Back Home
July 10, 2019

“What AFSCME has meant to our family”

Diego Andrade-Cabrera, the son of AFSCME Local 2854 member Doris Andrade, has been awarded a 2019 AFSCME Family Scholarship because of his excellent academic and extracurricular achievements at Albert G. Lane Technical High School in Chicago. This is an excerpt from his application essay.

“2014 was a life-changing time for my mother and me. She unexpectedly lost her job in November of 2013. A couple months passed, and she still could not find suitable employment. She spent her days filling out countless job applications, contacting companies, and even volunteering for non-profit organizations.

“I was starting to feel some of her desperation once we passed the six-month mark of no income. My mom seemed very anxious, even though she tried to hide it. She had exhausted all her options and she was running out of money to pay the mortgage of our house.

“On June 27, 2014, after eight months of dreadful waiting, my mom received a phone call that would impact our lives forever. Immediately after she got off the phone, I recall her jumping with joy and squealing with excitement. She exclaimed that she accepted a position to work for the Illinois Department of Human Services. She was ecstatic.

“Her position came with critical benefits that would allow her to work without worrying about saving for retirement, taking sick days, suffering from pay-cuts, utilizing vacation days, affordable health insurance, and much more. I now realize that all that is possible because she benefits from the accomplishments of a union. As soon as my mom began her new job, she joined the local union because she understands that workers must support their unions in order to preserve the benefits they have.

“Thanks to AFSCME, my mother has the benefits she needs to help me succeed. She can call off work to take me to medical appointments, she has breaks during her workday to check up on me, and she took time off to meet every single teacher during my time in high school.

“It means a lot to me knowing that my mother will support me. Her undying support is only possible because her union has battled for workers’ benefits. Being a part of the AFSCME means that my family has a support network that ensures my mom will always have an unbreakable community of public service workers backing her up.

“AFSCME has taught my family a life lesson: Fight for what you believe in and don’t stop until you achieve it.” 

To learn more about scholarship opportunities for AFSCME members, retirees and their children, visit