04/12/2019 By Abraham Regunta

I remember having just moved into the Tierra Vida community two years ago when I happened to meet Estefany Alvarez. She was around 13 years old at the time. She was full of life and had a smile that instinctively seemed to revive your energies. I very fondly recall my first karaoke night that I had organized at the Collegium Café in 2017. The event was supposed to start at 6pm, however, Estefany came in at 2pm and started to entertain us with her songs.

I was quite sad when I came to know that she and her family were leaving the Tierra Vida community last year. However, I have been delighted to see her almost every week at the Tierra Vida community and the Collegium Café. Every time she welcomes me with a smile, and welcomes me with a hug. During one of our conversations I asked her why she visits the Tierra Vida community so often despite living a good distance away from the community. She told me that she misses the community a lot. She said that the Tierra Vida community is friendly and had many programs and initiative that were geared towards the well being of the residents, especially the children. She stated that she was involved in a lot of community-based activities such as the after school tutoring program, the water walk, girls club, basketball, etc.  She said that she misses her friends and the community as a whole.         

Estefany told me that she has to change two buses in order to get to the Tierra Vida community. With that said, she was quick to add that she had no regrets as it was giving her the opportunity to meet her friends and spend some valuable, quality time in the community that she misses very much. The Tierra Vida community is comprised of approximately 1500 people. It is a community centered around building relationships, values, and respecting each other. Amidst all the chaos around us, this is a community that thrives on love, compassion and more importantly – investing in the lives of children like Estefany.