Little did I know when my kids used to carpool with Iraida Espinosa's grandchildren in the 1980s that the perfectly coiffed, always-elegant lady who used to hand out snacks during car rides was busy transforming the lives of young people on the other side of the Pacific.
I would learn decades later, when I joined the board of Neighbors Abroad, that Iraida was instrumental in establishing life-changing programs in Palo Alto's oldest sister city, Palo, Leyte, the Philippines. The initiatives she helped establish when she was president in the 1980s included a children's library and scholarships for deserving college students. Those projects endure to this day. The number of scholarships over the years has dwindled down to 5 but the Palo Committee hopes to increase the number back to the original 9 and more. So when Iraida recently passed away at almost 105, we decided to honor her legacy by naming one of our scholarships after her for a student pursuing teaching and education, as Iraida was a teacher for many years at Walter Hays Elementary.
We owe Iraida and the other past Neighbors Abroad members a debt of gratitude for their efforts and countless hours spent laying the foundation for our organization. Iraida had just retired from teaching when she became the president of Neighbors Abroad, She worked tirelessly with Neighbors Abroad for more than two decades! We can use Iraida’s legacy as a call to action to do our part to bring people from across the world together to support one another and take Iraida’s words to heart when she wrote that we are all “members of the broader family of nations.”
If you would like to help us expand our scholarship program for deserving and disadvantaged students, please click here.
Neighbors Abroad Blog
Musings and Missives for a Small World