BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — In the Southmost area of Brownsville, Martha Gonzalez has dedicated her life helping children and adults facing lifelong challenges.

Gonzalez is the Executive Director of The Big Heroes Center who started organization after she saw special needs students cry at graduation.

“I said no, that’s unacceptable, we need to do something, so we did,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez decided to leave her job as an educator and pursue her “higher purpose”, what she believes is her calling, to give differently abled adults the skills they need to live healthy, happy and productive lives.

“When our daughter graduated from high school there was nothing else for her. She’s not at the level where she could work but we didn’t want her sitting in the house doing nothing,” A Big Heroes Dad told ValleyCentral.

Gonzalez started her Big Heroes journey with a much smaller facility at Central Boulevard, but in 2022 after many prayers moved into a bigger location in Dockberry.

“The student in the hat, he in particular in our prayer circle in the morning he said we need to pray for a bigger building, and it kind of stuck,” Gonzalez said. “We started at ground zero we prayed on it so much and we’re at this point.”

Big Heroes continues to grow and teach life and job skills as well as training, health and wellness. The skills being taught at the organization are paying off as half of the students are employed.

“That’s one of our goals with Big heroes, getting all our students employed. We want to make sure they know and understand the importance of being a good employee,” Gonzalez told ValleyCentral. “Getting to work on time, hygiene the responsibilities of having job, and once they’re there, being a team player.”

Gonzalez also teaches her students about money management, to make sure their money last from pay period to pay period.

“We have seen our students once they get that first paycheck, you see the self esteem go through the roof! They’re happy, we’re happy for them, we’re celebrating!,” Gonzalez added.

Not only is Gonzalez the Excecutive Director of Big Heroes, but also a wife, a mother and a part-time realtor.

“My family, my husband, I have two boys. They’ve helped me out so much and they’ve seen how happy this makes our student, how happy I am!,” Gonzalez said.

She also enjoys caring for the animals on her farmstead, which she considers as her therapy. She said it grounds her and gives her the energy she needs to continue helping her students.

Gonzalez, is one of our Remarkable Women Finalist, living her purpose of helping and teaching differently abled adults the skills they need so they can live their purpose too.