If you’ve visited the Safe Passage cafeteria in the last 8 years, you have most likely met Grecia.

She’s rather hard to miss when she’s dancing around the kitchen with a great big smile on her face.

More than that, Grecia is is wholly dedicated to Safe Passage.

“I didn’t want to work for a company to make more money for people who already have it. I wanted to make someone feel like a millionaire through a smile.”

Grecia has managed the Safe Passage kitchen staff for 8 years. Before that, she studied baking at Intecap (a technical school in Guatemala). Her schooling continued until 9th grade when she became pregnant and could no longer study.

To further complicate her situation, a difficult family life meant that Grecia had to leave her home, and her belongings, including her school diplomas, behind.

When Grecia first started working at Safe Passage, she asked for the opportunity to continue her studies. At first, her 8am to 5pm work schedule didn’t leave much time for school. After adjusting her schedule, she was able to attend classes in our Adult Education Program.

Without her diplomas, Grecia was unable to prove that she had attended school at Intecap and, because of this, had to repeat grades 7 to 9 (básico). Determined to succeed, Grecia worked hard to earn her high school diploma and graduated from our Adult Education Program in 2013.

Ultimately, Grecia wants to attend university to obtain a degree in Human Rights and Peace. She believes that it is very important for everyone to know their basic rights, and she loves working with people.

In the meantime, Grecia loves to share her days with the kids of Safe Passage. And it is clear that the kids love Grecia, too. She often receives gifts on Mother’s Day and many students ask Grecia for advice. Once, an Escuelita student approached Grecia and said, “I want you to be my mother because you are always smiling.”

“My biggest daily achievement is when kids—and kids don’t lie—approach me and say, ‘miss, your food is so good.’”

Grecia feels that her greatest impact is providing Safe Passage kids with good food, a warm smile, and a confidant when they need one. Grecia chose to work for Safe Passage because she wanted a job where she could make a difference. And, as we’re sure you can agree, she’s most definitely doing just that.