Claudia I. Tapia: Opening Doors for Latinos

By Ana Gomez Salcido IMG_7730

Claudia I. Tapia, a first generation daughter of two Mexican immigrants, has dedicated her life to helping the Hispanic community to be well educated when English is their second language.
Tapia was born in Lynwood, a city in Los Angeles County, but was raised in Riverside by her father, from the Mexican state of Durango, and her mother, from the state Mexican state of Jalisco.
Tapia says that when she was growing up, her father, who studied English, often had understanding contract clauses, often known as “the fine print,” and what these clauses entail.
“I saw my parents struggling whenever they needed a service that included a contract,” said Tapia. When my father was going to buy something like a car, the dealers didn’t explain to him all the details. There was always something, and then he would argue with the dealer.”
These situations were something that Tapia saw as she was growing up. Today, Claudia I. Tapia helps the Hispanic community avoid these kinds of problems through Abriendo Puertas USA.
“‘The fine print’ are details that are left out by error or convenience, someone may think the clients are not going to sign a contract if they explain what this means, which is something I see everyday,” Tapia said. “Just yesterday I was talking with a family who recently bought a solar panel system. They needed help because they were charged around $10,000 than the initial contract stated, which is $260 more each month. The family says they were pressured by the contractor to sign more papers so he could finish his work and in the end, they couldn’t pay. This is something that happens very often.”
Abriendo Puertas USA has education as one of its main goals, this with the aim of further growth and development in Spanish-speaking families and guiding them to make better decisions in the future. Through workshops and free seminars, all in Spanish, Abriendo Puertas USA meets an area of need in the Hispanic community.
This organization has the backing and support of professionals in the most relevant issues and with other organizations that share their mission, to develop effective and educational programs for Hispanic families.
“We sit down and scroll through the contract with you. We do charge a minimal amount, but you will have at some notion of what you are signing,” Tapia explained. “Us Hispanics are a very reactive community and we need feel the need to be proactive. There are a lot of mediums that we can look for to get information and avoid problems.”
Tapia established Abriendo Puertas USA in 2009 in Vista shortly after moving to San Diego County. Tapia, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from National University and has been a real estate agent since 2001, brings years of vast experience to her organization.
Shortly before founding Abriendo Puertas USA, Tapia was watching an infomercial in a Spanish-language channel where two men were trying to scare people people into purchasing their services.
“The guys on TV were saying that if you didn’t call them, a sheriff’s officer would go to your house and was going to leave you homeless. They were trying to scare the community,” Tapia remembered. “And that’s when the idea of Abriendo Puertas USA was born, I talked to a friend to put in a TV show to get the truth out about what was happening with the housing market crash and to tell the people what was the best thing to do to try to solve their problems.”
Abriendo Puertas USA also created a Spanish-Language magazine back in September 2015 to let the Hispanic community know more about relevant issues and to help share knowledge about legal, health, and other issues, as well as keeping the community updated about social problems, and economic issues. Since this past September, Abriendo Puertas Magazine has been published online.
Tapia also mentioned that she is currently working on a new project called Alianzas Unidas, a non-profit organization through which companies and business owners can undergo a set of certifications that will prove their work is ethical.
“I want to create an organization that people can know they can approach so they can find services with commitment and know that if the contractors don’t do their services well, we are going to advocate for the client,” Tapia stated.
The idea behind Alianzas Unidas came from the process that people who are involved in real estate fraud cases have to go through.
“When someone is a fraud victim in a real estate process they can go to the District Attorney’s office and I’m someone that in cases helps the victim to formalize their complaint,” Tapia shared. “I talk to the families and I learn about what happened. When I sit with the families I can feel their desperation because of this economic abuse.”
With Alianzas Unidas, Tapia is trying to prevent Hispanics from being victims of fraud and trying to connect the community with  companies and businesses committed  to quality service.
“My goal is to leave a legacy for my children so they can continue to carry the organization and have chapters at a national level,” said the mother of three. “I want my children to grow, and have a platform that teaches them to be good persons, and help others.”

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