A Day in the Life of…Maria Alejandra Gomez, a PEPS Community Connector

Hello, my name is Maria Alejandra Gomez and I am the Community Connector for the East region, which includes Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, Bellevue, Sammamish, Issaquah, Snoqualmie and North Bend.

Flexibility in my schedule is one of the best things about working at PEPS.  Every week is different, based on my different priorities between work, meetings, and my family activities.  I change my work place every day. Some days you can find me working from our main office in Wallingford or from our remote office at the co-working space, The Riveter, in Bellevue.  Other days, I might be working at my daughter’s school, a coffeeshop, or at home.  The work is always interesting, and I get to meet and talk with so many people from differing backgrounds and experiences.

5:30 am – My alarm goes off and I get ready to exercise at home. My husband is already working out and we chat while he gets ready for a work trip. After I get ready, I wake up my daughter, Juliana, at 6:30am. We cook breakfast, make lunches, and organize bags for after-school activities. Today is going to be busy! I check my email quickly, along with our agenda for the day, and driving times using Waze.

7:35 am – We’re ready to leave the house now. Our family lives in Monroe and I drive my daughter to school in Everett. Part of our daily routine in the car is to call family in Colombia and listen to kids’ podcasts. We enjoy our beautiful drive!

8:30 am – After dropping Juliana off at school, I work from her school campus for a couple of hours. I send recruitment emails for the PEPS Groups in need of Group Leaders in the East region. Groups are getting full and I am brainstorming new ways to find Leaders. I reach out to my contacts on the Eastside, post in different Facebook groups, send emails, and make some follow-up phone calls. After the traffic gets better, I get back into the car and drive to Bellevue.

11:00 am – I meet with a former PEPS volunteer at The Riveter. She will be leading a new PEPS Group in several weeks and we are doing a 1:1 training course. I enjoy learning about her experience as a mother of teenagers and how she has decided to lead a group now that her kids are adolescents. She still remembers her experience as a Group Leader 14 years ago! We talk about all the changes and exciting initiatives we are working on at PEPS. She leaves with all the materials and is ready to lead her group. After our meeting, I sit down to send a reminder email to all new Group Leaders attending training at The Riveter next week.

1:00 pm – Time for my meeting with the School Readiness Collaborative group of Eastside Pathways!  We meet once a month to figure out ways to support Bellevue and Lake Washington school district communities and help kids succeed in Kindergarten. In my subgroup, we are working to increase family knowledge about learning opportunities on the Eastside for children aged 0 to 5. We have been working on the ParentMap Eastside Baby Guide and brainstorming additional ideas for distribution. After the meeting, I schedule a different meeting to talk with NISO, an organization in Bellevue that creates opportunities for the community using the Promotores model. We are beginning to discuss how PEPS can further support new parents within the Spanish-speaking community on the Eastside.

3:00 pm – Time to run to school! I pick up Juliana and we start our after-school schedule. I check that her math homework is finished, and we are ready to go.

5:00 pm – Juliana has a dress rehearsal with her ballet class in Snohomish. During her class, I begin wrapping up my workday, responding to questions from potential Group Leaders.  I send a few last emails, inviting local organizations to the Northwest Family Fest, taking place on August 3, 2019 in Redmond. PEPS is co-hosting the event as the Title Sponsor and we are inviting other local organizations and families to participate.

6:00 pm – We have dinner. Afterwards, we go to Juliana’s tae kwon do class since she has a belt test coming up. After class, we return home to make a video call with my husband who’s working from another city for the next few days. We do our family devotional during our video call, reading the Bible and other books.  After Juliana goes to bed, I will spend some time organizing the house and getting things ready for another busy day tomorrow!

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