Hey y'all! My name is Wendoline, I’m a 28 year old First-Generation Latina living in Manhattan and working as an LMSW!
I feel compelled to share a little about me in efforts to show you what has brought me here today...
Here is MY story...
My parents immigrated from Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX and settled down in Southern California along with the rest of my extended family. I am originally from Sylmar, California, or more popularly known as, “The Valley”. I am the youngest and only female of three children and come from a HUGE, traditional, tightknit Mexican family. From a very young age I was raised to proudly embrace my culture and my roots. So yeah, you can say I’ve got a Paisa in me. Soy Chicana y Chingona. Google it.
Upon graduating from Sylmar High School, I moved to Santa Barbara where I attended the University Of California, Santa Barbara -GO GAUCHOS! During my Jr. year through a UCLA program, I studied abroad in Puerto Rico for the Summer of 2012. It was there that I discovered my love for travel & adventure. On June 2013, I received my Bachelors in Sociology with a minor in English.
I then moved back home where I began to work as an Instructional Assistant for the Department of Special Education at a charter middle school that served underprivileged communities in the valley. Working with the SpEd Team, teachers, students and families, and seeing day to day, first hand the difficulties they faced, motivated me to pursue a masters in Social Work.
Moving to New York had always been a dream of mine, and when it came to applying to graduate programs, I applied to NYU on a whim, never thinking I’d actually be accepted. To my surprise, I was accepted into both NYU and USC, and well the rest is history.
I moved to Brooklyn August 2015 to pursue my Masters in Social Work at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. During my second year of graduate school my focus was in integrative adolescent/adult behavioral/mental health. I graduated May 2017 with my Masters in Social Work and was blessed enough to have all of my family accompany on such a joyous and special day for me.
Summer 2017 was eventful yet somewhat difficult as I was learning to transition from full time student to a full time working adult. I took the summer off to study for my state licensure exam which I passed in September 2017, officially becoming, Wendoline Vargas, LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) in the state of New York. Also, during the summer I was offered a great opportunity and was hired by Mental Health Service Corps (MHSC) as a Behavioral Health Clinician working to implement collaborative care in primary care clinics at high-risk & in-need communities where access to Mental Health services were very limited or not available. I am currently working towards my clinical license (LCSW) and offering psychotherapy & social services in both English and Spanish. In the future I wish to open my very own Non-Profit to empower women of color to follow their dreams and encourage higher education.
THE MEANING BEHIND HER VAGA BOUND ROOTS
When I decided I wanted to share my journey and create a blog, I wanted to come up with a name that captured the very essence of who I was but that would also resonate to others' personal stories, and I believe, “Her Vaga Bound Roots” represents just that.
The word “VAGA” in the dictionary is defined as, "someone who is out wandering in the streets with no real destination", usually getting into some kind of trouble. In the Latino culture, VAGA has a negative connotation and being labeled one is frowned upon. Growing up in a strict household, every time I wanted to go out, my parents often told me, “Ay, Wendy otra vez en la calle de Vaga?” or “Solamente te la pasas en la calle de Vaga!” It was their way of communicating to me that a woman had no business in the streets. Yeah, I was a VAGA. I loved going out and being in the streets, but truth is, I was a VAGA chasing my dreams & in search of a better future.
I want to reclaim VAGA.
I want to transform it into a strong, positive and empowering movement.
I want to encourage women to think outside the box, run free, dream BIG & chase after their goals.
I want a VAGA woman to evoke fearlessness, confidence, & most importantly not give a shit about societies “standards”, breaking those very barriers set out to keep us (women) confined.
I want being labeled a VAGA to be empowering. I want a VAGA women to represent the fierce woman who was courageous enough to go out, grab life by the horns and take the world by storm all while pursuing her dreams and aspirations.
While a vaga is defined to have no real destination, I am a Vaga “BOUND” to greatness.
(side note: Vaga Bound is also a word play on the English word: Vagabond).
And lastly, “ROOTS”. I am proud to be a Latina and I have been blessed to be able to experience its rich culture. It is those very traditions that have taught me the morals and values that I so proudly carry in my heart. My cultural values give me the wings I need to fly while also the roots to keep me grounded.
I am a Vaga, but no matter where I go, I will always have my roots to bring me back home.