Vilma Molina has been working at The Hamlin School for 19 years, supporting the kitchen that feeds our community.
Tell us something about your childhood?
I’m from Chalchuapa, El Salvador, not far from the border with Guatemala. Much of the area is Mayan, but my family only spoke Spanish. My childhood was very tranquil. I grew up with four sisters and one brother. I loved listening to music and dancing. I danced cumbia, merengue, and salsa. I also liked to go to the movies and watch John Travolta. I really liked the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and disco music too. I graduated from a public high school in 1979. The Civil War in El Salvador started in 1980, I left that same year with my mother to go to the United States. I had a brother-in-law who was killed in the war, but the rest of my family survived.
What is your favorite part about working at Hamlin?
Being with the girls at lunch. They give me hugs, tell me about their plans for the weekend, sometimes share stories about other people they know from El Salvador. I also like the morning ritual of being the first one here to open the doors, I get here at 5:15 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. every day.
What is one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
I have two sons, one is 35, the other is 29, they both live in San Francisco. I also have a three-year old granddaughter named Olivia. I’m a grandmother.
Do you have a favorite hobby?
I love to cook. I find recipes and cook Italian food, Chinese food, all sorts of dishes, but I can’t make papusas (a traditional Salvadoran food). I do make pan rellenos (bread covered with tomato and chile sauce) for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also love to make bean, pork, and chicken tamales.
What advice do you have for Hamlin students?
I’m Catholic, so I believe they should count their blessings. Thank God for everything. They have beautiful opportunities that other girls don’t have. Everyday I see how the girls respect and protect each other, that should continue.