This month, Lupita Magaña, Canal Alliance’s Senior Mentoring Case Manager, celebrates her 22nd anniversary of working to support Latino immigrants to break the generational cycle of poverty. She is currently the longest serving employee with the agency and works within the Social Services department.
Lupita started as a volunteer in the summer of 1998, before transitioning to a full-time staff position in March 1999. During her first six years with the agency, Lupita worked as an Intake Specialist. As the first point of contact for clients seeking resources or support, she connected individuals with services and helped families make appointments for immigration legal services, by providing legal case management (for family reunification), connecting clients with educational and health resources and opportunities.
In the early 2000’s, Lupita ran a weekly support group for immigrant youth called Las Chicas. This group offered a safe place for young women to share personal details about their lives, and topics of conversation ranged from substance-use issues, relationships, intrafamilial violence, and early pregnancies. As a cohort, group members offered each other fellowship and would go on excursions from river rafting to trips to the State Capitol. Lupita said, “it was an oasis of support and community, and as someone who also immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager, I felt deep affinity with these girls.”
In her current role, Lupita remarks on the complexity of case management. “Each individual has unique needs”, says Lupita. “Relationships with clients can span from one session to many years, from assisting families to navigate intersecting systems that range from immigration, housing, medical, domestic violence, educational, financial, job training, and more.”
Lupita says clients often visit her a year or two after their initial meeting and as they do, they greet her with a big smile. She says, “I am always moved by these clients; I see how they find ways to flourish, despite the uncertainties of their new life. I came to the United States at the same age as them, and I relate with every obstacle they face. They come not knowing how to read or write and then jump into U.S. high school coursework. I personally know how difficult that is because I experienced it myself. Being a case manager at Canal Alliance and seeing these clients is what motivates me to do this work.”
Lupita is proud to connect community members with resources that they don’t know exist, much less know they can apply for.
Lupita continues to work at Canal Alliance because of the impact of her work. “I am grateful that our organization exists—I wish there had been an agency like this when I arrived as a teenager so many years ago. I love being able to have a positive effect on my community.”
Jessica Marker, Senior Social Services Manager, shares that “the expertise and experience Lupita brings to our agency is unquantifiable. Her well of wisdom serves our staff and community alike – providing mentorship, perspective, and critical connections to community partners and available resources. Each day, Lupita supports individuals and families navigating complex systems and challenging circumstances, and she approaches each of these interactions with an open-heart, treating each person with the utmost dignity and compassion.”