Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy Juntos Impact in the Gorge region.

June 28th, 2017

Letter from Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy about the Juntos Impact in the Gorge region.

Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy is the Open Campus AmeriCorps Volunteer for Columbia Gorge/Hood River she presented a speech to the Columbia Gorge Community College President last Monday.

"Throughout the entirety of this year, I have had the opportunity to take in the Juntos program.  I was in awe of this program, because it has not been adopted in CA, where I am from.  The need, though, for this type of program is growing and crucial to the success of the students in their education This program is growing more than we can keep up at times, and we want to be able to reach all those that we can with the best programs, while also making sure it’s quality material.

Here in The Dalles, the students have been involved in multiple events.  They held two different fundraisers at Burgerville, so that they could raise funds to go on field trips, since some of them have never been on a college campus.  That was the case when we attended Bridges Day at Portland State University. This event was a success because the students became inspired to go to college.  I overheard one of the students telling another student that he could actually see himself attending PSU, whereas he never really thought about it before.

In October, five of the seniors, very shy in front of people, came forward to speak at the Meyer Memorial Trust event because they knew how much it meant to receive support for Juntos from outside organizations.  They opened up in front of about 30 strangers, telling their story and how Juntos had impacted them as well as their families.  They were also able to connect with the members of this Trust who wanted to keep them aware of opportunities in the job world.

These are two highlights of the year amongst other things such as:

TDHS:

  • -Portland State University field trip
  • -December fundraiser at Burgerville- $60
  • -Know Your Rights workshop volunteering
  • -Mosier Middle School Juntos childcare
  • -April Burgerville fundraiser—about $300
  • -4 seniors won a total of 12 scholarships between themselves
  • -Involved at OSU Family Day
  • -Beaver Hangouts
  • -Monthly volunteering at St. Peter’s church
  • -Volunteered at elementary schools in The Dalles to talk about Juntos program
  • -Meyer Memorial Fund presentation

HRVHS:

  • -Parent teacher conference staff meal fundraiser—about $250
  • -Member (incoming ASB president) started an HRVHS Latino Dance
  • -Involved at OSU Family Day
  • -Two members are Ford Scholar recipients—one of them being undocumented
  • -Western Oregon University Cesar Chavez leadership conference
  • -Know Your Rights workshop volunteering
  • -Beaver Hangouts
  • -After school sessions on college information
  • -Monthly service at FISH Food bank
  • -Attended field trips funded by ASPIRE program to PSU, OSU, U of O

Dr. Toda, thank you for making CGCC a sanctuary campus.  Hearing these students and being inspired by their needs is part of the steps we need to take moving forward.  Where it’s not about equality anymore, but equity. It’s about realizing that everyone has different needs, and for all to be successful, we need to meet everyone where they are.

These students inspire me so much and motivate me only more to work with the Latino population.  They were dedicated when applying to college, scholarships, and other opportunities. They want to be a part of the higher education statistics.

For this reason, I ask you Dr. Toda, Dr. Studebaker, and CGCC staff to reflect on the impact of the Juntos program and its growing need.  Many of your students here have been involved in Juntos, know someone in Juntos and the impact it had on them, or are now involved in CGCC Juntos.  It’s called Juntos for a reason, because they cannot do it alone. We do it together. We need everyone’s efforts to keep moving forward."