Dr. Cynthia Lucero is a name I have heard over and over again since my arrival at MSPP. In fact, her legacy was one of the things that tipped the scale for me when making my final decision about which graduate school to attend. The promise of becoming certified to work with the Latino population by way of an immersion program (in Ecuador and Costa Rica) was like a dream come true. I would be able to give back to my community AND learn to embrace my Hispanic heritage at the same time.
Prior to scoping out MSPP I had never heard of any such program like the Latino Mental Health Program. I was surprised that (in my home state) neither Arizona State University nor the University of Arizona had something like that in place. It seemed odd to me that I would have to travel so far east/live in New England to go back to my Mexican roots. It seems counterintuitive but here I am. I will soon -if I get accepted into the certification program- embark on a journey to help individuals from Latino cultures who are seeking mental health services and I cannot wait!
I would also like to add that I was further motivated to join the program by some fellow students a few weekends ago. I attended the 10th annual Lucero Run/Walk. Although it was only my job to stand around and take pictures I was completely moved by everyone and everything around me. Prior to the run there was a breakfast in which I got to hear a few students talk about their immersion experience. One student expressed her gratitude to the Lucero family as she was the newest Lucero Scholarship recipient. During the run I got to hang out around the finish line and listen to Mrs. Lucero (Dr. Lucero's mother) talk to some students about how proud her daughter still makes her. Once the runners/walkers were starting to make their way across the finish line I caught a few pictures. The picture below is one of my favorites.
Left to right: Janice, Alexandra, Herlinda (Lucero Scholar), and Mercedes.
To me the photo reflects what MSPP is all about. We celebrate and embrace our diversity and somehow it turns into this amazing sense of unity, cohesion, and coexistence. Each of the women in the picture has her own path, her own past, and yet there they are reveling in their commonalities. I have a feeling that Dr. Lucero would be pleased to know that she played a large hand in that. It is truly inspirational.