Awilda Sánchez

I love the idea that I have to wake up every morning knowing that I’m to be a blessing to someone

Going from the bright lights of New York City to a smaller city like Springfield may sound like a big feat, but it was exactly what Awilda Sanchez wanted. Born in NYC, Awilda moved to Springfield in the 1980s. She found her love of the Springfield community and the children in it by being involved with Brookings School and Way Finders. At Brookings Schools, she helps wash children’s clothing, packs healthy meals, conducts food drives, and advocates for community nutrition and health. A semi-retired nurse, Awilda sees herself as a humanitarian and has had a love for others ever since she was young.

What motivates you?

Awilda has always had a big family, so she is not shy about her love for others and want to see a better world. She loves to work to address poverty in her neighborhood including food drives, pajama drives, book drives, and fundraisers. Awilda also believes that nutrition and health are important, and that living a simple life is key.

What would be your advice to others who want to get active but don’t know how?

“Be a blessing,” Awilda says. “Improve your surroundings. We can control our environment. We can advocate for education and safety, a little bit at a time. Find your passion. Everybody has a neighbor that could use a hand. Collect signatures, get streets fixed, make phone calls. We have to be involved. If we don’t speak, we get forgotten.”

What issues concern you on most days?

Awilda has one main concern: children being fed. Because of her work with children, she knows firsthand how hard it can be and does not want others to suffer.

Why is it important to be involved?

Awilda believes we can leave our neighborhoods and communities a little bit better. “If I can leave flowers and clean streets, then I’ve lived a good life. It’s a struggle to survive in America today. Sow seeds for change. If we all do our share, we can plant a forest.”