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Unsung hero: Senaida Perez helps Spanish speakers navigate life in Cleveland

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:27 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Meet unsung hero Senaida Perez.

“Esperanza which means hope, there’s hope in everything in life, you just have to have it, believe in it and you can accomplish it,” said Perez.

Hope is exactly what Perez gives to so many Spanish-speaking families in Cleveland.

“I don’t do for you, but I will help you... I think it’s the most important thing is to introduce them to resources in their community,” said Perez.

Perez works at the Multilingual Multicultural Education Office for The Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

On a daily basis, she helps up to 20 families get access to life-changing resources through the South Branch Cleveland Public Library.

“GED classes, English as a second language, trying to learn a new skill, take a civil service test, exams, ZOOM meetings for court dates,” She said.

Perez grew up in Defiance, Ohio and said there weren’t a lot of Hispanic families in that area.

“I was the minority,” Perez added.

Perez said she looked up to civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King helped her navigate a world that has been hard on minorities.

“So he was talking to me, not just for me, but to me, and making me realize be proud of who you are regardless of everything that comes your way,” said Perez.

Not only did MLK’s words inspire Perez, but so did his actions.

She said she didn’t have someone in her hometown who helped Spanish speakers navigate life, so she wanted to be that person for the families here in Cleveland.

“It’s just natural, I come from a big family... we were always about family and helping each other,” said Perez.

Perez’s commitment to helping others is why she is an unsung hero even though she doesn’t think she is.

“Because I didn’t do the work to be recognized and I was totally surprised that I was recognized,” said Perez.

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