5 Questions: An Interview with Sergio Castaneda, Counselor Supervisor, DUCO
A little bit about Sergio: He’s the eldest of four siblings, raised by a single mother. “Family was always important to us. We have a big family, we’d always get together and barbecue on Sundays. In fact, what drew me to David & Margaret was that we were always interested in families in need in the neighborhood. The whole family would do a toy drive or a food drive. I was a kid when we started that, and it was a very big thing.” A native of Azusa, Sergio is just a few credits shy of his bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Argosy University. He has been with D&M for 5 years and has also worked in Residential and Transitional Shelter Care.
What I enjoy most about working at D&M: “The population we serve in DUCO. They never experienced what it’s like to be kids or never received a kind word. It’s so gratifying to see their shocked reaction when they realize that they’re safe or when they get the basics that we take for granted. To give them this life is awesome. These kids have been through so much.”
My most memorable positive experience: “The first time I read a goodbye letter from one of the kids. I didn’t expect that and I’ll always remember it. He was able to have a happy ending after leaving here. Some kids cry because they don’t want to leave here and go back to their families, so we must be doing something right.”
If I could learn anything … “I’d learn more languages and dialects. We have kids here from India, China, Guatemala, and other places, some of whom speak only a dialect. Sometimes even the translators we work with haven’t heard of their dialect, so we teach them through pictures and hand gestures. You have to reach them somehow.”
My role model is: My mother, a single parent. She’d say, “If there’s a problem, there’s always a solution. Work it out.”
My motto is: “Always a lesson, never a failure.” My mother would tell us that.