Maria: I was born in Havana, Cuba

I was born in Havana, Cuba, and I’m the youngest of three girls.

My world changed completely when Castro took power in 1959. Castro started to take the children, separating them from their parents.

So, of course my parents were just extremely afraid. They didn’t know what to do. And finally, my mother, through a contact she had, found out about a program called the Pedro Pan program, which brought about 13,000 children to the United States.

So in October of 1961, I was taken to the airport and I was put on a plane and I landed in Miami, Florida. The decision to do that was not an easy decision.

But my parents, of course, had my safety and the freedom and my future in mind.

There are many, many things that I learned from that experience.

It’s helped me understand the problems that my customers go through when they come to this country.

My customers, when they come to my office and they sit in front of me, I try to explain a little bit about how things work here in the United States.

They want to do the right thing. So my role is to educate them and to help them.

Trust is the base of everything. I think in life, in everything you do, trust has to be the most important thing.

And with my customers, that trust is earned little by little.

My mother - one of the things she told me was, “I will not be there to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. So you’re going to have to make your own decisions, and follow your conscience.”

And she also said, you know, just follow your dream.

This story is just one of many unique, personal perspectives on being a State Farm® agent.