The Lady Has a Big Mission, cont.

One of her goals is to help others see the value of increasing their education. These include her two sisters, Doris, 33, who lives on Long Island, and Ada, 28, who’s in her second semester at Moravian after seeing Erlinda’s experience there.

Ada can tell you about Erlinda’s persuasive ways as well. This full-time working mother of two is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in economics in Moravian’s evening division. “When I first started looking at colleges, I didn’t know where to begin,” Ada says. “Erlinda connected me to the right people. She took so much of her personal time to help with the application and registration process. Whenever I need her, she’s just a phone call away.”

Agron knows that a balanced life comes from the successful integration of the personal and professional existences, and she credits her children for helping her achieve that balance.

“My kids definitely help,” Agron says. “They know I’d work 24 hours a day if I could, if I know I can do something good. My kids have been my reason to go on and my strength.” Her companion, Ed DeGrace, a chemist who’s also a community activist, helps as well. “He supports me and shares my life.”

Even with her full plate of family commitments and community meetings, Agron enjoys other sides of life. She likes music, goes to the movies (Signs, with Mel Gibson, the story of a Pennsylvania farmer dealing with crop circles and aliens, was a particular favorite this summer) and works out. Step aerobics and kick-boxing are part of her exercise routine.

Staying in shape is the antidote to another of her interests: exploring the varieties of food offered on the South Side. “I love the wonderful desserts at On Broadway and the great Middle Eastern food at the Olive Branch!” But the activist in her also saw an opportunity at the Olive Branch. She helped the owners develop flyers and other marketing materials for their business.

The success of the local business community is never far from her thoughts.

“If I know I can do better or more, I like to achieve it.” To succeed, she knows, Latino businesses must expand their appeal beyond the South Side. That’s where some of her business acumen will be called upon. “I’m stubborn,” she says. “I like to fix things.”

With that, she’s off again. In the community she serves, there’s always someone else out there who needs her help.

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