Remembering Rosario Espinoza
This past week Hillsides lost one of its finest staff members to cancer. Her loss is devastating not only because she was far too young and talented, but also because she was such a great example of what it is to be selfless and dedicated.
Rosario worked at Hillsides since 2003, first as a therapist and, most recently, as the manager of our school-based services in Baldwin Park. Her first role at Hillsides was to provide services for pregnant teens. Rosario’s work was so exceptional that within a short time the principal of the school asked her and Hillsides to consider providing additional services to their students. With that, a whole array of services was launched by Hillsides on the Baldwin Park school’s campus, all of it nurtured by her dedicated and extraordinary commitment to the children, youth and families she served. It serves as a legacy that survives her.
As committed as she was to those she served, she was also dedicated to those she supervised, providing them not just with counsel and guidance, but especially with a tireless example of selfless, professional care.
What impressed me most about Rosario was her perseverance, refusing to allow illness to define her, working hard as long as she could in spite of set backs, hospitalizations and occasional absences. It was an extraordinary example of her unwavering dedication in spite of significant hardships.
That kind of determination is inspirational not only to all us who experienced it, but especially to those she served. It was a lesson to never give up, in spite of the challenges and to strive each day with all the energy we can muster for a full life.
Inevitably that kind of example leaves a lasting impression and without a doubt encourages others to do the same even if against great odds.
More than anything else, it is the fine work and efforts of so many staff and volunteers that leave lasting impressions about Hillsides on those we serve. So although our sense of loss is great, we are nevertheless grateful for the “lasting impression” that Rosario has left on all of us. Her life is an extraordinary example of one who lived out what we believe–that our efforts are worthwhile and makes a difference.
May she rest in peace!