Student Stories: Libia Alfaro

Libia AlfaroLibia Alfaro 


I am from Peru. I am the oldest of five siblings. My mother, Ana Maria, and my grandfather Mariano raised us since my parents separated when I was 11. My grandfather instilled in me the value of education. 

I came to the U.S. in 1995 to complete my dreams. These were bad times in Peru, with terrorism and a terrible economy. This trip was planned for my brother Mariano, but he didn’t want to do it. I decided to take his place. I was always like this, taking advantage of opportunities. So I came to this country illegally, but full of hopes and dreams.

After arriving here, I worked many jobs: office maintenance, making signs, filling out forms, selling clothes, managing a bakery, and as a travel agent. I even had a car insurance agency but lost everything because of domestic violence. In 2009, I was left with no job or money, which affected me emotionally. I was in a shelter, but I started to work again as an adult caretaker with Mrs. Kozsdin, from whom I learned to fight for my rights. In 2013, I got a grant from Esperanza Community Housing to work as a health promoter. From there, I took classes for In-Home Supportive Services with the Service Employees International Union, where I learned a lot. 

I started adult school in 1997 at Berendo Middle School. I just went there to inquire, and the principal gave me a pencil and paper and told me, “You’re starting today.” So I did! Later, I took morning classes at LATC: English, Typing, and Reading. I couldn’t finish my studies because my job schedule had changed.

I dedicated myself to working until Covid came knocking. I was in lockdown in Peru for six months, and seven family members died. My grandfather died in my arms. My brother almost died. The apartment where I was living burned down. I lost everything and almost died myself.

I returned to the U.S. on a repatriation flight that cost $2,500, plus another $500 to Los Angeles. I went to the house of an elderly friend, Mr. Goto since I didn’t have a place to stay. He had many medical issues, and I felt compassion for him. I took care of him when he got Covid, and I contracted it myself in 2020. Later, he helped me pay for my nursing course.

I thought that if I could take care of Mr. Goto, I should take classes in this field. So I returned to LATC to take the PCA course with Ms. Moore. Then I continued with her CNA course and got my CNA license. The whole class passed the state board exam. I decided to continue with the Home Health Aide class as well. 

And now I’m here to tell you that when it comes to studying, age doesn’t matter. At 53 years old, I’m completing my goals! These classes have helped me find a good career with a good salary and improved my skills to better care for my clients, residents, and patients. This has allowed me to achieve my goals and dreams while helping my family in Peru. 

I’m happy to thank God for the opportunities I’ve had. I also appreciate my counselor Ms. Ross for her help, Ms. Moore, for trusting me, and Ms. Eredia for bringing out the best in me.

I advise everyone to study because age doesn’t matter in education. Adult school classes can help you obtain better work, and you can achieve your goals with effort and perseverance. Thank you to all LATC staff for giving us this opportunity.