Latinos Juntos co-president Janessa Mosqueda ‘22 came to LT her sophomore year from the southwest side of Chicago. She lived in West Lawn, a lower-income, minority neighborhood where schools and organizations had readily available resources and support systems for students.
“I was shocked that there seemed to be such a lack of resources for lower-income students,” Mosqueda said about coming to LT. “In such an affluent community I would have expected there to be more support systems for students in need.”
Mosqueda got the idea to open a Care Space at LT to provide for low-income students from former Latinx Liaison Jorge Sanchez. Mosqueda has taken the lead on the space along with her co-president Angelica Borrego ‘22. With their leadership, Latinos Juntos is set to open a Care Space at SC B101.
The space will include school supplies, hygiene products, non-perishable food items, clothing, backpacks, and anything else a student might need to be productive during the school day, Borrego said.
“It can be hard to ask for these things,” Mosqueda said. “Especially if you see other kids around you that have them already. So, if a student needs something, they’ll be able to go in and grab it.”
The care space will also include a prayer space, particularly for Muslim students, Director of Equity and Belonging Dr. Jennifer Rowe said.
“I got emotional when Dr. Rowe said [the care space] would include a room for prayer,” Borrego said. “I usually have to pray on the dirty floor.”
Latinos Juntos has received funding from the LT administration to start collecting and buying items to fill the care space, club sponsor Ibet Herrera said. The club has also received an anonymous donation of $1,000, and plans to host fundraising events for supplies to ensure the space stays fully-stocked year-round.
Though the space is intended to benefit low-income students who may not have access to these necessary items at home, Borrego encourages all students to utilize the space when they need it.
“Every student, at some point, has not remembered to pack a lunch and has been without food,” Borrego said. “I feel that it is unacceptable for students to be hungry, or to go without the items that they need to be an effective learner.”
Latinos Juntos plans to have the space ready sometime between late October and early November, Mosqueda said. They also intend to open a second care space at NC after the first space is well-established.
“I am so proud that we have students in this district that are consistently looking to make LT a safe space for all,” Herrera said.