Being from Puerto Rico herself she understands the cultural differences and the complexities added because of these differences. Ana has the ability to develop trust between herself and parents with limited English-speaking ability which is paramount to advocating for the families and the children with special needs.
Ana works with families in their home, schools, community and workplace. She attends various meetings and conferences to obtain materials to share with Hispanic families and also to advocate for individuals with special needs. She has worked with many Spanish-speaking families in their communities by attending Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings and providing support, guidance and translation. Because of her attendance and advocacy, many children have received adequate educational support in their educational settings.
Ana has attended home visits with parents, nurses and medical equipment providers. Her intercession has helped families be able to make their homes accessible for their children with physical and mental health needs. Ana stresses full inclusion and her “people are just people” approach has helped show people how to participate in the community. Ana provides examples from her own personal experiences with her son to help others break down barriers and find alternate solutions.
One of the many people Ana have advocated for was “JM”. “JM” was born with many health complications and is a very compromised youngster in a wheelchair and on a ventilator. His mom did not know about home services and she had to take the only offered choice - an institution. “JM” was placed in the institution when he was one year old. Ana explained to his mother that her was entitled to services at home and once she understood her son’s rights, she was anxious to get her son back home. Ana was instrumental in successfully negotiating with the institution and the health insurance agency to bring "JM" home. Today, even with all the medical complications, "JM" is in public school receiving an education like everyone else. Furthermore, "JM" is living in his home that, thanks to Ana’s persistence, is accessible. Just a few months ago, "JM" was celebrating his birthday at a block party with all his friends and neighbors.
This is just one of the many people and families Ana Pacheco has advocated for and supported. Ana is a leader in the non-profit organization Vision for Equality where she works with families in their home, schools, community and workplace. Audrey Coccia, co-executive at Vision for Equality says: “The needs of the Latino community are complex. In addition to our families needing support and direction they have the cultural and language challenges to overcome. We need parent advocates like Ana to assist us in continuing our work with the families and children in our group and community."
The Hispanic Choice Awards is taking place on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. To learn more about the Hispanic Choice Award watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/