mothers Day to all mothers, our true superheroes! Because there’s so much to live for. To all the sons and daughters out there, let’s make sure that every day is a celebration for the one’s that deserve it all; and to My mom – Thanks for all of your sacrifices so that I can live a better life. I love you mom!

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