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Another Voice: Juntos program ‘critical to success of students in their education’


Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy, far right, with a group of Juntos participants. Juntos (“together” in Spanish) works to empower families around education.

Submitted photo
Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy, far right, with a group of Juntos participants. Juntos (“together” in Spanish) works to empower families around education.

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 California, where I am from. The need, though, for this type of program is growing and is 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.

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Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy

In Hood River, the students have assisted at the Know Your Rights workshop by providing childcare, and volunteered at organizations such as FISH Food Bank and The Next Door. Some students also traveled to Western Oregon University for the Cesar E. Chavez leadership conference, where they had the opportunity to meet other Latino students across Oregon. On top of it all, two of our Juntos students are Ford Scholar recipients, headed to Oregon State University and Western Oregon University.

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 others, such as:

  • 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
  • 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 Portland State University, Oregon State University and University of Oregon

Dr. Toda, thank you for making CGCC a sanctuary campus. Hearing these students and being inspired by their needs are 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.

Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy serves the Juntos program as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest/AmeriCorps volunteer as an OSU Extension Service program assistant.

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