Page 1

Sharing Our Laurels


Jobs, Training and Immigration Reform Whenever the economy goes sour we start hearing talks about further training as though it is always one's deficiency or fault that one is unemployed. The economy now is in such a shape that more and more people with college degrees are applying for jobs that high school dropouts can handle. Nevertheless, as it happens every spring, a tsunami of graduations is overwhelming college campuses throughout the country, even though most of the graduates of the last couple of years are still unemployed and with no prospects of employment in sight. Still, thousands and thousands more are picking up their degrees and applying for jobs in order to start the process of paying off their student loans. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that for the next ten years the US economy will be generating, at the best, twice more low-skilled jobs than those requiring higher education. Whether we refer to low- or even to high-skilled jobs, this is an employer's market, for some years to come. Whoever invested years of their lives (plus borrowed huge amounts of money to obtain whatever training they got) will not be necessarily willing to submit themselves to employers that are disregardful of those fixtures. Historically, this is when many employers start actively seeking immigrants while many others start pressing their representatives in Congress for legislation reforms, suitable to their labor force needs. In his drive to bring about economic recovery in the 1980s, President Reagan was determined to help the employers: Besides tax relief, he insisted with the US congress to pass what became the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. He did not want employers to leave the USA with their jobs and taxes. In general, lowskills jobs command low pay; typically, these are jobs that US citizens balk at. So, unless our workplace is re-organized to provide living wages to low-skilled jobs, the influx of immigrants will remain, regardless of whatever “fixing” we do in our border. We can not oversimplify immigration as a border's problem: The Chinese, centuries ago, and the Soviets in the 1960s, not to speak of the Israelis more recently, tried to solve their “border's problem” by building walls and we know how (in)effective such a strategy was. Unless, our labor



market is fixed, “aliens” will continue coming through the border to pick up our vegetables, to slaughter our poultries and pigs, to landscape our yards, to clean our offices, to fix our homes, to cook our food, to wash our dishes, to care for our seniors, to nanny our children and so on. Otherwise, a lot of families and businesses will not do well enough to survive in this economy. Nonetheless, in recessionary times, these very same people responsible for the health of our economy are blamed for all the maladies of society. It happened so many times before, said the other day journalist Vicente Serrano, the grandson of one of the victims of one of the xenophobic moments of the US history in the early 1930s: “Not only the economy was suffering from a deep depression but also no one had any clue on how to get it out of the doldrum,” he added. The pseudo-solution?! The deportation of whoever the powers-that-be decided that did not belong here: Over two million people were “repatried” to México, albeit so many thousands of them had been born in this country. In a hodgepodge of bad humor, ignorance and racism, the Hoover Administration called it “Mexican repatriation.” In fact, it was out of this weltanschuung that Mr. Serrano decided to highlighten such a gross violation of people's most basic civil liberty and constitutional right by putting together a documentary-A Forgotten Injustice-that Universidad Popular's participants watched a few times last winter as a part of their civic education issues forums. Last fall Illinois passed a law (SB1557) mandating our high school history textbooks to cover this dark chapter of the US history hoping to prevent the repetition of this brand of xenophobic policies. This spring, however, the State of Arizona enacted a legislation very similar to the one that exiled, ostracized Mr. Serrano's grandmother to a foreign land, México, despite her California's birth. In a clear demonstration that politicians are not to be trusted, Senator McCay, once a self-proclaimed champion of immigration reform, had no hesitation whatsoever laying his support behind Arizona's SB1070. Should Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff, have decided to run for Arizona's governorship, most likely he would beat Jan Brewer this upcoming fall. A recent poll there showed his popularity approval to be higher than 70%! In other words, it would be a mistake to see him as

