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AbilityFirst Celebrates Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

AbilityFirst is proud to recognize Hispanic/Latinx Heritage by celebrating the many contributions of individuals from Latin America, including advocacy, science, art and culture, food and music. Between September 15 – October 15th we are featuring stories on our social media of individuals who identify as Hispanic/Latinx and participate in AbilityFirst programs, their families, and our dedicated employees. Click here to read Lori Gangemi’s CEO letter.


AbilityFirst celebra el mes de la Herencia Hispana/Latinx

AbilityFirst se enorgullece de reconocer la herencia Hispana/Latinx al celebrar las muchas contribuciones de las personas de América Latina, incluida la abogacía, la ciencia, el arte, la cultura, la comida y la música. Entre el 15 de septiembre y el 15 de octubre, presentaremos historias en nuestras redes sociales de personas que se identifican como Hispanas/Latinx y participan en los programas de AbilityFirst, sus familias y nuestros empleados dedicados. Por favor lea mi mensaje completo en la página de internet de AbilityFirst haciendo clic aquí.


Meet Maggie!

Maggie is an AbilityFirst Program Manager for the PossAbility, Los Angeles program. Maggie shares her 14 years at AbilityFirst have been rewarding providing assistive services for program participants and their circle of support. “It is meaningful helping people reach their full potential and celebrate their individuality.”

Maggie and her family are from Puebla, Mexico. Puebla is famous for its gastronomy, colonial architecture, religious fervor, being one of the most conservative places in the country and home to hundreds of churches, confectionery (they have more than 300 candies delicacies, mostly fusion of Arab, Spanish and indigenous cultures), pottery (particularly talavera), marble.

Fun Fact: Puebla city was built by Spaniards and is known for being the first colonial city.
Click here for Maggie’s full story!


Meet Maria!

Maria Herrera was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador, and lives in Los Angeles with her three daughters. Maria’s daughter has been part of AbilityFirst, College to Career for four years, and Maria has been an active parent in the AbilityFirst Parent Group Abriendo Puertas since its creation in 2020.

One of Maria’s fondest memories of holiday celebrations in El Salvador was Christmas dinners at her mother’s home. The entire family would come together, and everyone was allowed to drink a whole soda with dinner. Maria shares that she loves animals and being in the country but is not really a fan of the smell of having too many animals around. If she could live in the country again, Maria would love to have farm animals, especially horses. Maria enjoys music from Salvadorian singer Alvaro Torres, and her favorite dish is the Izote flower cooked with eggs.

Fun Fact: The Izote flower is the national flower of El Salvador, and it is also edible.
Click here for Maria’s full story!


Meet Michael!
Mike González is a Program Supervisor for the College to Career Program. After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology, Monica Alcantar, Center Director in East Los Angeles and Glendale, introduced Mike to AbilityFirst, where he naturally gravitated to the services the College to Career program offers and began his career with AbilityFirst as an Education Coach. In 2020 Mike was promoted to Program Supervisor.

Mike is a 1st generation college graduate and will soon attain his master’s degree in sport psychology. Both of his parents were born in Cali, Colombia – which is a coastal city in Colombia.
Click here for Michael’s full story!


Meet Vilma!

Vilma Suruy is from Escuintla, Guatemala and has lived in Los Angeles for 32 years. Vilma’s son has been part of AbilityFirst, College to Career for six years, and Vilma has been an active parent in the AbilityFirst Parent Group Abriendo Puertas since its creation in 2020.

A Guatemalan festivity of significance to Vilma when her community celebrates the Virgin of Guadalupe with a community fair that includes music, food, and carnival-like games/rides.

Vilma shared one of her favorite Guatemalan dishes is Pepian de Pollo – Chicken smothered in a curry-like sauce accompanied by rice, vegetables and tortilla.

Click here for Vilma’s full story!


Meet Maria T.!

Maria Torres and her family are from a town called Ciudad Guzman, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Her family lives in Long Beach and her son Jose participates in the AbilityFirst, Long Beach programs. Maria shares how happy Jose is with the AbilityFirst programs “he always gets up in a great mood and excited to go to the program. As parents we are also so happy with the program because we see the advances in our son every day.”

Click here for Maria’s full story!

Here are some resources for events and happenings for Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month:

City of LA

City of Pasadena

City of Long Beach,and%20Belize%20on%20the%2021st.

County of LA Parks

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