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Who is Angelica Suarez?

I think of myself as a multifaceted, multi-layered individual of Mexican and Spanish descent. I was born the 11th (8 men, 3 women) and last child, to my Mami and Papi. I spent the first five years of my life running the prairies in my picturesque town nestled in the mountains in the State of Michoacan. After having lived and worked in the US for over 15 years my father decided to petition our entire family, and in 1968 we all arrived in San Francisco.

Two days after arriving, I started kindergarten at Lazeer Elementary in East Oakland. I needed to learn to speak English, Stat! In three weeks, I was conversational, and six weeks later I was fluent. I went from Chabot College, to CSU East Bay where I earned my Bachelor’s degree and paralegal certification, then one year at UC Berkeley. I was a paralegal for over 25 years in the field of immigration, civil litigation, probate, and real estate. I am a licensed court interpreter.

What is your current role and how did you come to work for Spectrum?

I joined Spectrum in April 2021 as a Customer Service Representative for LIHEAP. I also assist at outreach events with Helen, our Outreach Specialist, and weatherization intake with Sonia, our Intake Specialist.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Hands down, the daily interaction with different people! I absolutely enjoy meeting people, albeit mostly on the phone. It brings such perspective to hear what people go through and how we are able to help. My years of immigration work gave me a solid edge in the daily interaction with people of other countries and different linguistic backgrounds.

What interests do you have outside of work?

I have a very close relationship with my family. I can honestly say my siblings are my best friends. We love get-togethers, hanging out, cooking, music events and traveling. We’re blessed to all live close enough to one another to be able to do this.

My other passions are 1) gardening and growing my own food, and 2) cooking healthy meals for myself and delivering to others. There’s a handful of elderly folk in my neighborhood and they love receiving my “plates,” and also my baskets of fruits and veggies I deliver to them during the spring and summer.

Do you have any memorable client interactions that you would like to share?

In August 2021, I received a call from a young woman whose husband traveled to the embassy in Mongolia to pick up their three children, who’s immigrant visas had recently been approved. He was to return with them to the USA to join his wife. While in Mongolia, he suffered a stroke and died. The children eventually joined their mom here. Devastated, and not knowing what her next step would be, financially and otherwise, she was faced with a utility bill she could not afford. She came to us. Long story short, she cried tears of appreciation with me stating were it not for the help received she wouldn’t know where to turn. I also guided her to other resources to help with rental assistance, and applying for Medi-Cal and other benefits for the children.