DR. ELIO DEARRUDAH BOARD PRESIDENT an anomaly. In fact, SB1070 is nothing more than the application to the entire state of what this immigrant-hunting sheriff has been doing in his county for many years. Therefore, it is not wise to demonize the “Arpaios” of the world; chances are that they mean well but do not necessarily know any better, perhaps: They target workplaces and workers; deportation seems to be their way to address the unemployment problem in the country. Immigrants are about building communities, about adding value to society. Show a strong economy anywhere in the world and we will be able to pinpoint a correlation with immigrants there as well. In modern times, no economy has been as powerful as ours; likewise, no country in the world has had an immigration influx stronger that the one to the USA. Therefore, any elected official that is serious about rebuilding our economy would have by now done his or her best efforts to push through the US congress a reform to our immigration laws. Given its complexity, immigration reform is always controversial and time consuming. Meanwhile, President Obama, if he were serious about it, could have at least come up with executive orders to address some of the current immigration issues. Instead, his administration has been splitting families, ruining communities and deporting immigrants much faster, much more effectively than the previous administration did. At times, it appears determined to deport immigrants as a way to deal with the current unemployment rate. It is worthwhile to notice that Mr. Obama run his campaign promising to look after Main Street; since immigrants are at the bottom of it, there was a lot of hope there. However, when time to govern came up, Mr. Obama filled his cabinet positions and his many commissions with notorious Wall Street representatives to advice him on reforms and changes “that we can believe.” Thus far, “work” on immigration has always boiled down to “fixing” the southern border of the country. As a result, multi-million dollar contracts have been awarded to well-connected companies to erect walls, place satellites and other high-tech surveillance systems, plus stationing thousands of border patrol's boots on the ground to keep “aliens” from responding to our broken labor market. Here is where Mr. Obama could easily use the bully pulpit to educate the nation. Given the widespread misinformation about the role of immigration in our economy, it is clear that those sincerely concerned about the country's economic recovery need to act. In such a process, immigrants are assets, not liabilities. Public figures, the media, the clergy, researchers, academicians, civic leaders, community organizers and other data-driven voices need to speak

up on this topic, before further fragmentations occur in our society. In general, politicians are not responsible enough, unfortunately, to address this matter in the interest of the economic recovery of our communities. We saw, recently for example, how “our” representatives in Springfield dealt with the state budget and the economic recovery; they are committed to themselves, not to their districts, not to us the taxpayers. They are pretty good in running their mouths and making all kinds of promises, but, in the end, very few of them dare to do the right thing and deliver on their own promises. This is where civic organizations such as Universidad Popular can come in and force elected officials to do their job, i.e., to represent our interest, not necessarily theirs! Likewise, at national level the picture is no different. In view of the widespread xenophobic climate, politicians will not hesitate in backpedaling away from immigration reform positions or even to go against it. As a result, the task of informing, educating those with whom we work about this issue is upon us. Due to his commitment to do something about the healthcare situation, President Obama worked tiredlessly to get it done. He went to the media networks, travelled all over the country stumping for it, met with editorial boards, lobbied Congress and managed to get something out of it. Will he do the same as far as immigration reform goes? Most definitely, this is a question for voters to answer!




A Juggling Act Despite its apparent simplicity, the work that not-for-profit

of its outreach capability:

organizations, such as Universidad Popular, do is quite complex

It has allowed us to

especially in light of the growing challenges presented to our

stretch our services way beyond our original modalities and

communities and families by the new constructs that are being brought

boundaries. Through summits, workshops, seminars, roundtable

up all the time not only by general assemblies across this country but

sessions, coalitions, town-hall meetings, networking, neighborhoods

also by the US Congress.

Increasingly, we have seen pieces of

issues forums and the like, we have been able to offer some of the

legislation being enacted without the due appropriation, which causes

elements that our participants need to inform, enlighten, educate and

even more hardships to not-for-profit agencies delivering badly needed

empower themselves.

services in low-income neighborhoods. In times such as these, not-forprofit organizations need, more than ever, all the support possible; in

