Linda’s Legacy: #EPU40

For the past 21 years, the EPU Children’s Center has been blessed with Linda Sanchez’s infectious positivity, kindness and love. Countless EPU children, families and colleagues have been fortunate enough to be in Linda’s gracious presence. As we bid farewell to our beloved Linda as her retirement nears, we share Linda’s journey in this week’s edition of the #EPU40:

Tell us your EPU story– how did you get here?

I was referred to Exceptional Parents Unlimited by my niece Marlo Alvarez, who was working as an assistant manager in EPU’s Early Intervention Department. On April 5, 1995, I was hired on as a part-time employee, working two days out of the week. On August 1, 1995, I was hired on as a full-time employee at Selma’s EPU center as a Child Development II employee. The manager at Selma’s EPU was Maria Rodriguez. SHe acknowledged my enthusiasm and willingness in carrying out my daily duties, and she liked the service I provided to the children and parents. Unfortunately, due to low enrollment and financial strains, Selma’s EPU center closed in 2008. I was then offered a position at Fresno’s EPU center as a Child Development II. I started right away working with parents and children.

Tell us about your family.

My husband John and I have been married for forty-five years and we had eight wonderful children. Valerie was stillborn, and my oldest son Johnny passed away in 2007.  My other six children who continue to stand by my side are my son Steve, and my five daughters Veronica, Angelica, Monica, Rebecca and Dolores. I would like to give my EPU family huge thanks and appreciation as you have always supported me through all my family issues and worries.

I have fourteen wonderful grandchildren: nine grandsons and five granddaughters. My grandsons from olderst to youngest are Isaac, David, Johnathan, Cesar, Aaron, Fabian, Zachary, Gabriel and Caleb. My granddaughters are Isabel, Ruby, Gabriela, Priscilla, and Lucy. My grandchildren are always keeping me on my toes. I enjoy spending my time with them, and I am excited to spend more time with them when I retire.

While raising my children, I have taught them how to work hard in the fields harvesting many kinds of fruits and vegetables. I instill in my children: “This is what you are going to do all your life if you don’t go to school and study; life is not easy.” I believe that sometimes, struggling can lead to success– it’s up to the person how they make their life. I thank God and all his blessings for having my wonderful family and guiding each of my children in their success with jobs which they enjoy.

What’s your favorite part about EPU? What’s your favorite EPU memory?

My favorite part about EPU is watching and observing the growth that each child develops in their developmental skills and milestones. Also, being part of our wonderful staff, which I call my second home. The staff is always caring and giving to each other. My favorite EPU memory is the feeling of accomplishment that a child overcomes by the work and effort that an Early Childhood Interventionist performs for a child.

I always loved participating in EPU’s Fiesta de los Ninos. I can recall many fond memories. One year I remember having a great experience, which was having the staff members making the homemade tortillas at the event site. There was live music on and the staff was dancing while making the tortillas. It was great seeing the joy of all staff members working together to support a common cause and having fun while doing it.

What’s the best part about being an Early Childhood Specialist?

Being an Early Childhood Specialist assistant is a reqarding job because I feel that I am helping each child reach their developmental milestones by providing them with helpful materials and engaging with them in their play. I also love developing relationships with each child and their caregiver.

What’s in the cards for your future?

I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my time with family and friends. Also, I look forward to working on my hobby of gardening vegetables and flowers. I wish EPU the best in their success in helping families. I appreciate all their support they have given me in any situation I have had. Again, thank you, and I will miss you all!