3 years ago
“My family immigrated from Mexico when I was 11. We were getting threats from people, and if we’d stayed, we would’ve probably gotten killed. So we ended up in California’s Central Valley. The Central Valley really formed who I was. It’s agriculturally based, a huge agricultural and immigrant community. I worked in the fields at a really young age with my mom. “So growing up very poor, I think it humbled me a lot. There are kids who came from Central America or Mexico, and they don’t get to go to school. They’ve got to work, because they have family back home that’s starving. So I’m not going to school just for me. This isn’t even for me. It’s, one, for God, and two, for my family and the people that I work with and are around me. I know there are serious circumstances that keep them from going to school, but how can my education help them in the future? How can I go back to the Valley and help my people? “I was president of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) until last semester. This year, I wanted to take my skills and everything I’ve learned at North Park, and apply to it the real world. So I’m an intern this semester at the YMCA headquarters, working in the diversity and inclusion department, focusing on how to push diversity and inclusion at a national and global level. If it weren’t for the Faith and Justice Team, LASO, and my major, I wouldn’t be so focused on this work.” Last fall, Carmen was honored as one of the top students in the state, receiving the Student Laureate Award and an educational grant from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
Carmen Velazquez-Alvarez C’2016
Conflict Transformation Studies Major
Certificate in Nonprofit Management