Calexico – An ROP class in child care her senior year of high school was all it took for Lisa Bracamonte to discover her life-long career. Caring for young children and working in preschools has been Lisa’s only job – and she loves it.
Born with Moebius syndrome which is a non-progressive facial and neurological disorder that for Lisa has manifested as a paralysis of the right side of her face. It affects her hearing and vision and prevents her from having facial expressions, but you wouldn’t know it when she walks in a room. Her attitude and can-do-spirit brightens everyone around her.
“I feel like I’m the mayor of every room I walk into,” said Lisa. “… everybody wants to talk to me and give me a hug.”
“I feel like I’m the mayor of every room I walk into,” said Lisa. “When I go to the store or see kids and families around town, everybody wants to talk to me and give me a hug,” said the 12-year employee of ICOE.
Lisa started working at ICOE initially with the Migrant Department when they had an infant/toddler program and then transitioned to ICOE’s Early Care and Education Programs (ECEP) four years ago when her supervisor, Nohemi Saldaña, moved to the Calexico site. Lisa followed Nohemi because of how much she enjoyed working with her.
Life hasn’t always been easy for Lisa. Her disability prevents her from driving a vehicle, so her daily commute from Brawley to Calexico is all done via public transportation – which Lisa has mastered. In fact, she has become close friends with all the drivers and has their cell phone numbers. One time she was caught in a rare Imperial Valley rainstorm, and she had missed the bus pick up to go back home. She called an off-duty bus driver who drove her from Calexico back to Brawley in his own car. Because she’s that well thought of by IVTAccess, the entity that runs some of the buses Lisa takes, she can count on them for her transportation needs.
Lisa also remembers people when she was young being fearful that she wouldn’t graduate from high school, but Lisa proved to herself and others, that she not only graduated from high school but she went on to obtain an AA and AS degree from IVC as well as her Child Development Permit from the State of California. Lisa also has dreams one day to earn her bachelor’s degree as well.
A constant influence in Lisa’s life has been her beloved parish in Brawley. She lives just down the street from St. Margaret Mary church and even has literally been given keys to the church because she’s there so much. “If I miss a service, the priest will call me to check and see if I’m O.K.,” explained Lisa. “When I’m not at church, people tell me that they notice a difference.”
That’s probably because Lisa is #ICOEAmazing.