Karen Valenzuela Jimenez

Home Country: Argentina
Age: 26
Qualified to Care For: Children of All Ages
Available: 3/13/22

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Letter To My Future Host Family

Dear host Family

My name is Luciana Valenzuela but people call me Lucha (in Spanish it means ‘to fight for something’). I feel pretty much identified with my nickname because I believe that in life things do not happen because of luck: it is through hard work and struggle that we achieve our dreams.

I am 25 years old and I come from a town called Simoca in Argentina, a very quiet town that is popular for its delicious cuisine. It is the typical town where everyone knows each other and people are very warm and welcoming.

I currently live in the capital of the province, San Miguel de Tucumán. I moved in here to study and work. It is a very important city for our history since it was in the Congress of Tucumán where the independence of my country from the Spanish crown was declared on July 9 of 1816. Therefore, San Miguel de Tucumán was declared "Cradle of independence".

I came to live in the capital when I started studying a career as a public accountant at the University. I have been living alone since 2014; regarding housework and cooking, I enjoy it. I always did it since I was little. What I learnt living by myself was the administration of my income and expenses. Money was always limited since in my province it is very difficult to get a formal job but I have always tried to work in different areas to gain experience as much as I could. My academic training includes several courses, such as dental assistant technician, paralegal assistant, two English Language courses, computer operator and marketing and sales of social services, in order to get better job offers. I continue to work informally but it is a very good and comfortable job. I am working as an accountant assistant helping 8 clients with the management of their taxes. This is also helping me to gain more knowledge about taxes. I have another job. I work giving private lessons of different subjects to 3 children that attend primary school.

Regarding my family, my mother is my pillar. She taught me to be independent. She works as a dental assistant at Simoca’s Public Hospital and my father is an agricultural worker. He lives in the countryside and has a very quiet and simple life. They divorced in good terms when I was a newborn so my father was always present and co-parenting with my mother. He remarried and had kids. We have a good relationship so I keep in touch with my half brothers and sometimes we coordinate with the younger ones to share at my dad's house. I also have an older half brother called Leo. He and his family live in Buenos Aires. He made me aunt of the most beautiful nephew I could have: Franco. I travel to Buenos Aires to visit them every time l have the possibility. Despite the distance, we are very close.

Let me tell you a little more about me. I have practiced volleyball since I was 12 years old. I have been practicing kick boxing for the last two years and I really love it. It is something that I am passionate about. When I was a teenager I learned to play the guitar and I LOVE SINGING. Furthermore, in volleyball, I have a lot of experience taking care of the groups of children that I had when all the volleyball teams traveled to compete in the different interstate tournaments, we always worked as a team.

When I was around 16 years old, I became an active stray dog and cat rescue. I consider that animal neglect and abandonment is a responsibility of the society and change begins by doing something like adopting or fostering dogs or cats. This is a beautiful act that can change their lives. In my town we got to create an animal rescue team. We organized stray dog and cat’s free neutarization, I learned how to inject diverse types of medicines to animals and to heal wounds of all kinds. At my mother's house, we adopted two stray dogs that are the best company my mother can have and, in my apartment, I have a rescued cat as well. I made great friends during this period, and one of them convinced me to make the decision to become an Au Pair applicant.

A short time ago, I became a volunteer firefighter in the city where I live; I did my training throughout 2020 with the school Federación 3 de Junio. I received training in CPR, Water-safety training and how to give assistance in all kinds of situations such as fires, vehicle rescue, rope rescue, the handling of hazardous materials and how to be well disciplined and organized. What motivated me to become a firefighter the most was the phrase of the late President John Kennedy in his inaugural speech on January 20 of 1961: "DON'T ASK WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY".

My first experience with children was with the Mormon Church. As a Mormon, at about 16 or 17 years old I was appointed as a temporary teacher of the church's primary school by the branch president of my province. I was in the group of young women at that time and ,honestly, I was surprised by the assignment because until then I had not been in charge of many children. I carried out my responsibilities with the help of more experienced teachers. My tasks were to plan the lessons for every Sunday; these would include playing games, making them take part in them and teaching the little ones to pray. During playtime I would go back to my happy childhood! It made me very happy teaching and guiding them to learn to pray! It was a great challenge for me and I received sincere affection from those sweet children (including the rebel ones)! They used to draw cartoons for me. What is more, I worked together with the director of the church choir. We managed to prepare two hymns sung by the children for Easter, which was something really beautiful. Nowadays, she is a great friend of mine and a professional folk singer. During this time, I realized that I can help children to develop their different skills through productive actions. I consider that there are diverse ways to assist them in their growth providing them with different tools.

Recently, I took care of two girls, whose parents are divorced. Their father had to take care of the girls on Saturdays so he asked for my help since he had to work in his brewery. After two months, both parents agreed on changing the days the father was going to spend with the girls so my service was no longer necessary.

Currently, I am in charge of giving private lessons to 3 children, Exequiel, Luz and Isabel of 12, 7 and 9 years old respectively. We work together so they can learn and complete their homework. Luz suffers from dyslexia so we work with specific learning techniques such as games or riddles, making use of special didactic strategies with her.

All in all, I consider I am someone loyal to myself, my ideals and also the people I love. I am a very outgoing and fun person. I can say that I am honest and resilient. I am very active and sometimes I need to do two or more things at the same time, because I like to stay busy.

I believe that this program will give me the opportunity to give the best of me and to achieve an invaluable and unforgettable experience, for sure. Living with a new family in a different country and its culture will be amazing. I am convinced that enrolling in this program was the best decision I made and I know that giving my age and experience I can provide the qualified childcare required in any case. I am aware that my greatest gift is "patience" and I can really understand children; always keeping in mind what is best for them, becoming their confidant, laughing, playing a lot and at the same time teaching them to respect adults.

I am looking forward to live this experience enjoying and giving the best of me!

Kind regards,
Luciana

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