Losing his mother

February 14, 2023

For 15 years, Garcia remained homeless. Then, at 22, he decided something had to change.

He enrolled in college. Every day from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. he went to Harry S. Truman College.

Garcia learned to speak English and later transferred to the University of Illinois Chicago, where he got his master’s in Latino policies.

Afterward he spent 25 years in the education field with public and private schools and community colleges in Chicago.

Garcia never lost the pride of being Latino in a foreign country; whenever he has the time to speak Spanish he does it fluently and proudly.

Garcia has worked at Eastfield two years and is also adviser for the campus chapter of League of United Latin American Citizens.

LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States.

As the adviser, Garcia oversees the organization and assists the president. Cecilia Cruz, sonography major and LULAC president, met Garcia when he greeted her as she read in her favorite reading nook. One day he gave her his business card, and Cruz decided to visit him because she’d never been to a success coach before.

I have time for you…

— Alfonso Garcia, LULAC adviser and success coach

“When I first went in, it was for career advice,” Cruz said. “I was an associate of arts [major] because it’s a broad one.”

But Garcia knew that Cruz wanted to do more.

“He’s like, ‘you don’t really like to do that. Right?’ And I was like, ‘I just don’t know what I want to do.’ But he took the time,” Cruz said.

She had walked into his office without notice and was afraid she was taking time away from other students, but he reassured her.

“I was like, ‘I’m sorry. I know it was last minute. You could go ahead and take somebody else’ and he’s like ‘no. I have time for you it’s fine,’” she said.

During their conversation, she mentioned a career in the medical field. Garcia made her an appointment with a pathway specialist for the next day, which led Cruz’s sonography major.

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