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  • Writer's pictureBarrio's Living Library

MSC: Fabiola Flores

In our continued efforts to tell our own stories and evaluate our impact, we have started using the Most Significant Change Framework. We implemented this framework in 2021 and in the first year we identified four domains of impact: personal transformation, leadership development, business/entrepreneur development, and community building.

Fabiola Flores's story highlights the Leadership Development domain. You can listen to the whole story in the audio file above.

Note: This is part of Barrio Alegría’s Most Significant Change process. The stories in this series share the stories of individuals in our community and the changes they perceive in their lives by being a part of Barrio. The interviews are designed to be heard so that the listener hears the story directly from the storyteller. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers and may contain errors. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Kylie: Tell me how you first became involved with Barrio.

Fabiola: That's a story. I first became involved with Barrio through a family friend named Yuri. Yuri referred me to Daniel. And a couple of days later, Daniel called me and kind of went through all the programming they had available. And it was a lot. I was mainly interested in Timebank. And I ended up getting the internship and being placed in creative placemaking. So then, after that, I kind of just immersed myself in Barrio, and from being the creative placemaking intern to being the creative placemaking coordinator. And from there, I changed into the microlending coordinator. So, I guess that's how I got involved.

Kylie: Okay, so is that your current involvement now is the microlending coordinator? Can you talk more about that?

Fabiola: Yes, I guess that is my current involvement. As the microlending coordinator, it's been a ride. It's been a ride of twists and turns. So, the microlending coordinator has to manage everything with the microlending program. The microlending program is trying to help small businesses and entrepreneurs, but also work with a CDFI to create affordable loans. And in business, affordable isn't always a wanted thing because that can also come to the expense of a business. And banking institutions are often considered more businesses than helpers. So the issue with this is that we've reached out to people. And some of them said, Yes, but then after realize, oh, wait, this involves me doing more work than I should, then I'm getting paid for. Or like, oh, it requires me to do more stuff that I don’t necessarily have the ability to do as of right now. And so many times they’re falling through. And I guess that's happened more than once. So it's really hard to imagine, as of right now, that this program will ever be stabilized enough or that we’ll find a potential partner that is willing to help us make these affordable loans for small businesses.

Kylie: What do you think is the most significant change in the quality of your life since you started working with Barrio?

Fabiola: If we're going personally, I think the way I changed the most in a positive way is through professionalism. So now I'm not very good at storytelling. But um, I think I've grown into a person that's has a better understanding of what professionalism is and how to deal with certain people.

Kylie: Do you have a story that demonstrates that?

Fabiola: I don't have an exciting story, but I guess the story that most depicts what I'm trying to say is, in the beginning, when I used to be an intern, I had to email several people. And one of these people was Judy Schwank. In the beginning, my email was very lengthy. I had to get it approved by Daniel. And we literally had to sit down and go through the whole email and he explained to me why certain stuff wasn't necessary in that email. And we ended up cutting it literally in half and it got sent. We got whatever we were asking for. But now I'm able to conduct those emails without Daniel overseeing them. And now it's like much bigger people than Judy Schwank. So, for example, I'm able to send an email to O’pake, which is one of the main partners that we deal with. And so I don't I just think that's a really big change.

Kylie: And why specifically, is this change significant to you? Like, how that plays in your life?

Why is it important to you that you became more professional through your involvement with Barrio?

Fabiola: I don't think the professionalism topic itself is the most significant change. I think the most significant change that I've seen is that I've gotten a bigger, wider view of how society works, how stuff I believed in wasn't necessarily true. Because when I started, I thought, “Oh, I'm the most professional person, I've gotten through this. I've done things similar to this” and stuff like that. And then afterwards, when I finally joined Barrio, I finally entered the business world or the professionalism mode. I've realized, I don't got this. And I was like, genuinely scared. I was like, how am I going to do this work without knowing what I'm doing? And in the beginning, I thought I was just getting throwing down in there. And I realized after that I was getting thrown into frightening situations because that was the only way to learn. And so, I think the most significant part is I came to realize what being a grown adult means, and I came to realize what being a member of the community means.

Kylie: That's awesome. I think you're very good at telling stories, Fabiola! That was really good. Thank you. I think I think that's what we what we need.

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