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Finding Mentors, Advocates, and Champions in the TFA Network

Inspired by the TFA teachers who were her most important mentors in high school, Liliana Martinez (Houston '18) returned to her hometown to empower the next generation of students.

By Liliana Martinez

January 3, 2019

Finding My Passion and Purpose in Education

As early as high school, Liliana's connections with the TFA network have opened up life-changing opportunities. Her TFA teachers became some of her most important mentors, helped her apply for college, and led her to discover her passion for giving back to her community.

As I progressed through high school, I realized that I had TFA teachers and then I realized there's a connection here. They know each other. They have this network and my TFA teachers actually became some of the most important mentors in my high school experience and I still talk to them today. Once I was getting ready to apply for college, I started noticing, oh, all the people who are writing my recommendation letters are TFA people. I started becoming familiar with the language and what their values were and it all sort of started to connect.

I always had a longing to come back home and serve in my community, so when I was applying for TFA I knew Houston is gonna be the right choice for me because I want to go back and serve where I went to school. I understand now how much education and the people in my life and TFA changed my trajectory, and I knew that I wanted to do something similar.

Now that I'm here and realizing teaching is the hardest thing I've ever done. My students might not have anybody else in their life who's guiding them through school and through figuring out what their passions are or what it is they want to accomplish. Just being that person is what I'm starting to realize - that's what TFA is all about, having teachers, having mentors, having people in your life that are really invested in seeing you grow and are just your number one fan and making sure that students are going where they want to be.