Her name is Lafa and she has been my best friend for longer than I recall – more than 10 years!!! She is amazing and on this day I went to see her new classroom at Mountain View High School in Vancouver, WA. As I drive into the parking lot I realize wow I know a Spanish High School Teacher!
Lafa is a true blessing for choosing such a noble profession! As I walk into her classroom colors surround me and I begin to ask questions. Cards 3 x 5 with names of colors Azul, Anaranjado… are neatly lined up –remains from the teacher before.
Then there are bigger cards with delicious pictures of blueberries and citrusy oranges with the same names of the colors they represent on them. That to me is a perfect example of Lafa’s teaching style! For Lafa is also an artist and you can find her work on www.lafasart.com she adds images to her teachings that capture the eyes of visual learners, music to touch the hearts, and assignments that make learning the Spanish language as heartfelt as the language they are studying.
Lafa is also a traveler! Lima Peru her latest adventure! She was wonderful to bring back four cigarette boxes with images a person with a trachea, a person with erectile dysfunction, and damaged lungs! My Mindful Smoking© groups have already benefited tremendously from these as they open up doors for communication where participants express desire to try one but especially their heartfelt desire to quit!
Before becoming a school teacher Lafa worked at building 17 and they went smoke free she felt the pressure of being asked to tell people they are no longer allowed to smoke there. It was not easy however Lafa’s creative side immediately kicked in “I wrote on my jacket something like CCH is now tobacco free, for a lollipop instead, please ask me.” She would then open up her jacket where the lining was filled with different flavors of lollipops!!!
I have also watched her nurture her little sister through the Big Brother’s Big Sister’s program www.bigbrothersbigsisters.com for six years. While swimming at Furstenberg or joining them for dinner I have witnessed the positive impact she has had on her little sister who is now getting ready to graduate and begin her own journey through continued education!
Most recently Lafa has taken on being a foster mom to two beautiful little people that would steal your heart in a New York minute! Lafa has called in the love of her life who is so sweet and appears to be smitten by her too! Who wouldn’t be right? Spending time with Lafa and her little people and her family and her pets is a true blessing because she is an incredible blessing to this world!
Lately stories of sadness where we lose beautiful people to the disease of addiction and mental health illness serve as a reminder of how fragile our world can be.
This story is a celebration of one person’s life and the immensely positive impact she is having in our world. Grace On You Lafa Baker for all that you do! Oh did I say she is an amazing friend too??? Feeling ever so grateful for our friendship!!!
Guadalupe Aragón, BA, CADC1, RC
Certified Transformative Life Coach
President Chemical Dependency Training Consortium of the NW