In continuation of our #TBT series highlighting some of our longest-tenured Impact NW staff members, today’s featured staff member is Sonia Rincon-Heflin. After moving to Portland back in 2008 and dedicating her career to social service work, Sonia began her time with Impact NW Healthy Families program (then called Healthy Start) less than a month after arriving, “way back when we were still called ‘Portland Impact.’”
Having dedicated her career to social service and working with families in need of support, Sonia says of what drew her to Impact NW.
“[Impact NW] is a non-profit organization, well established in the community, with a solid history of focusing on social and economic justice work, which is the type of work that I have been involved in most of my life. It resonated well with me. It felt like it would be a good place to start . . . It has a progressive lens and I need that in my life.”
Now nearly 12 years later, she continues to feel committed to her work and loves every minute of it, “I could retire but I love my work!” Sonia describes her role as having a partnership with the families.“It is a mutual relationship . . . I’ve learned a lot about our latino community and our own diversity. Through my work I have had the opportunity of meeting a diverse group of families with very unique family cultures. I’ve met many wonderful families.”
Being bilingual and bicultural herself, Sonia has had the opportunity to work with countless bilingual and bicultural families throughout her years of service. It’s about building strong trusting relationships and “being available to people when they are in need of help . . . It’s about walking alongside them.”
“The families really know what they need in life. They just need the support to get there.”
Prior to COVID-19, most of Sonia’s days were filled with home visits to individual families’ homes.
“I really like that we meet them where they are, it’s a voluntary program. The program lasts three years and most families stay involved throughout the length of the program. It’s really rewarding when we are able to witness the growth and development of the children we work with and the attachment and growth of the parents involved.”
Healthy Families supports parents and their children ages 0-3 through offering early childhood developmental and positive parenting skills. Like all of us, Sonia has had to adjust to virtual home visits and other changes to her daily life, but she continues to make an impact on the lives of countless families in our community.
Our collective impact is made possible by the individual actions and strengths of people like Sonia. We’re beyond grateful to have her as both a member of our community and the Impact NW family.