Victoria Sanchez is bringing an extra dose of the personal touch to the children and families at the Early Education Center (EEC) and Incredible Years Preschool.
Sanchez is the new translator/interpreter for both entities, which are owned and operated by Sunflower Diversified Services. The non-profit agency serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and delays.
“In addition to interpreting for our Hispanic families, I can relate to EEC parents on a more personal level,” Sanchez said. “One of my children is using the services of the EEC, which allows me to better understand their situations.
“I hope I can make them feel comfortable,” Sanchez added. “We want parents to understand that we are here only to help their children. Developmental delays are alleviated and in many cases overcome because of Sunflower’s expertise.”
Sanchez accompanies Sunflower’s early intervention specialists on home visits, which allows her opportunities for one-on-one conversations.
Other job responsibilities include planning and administrative tasks.
“I also act as the voice of our professional staff to communicate to the parents of our little ones,” Sanchez noted.
This staff includes early childhood special education teachers, and physical, speech/language and occupational therapists.
The EEC serves infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays, age birth to 3. Its services are free.
The preschool is open to any child; tuition is based on a sliding-fee scale.
“I am so thankful for this opportunity at Sunflower; it is a real blessing,” Sanchez said. “I have always wanted to work where I can use my bilingual skills to help our Hispanic community. What better place than Sunflower for more direct contact with our future generation?”
The translator, who is originally from Brownsville, Tx., worked in Mexico as a clerk in International Affairs for the Municipal of Ciudad Valles for three years. In Great Bend, she also works as an assistant translator in Municipal Court as needed.
She is currently enrolled in the phlebotomy program at Barton Community College, and already has an associate’s degree in Hotel and Tourism in Mexico.
Sanchez and her husband, David Alejandro Figueroa, have three children – Jasmine, 9; Leslee, 2; and Joshua, 1.
Jim Johnson, Sunflower executive director, noted that Sanchez is a welcome addition to the non-profit agency.
“Because of the number of Spanish-speaking families we serve, it is very important to have someone who can communicate well with parents and relate their concerns to staff members,” Johnson said. “Victoria is that someone.
“She can record information from conversations accurately so that our early intervention specialists can be even more efficient during evaluations and in-home visits,” he added. “Victoria’s skills are also helpful when children make the transition into kindergarten. We are fortunate to have her.”
Sunflower, which is in its 50th year, serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental delays and disabilities in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.