Rachel, like many parents (especially during the pandemic), is a skilled multitasker. During the interview for this write-up, she was also simultaneously doing chores and collecting a batch of cupcakes. That said, Rachel was still fully engaged in telling her story, her family’s story and her experience with BCM.
She was born in Hawaii, and spent her schooling years in the US. As a child, she recalls her family thinking very highly of education. Rachel particularly treasured it for herself, but was raised in an environment where it wasn’t as easily accessible. More practical matters often took precedence. In a family of nine children, it was also difficult to chart her own path. Now that she has her own family of six children, her experience growing up strongly informs her own philosophy as a mother:
“I’m juggling a 100 things at once, FOR SURE. I don’t know how I do it with all the kids, I just feel like… it’s a mother’s instinct, I don’t want my kids to ever feel neglected. I don’t want them to ever say, ‘Oh ma, I never got that when I was young.’ I don’t blame my parents for anything; we had nothing and my parents worked every day. But it’s important to me now to give them every opportunity because I want to get them to a better place. I missed out on college, and I want them to go experience it.”
When it comes to BCM, Rachel’s children also take after her ability to multitask. Rachel is encouraged by her children’s ability to benefit from BCM’s tutors and programs despite the pandemic, and despite the technological issues they’ve experienced at home during the early days of lockdown. Rachel spoke particularly of her second grader, who sometimes attends multiple BCM events in one day.
“She’s shy, but when she had Zoom conversations with her tutor… the way she presented herself, she spoke so well with her tutor and she’s only a second grader! I’m struck by how comfortable she was with her tutors. She listens to what she’s told, she hears, and she repeats."
Most of the time, her kids say, “Mama, I’ll just do one.” But her second grader sometimes has one Zoom call after another with BCM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rachel told her, “I don’t want you to be frustrated by doing so much. But she’s fine! They love BCM and I enjoy seeing what the tutors have done with the children. Which is why I teach my children to be respectful; I do not tolerate disrespecting teachers.”
Besides taking advantage of the tutoring programs at BCM to help her four children improve in their academic work (some have earned merit awards since), her children also enjoy going to BCM to take advantage of the good snacks, and to have fun. Living in lockdown within a house of six children and four adults has been challenging, and Rachel values being able to use the outdoor play area at BCM, including the walking path, and go on bike rides (with the bikes that some folks at BCM were able to help Rachel acquire). Rachel tries to get them out as much as possible, rather than staying indoors to watch TV.
When asked if she sees God at work in BCM, Rachel expresses yet another emphatic FOR SURE.
“He’s not just there, he’s everywhere! We’re Catholic, and I came from a very strong religious background. My husband, too. There are times when I feel so bad that I don’t actively act as a Catholic, but I sit back and I see it at BCM. They’re showing us that God is there. Having them at BCM is a beautiful thing. I’m thinking about everything BCM has given me and it’s all from Him. I have nothing to offer, I wish I can give back in ways like money for everything BCM has done for me. I wish there were more such opportunities out there, I wish I had you guys when I was younger. God is shining his light on everyone there at BCM and helping every single family.”