Educating Migrant Farm Workers
County employee Maria Garza has made a positive difference in many lives during the course of her career through her tireless support of access to education for all. She realized the importance of education early on, growing up in a migrant farm worker family in South Texas.
Garza now serves the local migrant worker community at the Department of Human Services' South Dade County Adult Skills Center in Homestead as a Special Projects Administrator 2. One common denominator among many of the people she serves is the lack of basic or formal education. For this reason, she's been working to change things through the Miami-Dade Farmworker Jobs and Education Project (FJEP).
Over and above her day-today County duties, Garza volunteers on several boards including Big Sisters Latina Outreach, Maggard Migrant Ministries, The Hispanic Coalition and Homestead Baptist Hospital. She also promotes education as the co-founder and president of the Mexican American Council (MAC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of migrant farm workers through education. She's proud of the impact the organization has made, stating, "With MAC's assistance, today more than 2,290 migrant farm worker students have graduated high school."
According to Garza, "Without a doubt, the most satisfying aspect of working with the community is seeing their accomplishments," adding, "I never take for granted the opportunity to empower one person, to teach them to become self reliant, employed in a field or career of their choice, or become American citizens."
Maria Garza puts education within reach for migrant farm workers seeking a better life.