Castaneda, the first person in her family to graduate from high school, knows what it’s like to grow up in an atmosphere of pain and neglect. She said the experience made her who she is today, and she wouldn’t change it.
She also offered advice to the assembled at Maple City Chapel, those working with children who are much like Chastened used to be.
“Be patient,” she said. “Give them the opportunity.”
The final summit speaker, State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, also talked about her formative years. The experiences she went through drive the legislation she champions today.
The migrant worker’s daughter was one of seven children, and Kubacki said failure wasn’t an option in her household.
“We grew up knowing it didn’t matter where you started out in life — it’s what you did with your life that’s important,” Kubacki said. The lawmaker also repeated her mother’s advice: You can either become a victim, or you can become a success.
Kubacki’s mother was a victim of domestic violence. And one of the bills Kubacki touted Wednesday is one that would fast-track divorce proceedings for victims of such abuse. Kubacki said the bill passed the House but didn’t get a hearing in the Senate. The lawmaker said she intends to reintroduce the bill.
Kubacki feels a responsibility to speak up for women and children. Referencing some of her fellow speakers Wednesday, she also sounded a note of hope.
“Alex, Gina...We can live through it,” she said.