Born in Argentina and raised there until she was 10, Vanessa Pavesio and her family moved to neighboring Chile, where she lived for 14 years.
Her next move was a bit farther.
Pavesio, 40, arrived in the United States as a married 24-year-old with a religious scholarship to study leadership at Christ for the Nations. She is the pastor, along with her husband, Angelo, at Visión Mundial para la Familia (World Vision for the Family), a Christian church in Dallas and Arlington.
“One of the challenges that come at the beginning of an immigrant’s arrival has to do with the language as well as searching for opportunities in order to rise up economically,” Pavesio said. “I think that although you come here with a clear project and a desire that, in my case, was to come here to study, you have to see how to pay for your dream.”
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It isn’t easy, she said.
“It is about starting to knock on doors and lose the prejudices that sometimes you bring along from the countries you’re from, where you’ve studied and you have academic training. Here you have to do everything at the beginning, for your dream, for your project that you want to reach.”
Through the years she has worked closely with immigrant communities to provide them with opportunities for success in the U.S.
“We wanted to bring education because that’s the key to many things, to be able to educate people not only in the potential that they could have but also educate them about everything that has to with the laws here,” she said.
Education, in her opinion, is the key to a better future. Pavesio has worked painstakingly to establish a series of practical workshops that allow people to learn a variety of trades.
“Ten years ago in Dallas and we’ve been working in Arlington the past two years, working in the community, bringing educational workshops, handcrafts, baking workshops, jewelry workshops, Zumba, nutrition and others we’re about to start,” she said.
She and Angelo have been married for 20 years and have three children.
“The greatest satisfaction was to see our dreams come true and to know that despite walking a long and difficult journey, you’re left with the satisfaction that it was worth it and that there was growth after all that work.”
Juan Antonio Ramos: 817-390-7570, @porjaramos