Monday, June 14, 2010

El Día de Juventud

Hispanic Youth Day

This summer I wanted to volunteer. I didn't think it would be that hard... The local churches didn't have many outreaches; the Salvation Army YELLED at me; the soup kitchen didn't need any more help; and lastly, I called a local Catholic church. The secretary gave me six different organizations in a matter of 15 minutes. My mouth dropped to the floor with all the (good) temptation. To make a long story short, after I found my Hispanic ministry connection with Sister Cecilia, they quickly got me on board with the different events.

This past Saturday, I volunteered at an event called, "Hispanic Youth Day." It was the Protestant version of a one-day VBS. It was glorious. AND BEST OF ALL.... I was trapped in by 90 HISPANIC CHILDREN. That's what some people (or just me) would call heaven on earth.

Having volunteered with various companies and organizations in the past 10 years, one of my biggest pet peeves is when they don't really need my help. I like for them to keep me BUSY with work. Use me up, by golly! Well, from 8:30am-5:30pm, they most definitely did. From small group discussions, to serving tables, to helping with art projects, to distributing prizes, and just speaking Spanish to my heart's content.

Here comes the teacher-ese talk: BEWARE. I find that second generation children -- meaning they are living in the USA but their parents are natives of another country -- are by far the most interesting case study within the linguistics world. Their accents, the intercultural experiences, and their perspectives on the two languages they speak. In the majority of cases, the children have this rebellious period where they don't see the point of L2 (which in this case would be Spanish, since English is the primary language of the surrounding environment). Interesting to observe and think about.

Anyway, by the end of the day, most of the cuties knew me as the crazy, Spanish-speaking Isabel. It tends to be a pattern in my life. At least, they didn't call me "jirafa" this time. :)

I don't know how to explain my passion to most people, especially with all the economic tension in the air surrounding immigration policies. If I personally am being insulted and pressured because of my passion for the Spanish language and culture, I can only imagine what the illegal AND legal Mexicans must hear and endure. I am in no way in favor of breaking our Constitution or the laws of the United States, but neither am I in favor of unempathetic and hateful comments hurled at the Hispanic society in an egocentric way. Take it or leave it. I am neither stating a political belief here nor will I elaborate upon its sub-categories; I merely want to make an observation. Politically, I actually see both sides of the spectrum. Nonetheless, I would encourage anyone reading this to make an effort to separate the illegal actions from the person himself -- which is required a lot in life, no?

Well, I don't where that tangent came from, but I decided to keep it in my blog. It gives a small picture of the things I've heard in this last year I suppose. Please leave comments if desired. :)

In the meantime, I am off to see if any soup kitchen in the whole state of Illinois or Missouri might need my services...


  1. I am lovin' the new blog format! Though I am surprised that you chose pink undertones here.

  2. Good thoughts, Kerrie! Can't believe the SalvArm yelled at you... That's disappointing. :-(

  3. haha, I love that at the end of your search, you called a Catholic church and found 6 choices! Sounds about right to me ;)