Although very effective, not everything can be done within the

many ways, they complement a lot of the work that our government

confines of a classroom, chiefly when the bulk of our participants are

should be doing. For this reason, like so many other not-for-profit

youth, adults and seniors: Their life experiences have to be taken into

organizations in Illinois, we at Universidad Popular are constantly

account. Consequently, we kept on finding ourselves in the last twelve

reviewing the way we carry out our mission. We can no longer do our

months constantly trying to balance the classroom work with a slew of

work in the same way we have done in the past; there was a time when

external activities, including trips to Springfield and Washington, D.C. All

the bulk of our services was done overwhelmingly by volunteers on a

along we have taken precautions for one effort or initiative to feed the

one-to-one or small-group fashions.

other and vice-versa. To an extent, this has been a juggling act. However, the problem with juggling acts is that they can be extremely stressful: Not

Today's challenge is massive. The pressure to deliver a body of

to drop the ball, one's eyes have to be constantly watchful, 24/7.

knowledge (that is forever expanding) does not dwindle, mainly in view of the growing population of those in need. This explains why we

In other words, juggling acts tend to be short-lived. It is

have been finding ourselves having to do a great deal more of work

unconceivable that so many of our elected officials have considered

with a lot less provisions. Such praxis has a very limited life, though:

balancing the state budget at the expense of services needed by

It can not go on effectively for a too extended period of time. When

communities such as the ones with which we work. This situation is

government fails to deliver badly needed services, not-for-profit

forcing non-profits to juggle more and more efforts, events and

organizations get swamped with people in need. It is a fact that not-

activities to insure service delivery. This on-going situation in Illinois is

for-profits tend to be much more effective and efficient than

creating a “juggling culture� among non-for-profit organizations that

governmental agencies. Therefore, especially in recessionary times

feel compelled to serve the people that come to our doors, despite the

such as this, not-for-profits should be the getting a lot more (and not a

State's degree of (un)accountability to their needs. The work has been

lot less, if any) provisions. Nevertheless, this is precisely what we

hard, much harder than ever before, but this is precisely the reason that

currently see in Illinois; certainly, it does not make much sense.

caused Universidad Popular to come to light in the early 1970s. It is clear, more than ever before, that unless a lot more than just a few of us


In this particular stage of our development, digital technology has

get our will, voices and action together, the establishment will continue

been instrumental in the process of recreating ourselves, mainly in view

to be taking us for granted. In fact, it is precisely to prevent it from




About a Learning Experience This was a tough learning year for me. More than ever before,

we were going to have to go through within a matter of a few months.

I realized that we learn in different ways. Some of the learnings

The problems escalated so fast, catching me so unprepared that a few

come easy but some others tend to be painful, very painful.

times I came close to quit it all.

Whatever is the case, though, at the end of the experience we always earn something useful, some additional weapons for our

One of the positive outcomes out of all these pain and suffering

arsenal of tools in the battle for our lives. During some of these

is that I got to know my co-workers much better and learned to

learning processes there are moments of fear, doubt and confusion.

interact with them, despite our diversity of views, opinions and

Oftentimes, we do not even know what is the purpose, what is the

strategies. Before these troubles, I had never taken the time to meet

lesson, if any, out to much confusion and “dolor”. I do believe in

them, to get to know their interests, their fears, their doubts, their

the saying “whenever the student is ready, the instructor shows

dreams and potentials. However in taking the time to learn about

up”. And I say this because I came to realize all the “teachers” that

them, I also learned about myself.

I had right next to me; from each and every one of them I learned something that I did not know before.

This year brought me learning experiences and a new out look on life. I remember when I was a child back in Cuernavaca, Morelos,

The learning process is for self-improvement, to be better

my mom used to wash our clothes in the river. While she was doing

individuals and to acquire a better understanding of daily life. As I

it, my sisters and I used to play in the water and one of my favorite

mentioned before, learning is not always a pleasant experience, it can be

games was to look for smooth stones. I was always picky about

painful. It is often said that comfort, comfort zones are not necessarily

choosing them, I tried to find the smoothest and nicest shaped stone.

good for us, mainly in terms of learning. Perhaps that is right; perhaps I

Many years later, I learned that if these stones had been were sitting

needed the load of the pain that I went through last year. Looking back

comfortably in the riverbed without ever rubbing against one

now, I really needed to revise not only what I was doing but also how I

another, they would never become the way I like them-smooth and

was doing my job, how I was carrying it out. In the beginning of last fall,

nice. At this point of my life, with all the friction of this passed year

I was pretty sure that we were ready to start delivering more and better

I realize that perhaps we are all closer to becoming like these smooth

services, but I never imagined all the turbulences, conflicts and pain that

and nice stones that I loved as a little girl.

