Jackie Rodriguez is a SCAN renaissance woman. Before she took on the role of backup facilitator for Educational Parent Support Groups, she participated in SCAN’s ABCs of Parenting Classes and Support Groups. Her involvement with SCAN for nearly eight years has made her this week’s SCANStar.
And for those of you who didn’t see last week’s installment, SCANStar will be a regular feature on BuildingBlocks that highlights our dedicated volunteers, program participants, and program facilitators. Get to know the serious and silly things about the people who make SCAN great!
BuildingBlocks: How did you get involved with SCAN, and what is your current role in our programs?
Jackie: I’ve always been a single parent and have never been married. When my son was five, we went to the library and saw a sign that said “help with parenting and support.” So we went to the first parent support group meeting, and I just kept going. This is my only support because I don’t have family here. They all live in New Mexico or Chicago. Then I started going to ABCs of Parenting. Around four years ago, I got started with facilitation for support groups as needed.
What do you like about volunteering with SCAN?
It helps me know that I’m not alone. I know there are other parents out there struggling with raising their kids, and that all of us can share and give advice. We all share ideas and try to work out something that can fit for our kids. Knowing that I’m not alone—that’s the main thing.
What do you enjoy most about facilitating Educational Parent Support Groups?
I enjoy hearing what other people have to say, learning from them, and learning what they’re going through. I like getting feedback about to how make group better. So many parents need support and they just don’t get it. They always make excuses. I like listening to other parents, and that makes me feel better.
Describe your favorite SCAN memory.
It’s hard to say because they’re all pretty intense. I remember times when we’ve had workshops to bring in guest speakers. During the last workshop we had we brought in pizza, all the kids and parents ate, and we shared ideas.
What do you think is the most important skill a parent can have?
Listening. I know when I go to these support groups that listening is important. Especially with children, I’ve learned the hard way that I need to listen because I always interrupt. The number one skill is listening, not criticizing your children, and not telling them what to do. Give them a choice. That’s always been my biggest problem. I have so much going on in my head that I miss what my son is saying. Just stop, listen, and relax.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? What do you do now?
Me and my sister always played dress up. We always wanted to have kids. Now I work for personnel and human resources at the Department of Agriculture with food and nutrition. I used to work for WIC at the federal level for nine years.
What is your favorite movie from childhood?
Grease. The original, with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, came out when I was in junior high/middle school. I still love the movie. I could watch it over and over. My son loves it, too.
If you were given a free flight anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d love to go to Cancun or something like that, or the Caribbean or Hawaii because I love beaches. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii because I don’t need to get my passport renewed. Anywhere with beaches and islands makes me happy.
What is something most people wouldn’t know by looking at you?
One is that I’m Hispanic. Whenever people talk to me they think I’m not Spanish because I don’t have a dark complexion. My ancestors are from Spain.