Growing up, I found myself drawn to volunteer and service opportunities without much consideration as to how important a role these opportunities played towards my character development. In college, I eventually found myself particularly drawn and invested in one of the Latino student organizations on campus, El Grito De Lares, an inclusive student organization that strives to increase awareness of the heritage of Latinos through the execution of social and cultural events that expose the Fordham community to its rich diversity.
I remained involved with this organization for all four years at Fordham, moving up the leadership ladder as time passed, from Secretary my sophomore year to Senior Vice President my junior year, and President as a senior.
My involvement with El Grito de Lares provided me with countless opportunities to explore my Latino heritage and to network with other student organizations and community based organizations that expanded my knowledge and appreciation of leadership through service. My on-campus involvement coupled with Fordham’s Jesuit way of educating inspired me to work with youth and instilled in me a passion to strive for social justice.
Cura Personalis, Discernment, & Magis
These are three of the many Jesuit values that resonate with me despite personal religious affiliation.
Cura personalis emphasizes caring for the whole person. In other words, “one’s full education consists of more than just one’s intellectual development [...] For without serious moral engagement and attention to one’s deepest desires, intellectual achievement alone becomes stale...”
Discernment is a practice whereby an individual is required to “sift persistently through thoughts, emotions, and desires and, in so doing, to come to understand what generates a sense of internal passion and fulfilment in contrast to what leads toward apathy and emptiness.
Simply put, magis is the more. Seeking magis means to reach for “creative new horizons in. . . the service of others.
Inspired by these values, I became involved with service/social justice-oriented groups.
As a first generation Latina college student and as someone who related to these girls in more ways than one, I felt committed to motivating this group of young Latinas to strive for higher education despite challenging life circumstances.
Club Amigas pairs Fordham Latina undergraduate students with middle school and high school Latinas from the surrounding Bronx community and enters them into a mentor-mentee relationship.
S.T.E.P. is a New York State program that seeks to promote representation of minority and economically disadvantaged students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics career fields.
In March 2016, I travelled to Haiti as part of Fordham’s Global Outreach program, where we worked alongside Restavec Freedom Alliance, whose mission is to provide relief for Restavec children, who are modern-day slaves in Haiti. I consider my time in Haiti to be when I most exemplified and embodied the Jesuit values (cura personalis, discernment, and magis) which are most important to me.
My involvement with these groups led to a defining moment of my Fordham experience;
I developed a deep love and passion for working with youth so much so that I wanted to expand my work with them outside of my home city.
I do indeed believe I have begun setting the world on fire in my own way. I am currently completing a fellowship as a Family Engagement Specialist at Fiver Children’s Foundation in New York City, a non-profit organization that makes a unique ten-year commitment to NYC youth and empowers them to make positive life choices through various programming. My Jesuit education and undergraduate experiences at Fordham follow me throughout this fellowship and continuously move me to apply deep thought, feeling, and reflection to my work at Fiver. Looking into the future, I am positive that my unique educational experience will also play an important role in my pursuit of legal studies.