Against All Odds

September 8, 2017 By easternmagazine
Couple wearing law enforcement uniforms

Cristina Santana’s small stature and quiet, comforting manner are nearly lost in her sizable bulletproof vest. She roams the streets of Sunnyside, Washington, with her husband, Arturo, whose medium-sized build fits his T-shirt labeled U.S. Probation in large, yellow letters on his back. They walk with confidence among the streets of their hometown, often stopped by passersby for a quick hello.

The Santanas’ confidence and determination to beat their obstacles led them to where they are today – Cristina, a community corrections officer in Sunnyside; Arturo, a federal probation officer in Yakima.

For Arturo, the influence of gang and drug activity in his hometown of Sunnyside didn’t stop him from pursuing his goal of higher education. For Cristina, the lack of support from her parents didn’t end her dream for something beyond working in the asparagus fields. Together, their obstacles didn’t prevent them from graduating high school and becoming first-generation college students at and graduates of Eastern.