My childhood was hard.
It was a miracle if I had lunch money growing up.
I was born in East Los Angeles and raised in downtown L.A. in a 60-unit apartment building filled with cockroaches, rats, and gang members.
My family was broken. Drugs, crime, and jail time was normal for us.
I became a workers' compensation legal secretary, eventually earning $15 dollars per hour. In my family, no one had ever made as much as $15 per hour. To me and my family, I had made it. The American dream was accomplished.
But I knew I was destined for more, I wanted to help people in a bigger way.
I am now entering my 10th year at the head of Ortega Counseling Center, and our non-profit organization, Angels for Injured Workers is still going strong as well. When I became an injured worker myself, I had a lot of strikes against me. I hadn't completed my education, I was a single mother raising three small children, and I had no idea where to turn. This is what fuels my commitment to helping injured...