Mija can help you!
22nd Dec 2023
This blog is part of our “We Are CPLC” series of letters from CPLC staff. We hope you are inspired by these stories of our community by our familia. When you donate to CPLC, you directly support their work.
It’s like your family. Like a tío or a sister.
When someone comes through our doors asking for help, I think, How would I help a family member with this same problem? How would I help my dad?
My name is Alexis Lizarraga, and I am the Community Resources Coordinator at CPLC Family Assistance.
Growing up in Phoenix, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know of CPLC—it's like every Hispanic kid from the barrios is born knowing it exists.
CPLC was just part of life. Like the spirit of helping others.
When I was little, my family was one of the few in our community who owned a printer. So when anyone needed something printed—be it an immigration form, a homework assignment, or even a recipe—my parents would welcome them into our home and let them use our printer.
They were always willing to help—even offering my help to others!
“Mija me ayudó a llenar esa forma, seguro le puede ayudar a usted también.” (“My daughter helped me fill out that form, I’m sure she can help you too.”)
My English. My understanding of how to use technology. My ability to solve problems.
My mom would freely offer these to her friends and other people in our community.
Helping others was such a normal part of my life, that I hadn’t realized I actually enjoyed doing it.
So I made a career out of it.
But when I first started working in the nonprofit sector, I was in an office cubicle from 9 to 5, doing paperwork.
I hated it.
I would think back on my time as a paraprofessional at a local charter high school and cherished the moments I got to work directly with the students, helping them figure out the next steps of their life or simply talking with them about the struggles they faced.
What I wanted was to just help. And I ached for the opportunity to see the people I was helping.
So when I joined CPLC and helped at my first ever Operation Santa toy drive at the CPLC Community Center, I was overwhelmed with emotion.
Not only did I know my team members were genuine people who wanted to help others as much as they could, but being able to see the families we helped, the relief on the parents’ faces that their child would be able to celebrate this Christmas, and the joy in a little girl’s eyes as I handed her a toy—I realized I’d finally found my home.
At Chicanos Por La Causa, I found family—in my team and in the people I help each day.
Helping others is about cultivating relationships with the people in our community so they feel comfortable to return and ask for help.
It’s about listening and being compassionate and figuring out the best way to solve a problem.
But more than anything, it’s about patience and love. And when you get to see the people you are helping each day, you’re willing to go the extra mile because you can see the end result.
You help people report unpaid wages, apply for APS bill assistance, or call the Social Security office—and stay in the room with an elder during their phone call because they wanted moral support.
You want to help, because you personally see the effort of your hard work paying off.
At Chicanos Por La Causa, what I’m proudest of is that there’s never a “We definitely can’t help you.” or “No, that’s not my job.”
There’s always a way to help.
Because the people we help are like family.
Like our neighbors coming to borrow the printer or my mom’s friends who needed help filling out a form. Our community is our Familia. And a family helps one another in times of need.
For more information about CPLC Family Assistance, please visit https://cplc.org/housing/family-assistance.php. Donations to CPLC of up to $421 for individuals or $841 for couples filing jointly are eligible for the Arizona Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO) Tax Credit. Learn more at https://cplc.org/donate/donate.php.
Community Resources Coordinator, CPLC Community Services