Program Lifts Migrant Worker to New Heights

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WESLACO – One former GEAR UP student said the program helped lift her out from the fields as a migrant worker and gave her the opportunity to reach new heights.

Veronica Mares is a speech language pathologist and said she loves her job. She helps patients who have trouble swallowing, eating and communicating.

She provides therapy for people who have either had a stroke or some other type of traumatic accident.

Mares enjoys helping people get back on track. She admitted life wasn’t always easy for her.

“I think what helped me along the way is that I am a migrant worker. I did that for a majority of my time in school. I would start school late and I would leave school a couple of months before school ended, so every year it was catching up to where everybody else was, which was a little bit of a challenge,” she said.

She said the struggles helped mold her expectation for herself. She also recalled how her parents struggled. The entire family had to work as migrants up north.

“We had to work. We had to help at home. We had to bring in revenue somehow,” she said. “My motivation was to not have to do that for my children.”

The former GEAR UP student said one of the biggest reasons for her success is GEAR UP.

“GEAR UP was a big part of me growing up when we started learning about what college was and what you were interested in doing once you got there,” she said.

Mares also gave her mother lots of credit.

“My mom was a big supporter for me. She always encouraged me to do better, because she knew I wanted more than what we had growing up,” she said.

You can catch GEAR UP segments on Thursdays on CHANNEL 5 NEWS at 5.