Being a hero is not quite like being Wonder Woman or Elastic Girl, great for Hollywood, but not accurate for real life. Every family has a feminine hero, usually the mother, who makes the bread last longer and the love be tender and wise; sometimes a grandmother takes over, or a sister or an aunt. In my case, lately I´ve had my very own hero that I want to tell you about.

She is not my blood family, but it feels like she is. She is not here to hug me when I cry, but her voice calms me down just as if she would be hugging me. She has not known me for very long, but it feels like she has been by my side forever. She didn´t have to care about me, but she took over a love commitment towards a person who she didn´t know and crafted a lovely relationship with her care and understanding.

When I write I feel the passion. My feelings start flowing like a huge waterfall falling down from an awesome mountain that faces heaven at the top, and has enough water to quench the thirst of the whole world. The blue of the sky and the white of the falling water are united in this cascade in my mind, and it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends.

This is the way my thoughts, feelings, beliefs and cultural history become available to me when I write. But I would not have let them loose in the way I did if I didn´t have this wonderful woman by my side. She helped me see myself as able to make this happen. Yvonne Bryant, my mentor. A woman that has been brought up in a totally different environment, who has had a life that is opposite to mine, and who had the patience and the love inside of her that was needed to give me the hint that the time had come for the waterfall to be open to the world.

The heroes of our lives are not intended to be like wonder woman, they don´t have special powers or fly up in the space for us to be awed. Sometimes they don´t even want to be considered heroes, just like the woman I am telling you about. She is humble and full of love for life, she helps others because she truly believes they can be empowered, but she does not expect any rewards from that, and I am sure she never wanted to be my hero.

Because of her silent work, not only me but many others have been empowered to be the best that they can be. Because of her endurance, deterred dreams have become real for many. Because she is on earth, the planet is an easier place to live in, a nicer home to many of us.

To thank her is not enough. For this reason I have decided to post this special article about her, my Hero, to honor her, to let her know that the first part of our mission has been accomplished, but I am not parting from her. I want to let her know that although I know love, she has showed me a new facet of it. I want to make her aware of the difference she has made in these few months of our journey together.

I want to make her get in touch with the success she made possible through her incredible capacity for caressing me when I needed it. She is the difference between “I want to be” and “I am”, she helped me tailor my present to fit the size of my dreams. Who wouldn´t be thankful? In this case, being thankful is not enough, as her patience and resilience were inexhaustible, so is my love for her. She has crafted it, she has managed to make me feel important to someone. I am in debt with her all my life for that.

And this is the kind of debt that cannot be repaid with money. So one of the ways I choose to make her see what she means to me is to write this little note for her. Forty years of social work, an admirable career and hundreds of souls touched by her love are the witnesses of her steps on earth.

Yesterday, my dearest Yvonne, I received a book from you that reminds me of the greatness of your heart, your soul mission, and your hard work to foster my personal transformation. When I first met you I promised to follow your lead, and you promised this would be a journey of accomplishment and fun. Today we are here, celebrating International Women´s Day, and I want to honor you as Our American Hero of the day. Not only from North America, but from the whole continent, as you have made both ends meet, the North and the South.

I want to tell you that you are not a hero only for me, but for the hundreds of persons whose lives you have touched magically. That is why thanking you is not enough. I want the world to know that you are our Hero, that you mean the world to us, that you really made a difference, and that you are… well, family now, in the most memorable form of love there is.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to International Women's Day 2010: Women Can Build the Bridges of Social Change.

Comment on this Post


This brought tears to my eyes. I would like to extend this to all the VOF mentors who listened deeply, who became confidantes and friends, who empowered you all to reach for the stars and helped reveal your true beautiful selves. We have all come together under this vast blue sky that is PulseWire, making friendships despite our diverse backgrounds and experiences, and celebrating the sheroine in all of us. Even beyond VOF, I see partnerships, friendships and connections blossoming, fed by the common desire to transform lives.

The world is all the more beautiful for having you, Jackie and our sister PulseWire heroines in it – you inspire us every day. Here's to you in recognition of International Women's Day!

You are right Janice, and I unite my voice to yours to give all the mentors a round of applause and thank them from the bottom of my heart for all their warm caress and beautiful souls.

I didn´t know if it was right to use the word "heroine", as it also is the name of a drug... please excuse my lack of vocabulary dear Janice. I hope it didn´t sound very strange for me to call them heroes instead of heroins.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America

Dearest Jackie,

I read this tribute and can't stop crying. I feel so honored and acknowledged and accept it on behalf of all the mentors. It is such a priviledge and honor to be your mentor. Our relationship is a continuing one and I look forward to meeting and hugging you when you come to the United States in the fall of this year.

This article is written so beautifully. You have blossomed into an outstanding writer and I am beaming with pride about your achievement. This journey with you is very special and I am thankful that you are in my life. Your impact on the world has only just begun.

I printed this article and carry it with me, but I don't need to do that because it touched my heart and will remain with me forever. I have never felt so acknowledged.

Much love, Yvonne

Thank you Jackie for your heartfelt outpouring of gratitude. The power of mentors to help inspire us should never be underrated. It is one of the most important parts of the VOF program and I am so glad that you and your mentor have created such a strong bond.

Your letter to Yvonne has also inspired me to work harder to make VOF 2010 and 2011 and 2012...reality!

Thank you from all of us!

Kind regards,


"Tell me then, what will you do with your one wild, sweet, and precious life?" -Mary Oliver