COLUMBUS (WCMH) – One Columbus woman is showing little girls everywhere that dreams can come true through hard work.

Lourdes Barroso De Padilla won a seat on the Columbus City Council in last week’s general election and starting Jan. 1, she will be the first Latina to hold a city council seat.

Growing up, De Padilla didn’t see any Latinas on the council, which is why she knew, even at a young age, her purpose was to help her community, especially after the hardships her parents endured as refugees who came to Columbus.

De Padilla remembers as a child, her parents worked long hours with little pay. For her household, it was the basics they strived to have access to.

“A lot of times what your parents are working hard for is providing the basic needs, but they don’t really understand all of the systems,” she said. “So, it’s a lot of you having to take charge of your life and your future.”

Though she didn’t get a college degree, she understood the importance of working hard, listening to others, and wanting more for her community.

“I remember taking college classes and it was so interesting sitting in these classes where people were talking about books and theories, and I had very practical knowledge,” De Padilla said. “People would talk about communities and how communities work and I’d be, like, ‘That’s not how a community works.’”

Now, as council member-elect, she’ll get to share some unique perspectives that will hopefully address some of the many challenges in her city.

“If we want to tackle generational poverty, if we want to tackle violence in the city, affordable housing, we need to look at the systems that create those situations,” De Padilla said.

She hopes to inspire other people, not just Latinos, to be the next generation of voices and faces for the city.