SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- One bilingual realtor in Springfield is helping Hispanic families achieve their dreams of owning a home in the Ozarks.

Gabriela Verdugo said her calling in life changed in 2020 from working at a gym to where she is now.

“COVID happened, and the gym closed and then I didn’t have much going on anymore,” said Verdugo.

Her passion changed to helping the Hispanic population in Springfield become homeowners who were either living in mobile homes or renting. Verdugo’s background as an immigrant herself pushed her to show people the opportunities in a new country.

“I’m showing them that there is always a way. For some, it may take a little bit longer; for some, there may be some hoops to jump through, but there’s always a way. You have the freedom to do many, many things, and people don’t know that they have the freedom to do that,” said Verdugo.

She has seen many clients become hesitant to work with her, but speaking Spanish has helped them warm up to Verdugo.

“I think that people are scared first of all … of being open to someone about their financial situation or work history … also I think it’s very important that they feel better with someone that speaks Spanish,”

Verdugo moved to Springfield after she finished college in Ohio. Since the start of 2021, she has helped 50 families become homeowners.

“They are hard-working people; they take a lot of pride in being here — every single day, all they do is for their families, so they did something even bigger for them,” she says.

Verdugo’s main goal was not about money or meeting a home buying quota but rather being able to help her people.

“I didn’t come into this thinking about money, I didn’t think about I wanna help this number of people or sell this number of homes. I wanted to learn as much information for I could help my people. Most of my clients don’t know it’s even happening. They are signing the closing documents, and they are shaking – just because they cannot even believe it,” she says.

Verdugo enjoys helping families coming to the U.S. achieve their American dream.

“Yes, that’s the American dream – own a home, own a car – have a good job … there you go … “

You can watch our 30-minute Hispanic Heritage special Friday, Oct. 1, at 10 p.m. on KRBK and Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. on KOZL.