Nosleivys Falcón is a strong and vital member of the Gainesville community who consistently goes above and beyond to care for those around her.
Falcón is a service coordinator for The Hub student success center, where she helps people plan and gain access to college, careers, mental and behavioral health services and other basic needs. Located on the Gainesville High School campus, The Hub also provides food and clothing to those in need.
Falcón said an average day in her position can greatly vary, which is a trait about her work that she enjoys — especially since it involves working with students in interesting and unique ways.
“So my job in part is to collaborate with our community partners to gather resources for our families and our students,” Falcón said. “That also includes working with our school social worker, with our dual enrollment coordinator and working with our international student coordinators, as well to see what are the needs of our students and families. But I also work with the school counselors, the graduation coaches, teachers and the administration.”
One aspect Falcón is passionate about in her work is taking the time to hear the students tell their stories. Through giving direct, one-on-one attention to at-risk students, Falcón helps put plans in place to get them to graduate from high school and into college.
Falcón has a deep love of community, using three cornerstone points to help those in need. Firstly, she helps kids meet their basic needs — being fed, clothed and sheltered. In pursuit of that goal, The Hub has currently served over 14,000 pounds of food to families. Second, she helps students with their academic and workforce goals, working with local colleges to promote post-secondary education.
“The third pillar of what we do is emotional and behavioral services,” Falcón said. “So at The Hub, we serve kids with counseling services, and we have our own mental health clinician and she's a trauma specialist, and she sees her clients on site. So depending on the needs of our students, we may have them see our clinician or we make recommendations to one of our community partners.”
Falcón is also able to assist international students and community members. With The Hub’s help, she’s served Ukrainian, South American, African, Korean, Caribbean and Haitian families.
“I have always had a passion for helping people and I know that sounds a little bit cliche, but ever since I was little, I just love helping people,” Falcón said. “But I've always had a passion for connecting with my students and helping them beyond the classroom. And prior to that, I was a preschool director here in Gainesville at Smart Starts Day School for about six and a half years. And that job also involved a lot of community outreach and collaboration within the community to help in early childhood education, which is so important.”
Falcón was born in Cuba and came to America when she was 14 years old. After initially living near Miami, Florida, she later moved to Gainesville in 1998. She noted how coming from outside of the United States made it difficult to receive services at times, which is one of her primary motivations in providing them to people through The Hub.
“Being a newcomer myself, I remember when I started in high school how difficult it was, and I look at these kids today, and I'm like, ‘Man, I wish I had these services when I was in high school,’ because there wasn't any of this and the talk of mental health or any other changes that we were going through at the time,” Falcón said.
Falcón left Cuba on a homemade raft created from 55-gallon drums. She and her family, along with several other Cubans, were eventually picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard and taken to Guantanamo Bay. They stayed in a refugee camp, awaiting the opportunity to be sponsored into the United States. Their chance came in early 1995.
Falcón now has two sons, one who is in the Navy and another who is attending the University of North Georgia.
Speaking to women and young girls in honor of International Women’s Day, Falcón emphasized how important it is to trust and believe in your personal ability to overcome.
“I think women — we are very hard on ourselves, and particularly women of minority groups,” Falcón said. “So if I had to say anything, I have to say, believe in the power of self-made strength … we have to be patient with ourselves and understand that, as human beings, we're always a work in progress. So when you find what works for you, and when you find a group of people that help you be that better person that you see yourself being, hold on to that.”