Laura Velasquez

Rice County ParentChild+ Early Learning Specialist

Laura Baltazar

Laura joined the GUH team in December 2019. She’s a Growing Up Healthy Coordinator and Rice County ParentChild+ Early Learning Specialist in Northfield.

Where did you grow up, and how long have you lived in the Faribault area?

I’m from Oregon. My family moved around a lot; we moved to Northfield when I was 14. I’ve settled down here with my husband, and my daughter and son were born here.

What is your educational and/or work background?

I went to college in Mankato for a couple of years before I got pregnant with my daughter. More recently, I went to the Northfield Community College Collaborative to get an associate of arts degree, and I graduated from Riverland Community College. 

Why did you take this job with GUH?

I’ve worked with children since sophomore year of high school. I like helping parents find resources and referring them to quality childcare programs.

What are your main job responsibilities?

Being an advocate for families when they need help, and teaching the kids and the parents. I feel like I’m doing something amazing. When you’re a first-time parent, you sometimes don’t know what to do. I encourage parents to play with their kids. I educate them on how to be patient with a child, to read them a book. I try to be the best teacher I can be for both the parent and the child.

What do you like most about the job?

When you find a way to help families, you have this amazing feeling in your heart – that’s the best.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Currently, it’s not being able to work with families face to face. Part of ParentChild+ is to promote Sometimes there are circumstances where we can’t get some things for some families in need. We have to find other ways. Some families are undocumented and can’t qualify for programs.

What are your hopes and dreams for the community where you work?

Compared to when my parents were younger, when I moved here, it’s changed a lot. It’s changing for the better. A lot of people are trying to involve the Latinx community, and I feel like more people are welcomed. I hope we keep doing what we’re doing so the community will stay healthy for everyone.

What do you do for fun?

I like running. I trained for Grandma’s Marathon, and I finished it on my own, in June 2020, on the middle school track.