Karin Flores’ story is one of courage and perseverance. At age 21, she left her large extended family in Lima, Peru, in order to move to Kansas City with her younger brother and sister. They had travelled the long journey to reconnect with their father who had been living and working in Kansas City for several years.
As is often the case for many a new immigrant, Karin’s first year living in the USA was very difficult, and she soon became homesick. At age 21, living in a new culture and having to learn a new language, there seemed to be many obstacles to overcome, and she initially felt like giving up and moving back to Peru. However, she persevered because she was constantly reminded of her grandfather’s advice that his grandchildren always endeavor to find the inner strength to endure any adversity.
So, following her grandfather’s guidance, Karin began to take steps to put herself in the position to do more than survive in her new country and ensure that she could take care of both her mother and her grandmother who were still in Peru. She found a job at Wendy’s, where she was lucky to have a manager who encouraged her in her efforts to learn the English language by giving her books and acting as her very first English teacher. She also soon learned to drive and began to take free English classes around the city, eventually deciding to enroll in college in order to greatly improve her language skills and earn a certification in legal interpreting.
Karin began working for the language services department of the Kansas City Public Schools in 2014. She is our Spanish interpreter/translator and bilingual school-parent liaison. She says that she really enjoys working in the department because of how helpful and dependable her coworkers are. She says, “We can all count on one another, and we are all kind and helpful people; I love it! We all help each other and our students.”
As a parent liaison, the families served by the department put their trust in Karin. And having herself experienced some of the confusion and difficulties involved in migrating to a country with a totally different language and culture, Karin approaches her job with a unique sense of duty. She says that she gets elated whenever one of “her students” remember her or when the parents show their appreciation for her work with their children.
A married mother of two kids—a boy and a girl—Karin describes her husband as a loving partner who, luckily, can also cook! She says that even though in her professional life she is often serious and sometimes quiet, she enjoys parties, dancing and traveling.