Ana Maria Tormes’ Story
Ana Maria Tormes, Passport Class of 2011, Passport Coach 2014-2015, LCSW, Child Protection Social Worker
Ana Maria is a child protection social worker. She says, “It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done. I’m stretching in ways I didn’t think were possible, but I also get to provide hope for families and witness them break the cycle of poverty.” She is passionate about helping young people make decisions they want for themselves, rather than just following what they perceive society expects of them.
Ana Maria always knew she would go to college; education was a value instilled in her by her parents who came to the US from Colombia. She explains that Passport “took the pressure off of me having to figure out everything on her own. It wasn’t that our parents didn’t want to help, it was just an unfamiliar process to them.”
Ana Maria majored in Psychology at Suffolk University but it was working at Boston HERC during her senior year of college that helped solidify her decision to pursue social work. She came back as an alumni because “HERC works with inner city youth and that was part of my own story. I knew it would put me in a position to give back.” Coaching students at English High School, she learned that their everyday life made it hard for them to think about college, “They were just worried about getting to tomorrow, and that made me want to work within systems that children and families encounter throughout their journey. Families are often at forks in the road and depending which way they choose, that can determine the rest of their future.”
She encourages younger alumni to “make college about yourself. As first generation students, a lot of us make decisions for our families and that is a beautiful thing about our culture. But college can also be your place to explore your passions and a world that is so much greater than what you see everyday. College can be your ‘what if’ place, ‘What if I go abroad?’ ‘What if I go have that conversation with a professor?’ ‘What if I go to that networking opportunity?’ Let that question open doors to places you didn’t yet imagine.”