Ms. Ramirez joined UP's LETOS classes in 2001 at the St. Sylvester church in Humboldt Park. In 2002 she started doing Spanish Literacy tutoring for those lacking reading and writing skills in the native language. Three years later, she started organizing nutrition workshops and dance classes, they were the foundation of Health Literacy Initiative (HEALIN)




Pumping Life Into The Neighborhood I joined Universidad Popular only a few months ago,

Villita's youth carry with them on their skin, making sure it

and from the moment I started, I could feel that it is much

never reaches their spirit. This neighborhood-this city, this

more than a brick-and-mortar location for popular

county, this world-depends on our youth to grow and

education-it has a pulse-its heart beats, pumping life into

become the leaders we so desperately need, to not only heal

the neighborhood. Just like the people who walk through

their own wounds, but also to close the growing disparity

its doors every day, it is a living, breathing, and moving

between those who have the power to change lives, and

entity and it changes to fit the needs of the community it

those whose lives could benefit from change.

serves. It is because of that nature that the UPrising youth program was created. UP felt the open wound that decades

In the short time I have been here, I have seen the

of gang violence, poor performing schools, and lack of

good that UP, and the UPrising staff, have done to ensure

resources, left on the skin of the neighborhood's young

that the youth who come into contact with the


organization will one day leave it as healthy, empowered, and constructive young adults, ready to challenge

Little Village has the youngest population in Chicago,

society's interpretations and statistics that say they won't

and yet it is one of the most ignored neighborhoods when it

graduate from high school or earn a college degree; the

comes to federal, state, and city-funded initiatives for youth.

status quo that tries to reduce them to the difference that

UP saw the opportunity to change that reality, and began

low expectations have left them with. These young people

providing services for the community's largest asset-it's

will move on to impact their community in a positive way,

young-through employment at first, and then through the

using the tools that emerged from within them, and

arts, academic assistance, civic engagement, community

always remaining an extension of us, sending UP's

empowerment, and physical and mental wellness. I came to

message from the heart to the legs, walking the sidewalks

UP to be a part of this movement to heal the wound that La

and invigorating the streets.



Introduction As we do every spring, here we have a small sample of the many voices of participants in our programs, projects, efforts and initiatives in the last ten months. Through the years, Universidad Popular has capitalized on the views and voices of its participants to design its lessons, activities and events. This partially explains our emphasis on eliciting the voices of our participants and, most importantly, getting them to capture their views on paper, regardless of their degree of command on the on the written language, English or Spanish, for this matter. Here is where their writings become so empowering, especially once their peers feel compelled to share as well their thoughts on topics of internet to them. This has been how writings has become such an intrinsic component of our community work. Therefore when spring comes along and we start putting our addbook together, we always select a few writings from each and every class to pair up with the individuals or businesses that have chosen to support our work in the community. For one thing, this strategy gives our students a further sense of power, once their voices are recorded in a page. For other, it gives to those supporting us a glimpse on the caliber of programs we offer to the community.



Blanca Zamudio

We Can Do Great Things Together The quote “None o us, including me, ever can do great things. But we can do all small things with great love, and together we can do something wonderful” by Mother Teresa of Calcuta is a beautiful quote. I believe this quote is true because if one of us does something small, but with a lot of love, this world can be a better place to live and the people that live in this wonderful world called earth will be happier than today. But the reality is that most

of us are very selfish and only think about ourselves and never about others. I have heard that if we are positive and think in positive things we can attract positive things as well. But I think that most of the time we are thinking very negatively, only about the worst in people or the worst things that can happen. We must work on ourselves. We must work on ourselves and change our attitude and actions so that we can do great things together.

“Blanca is an exceptional student! Her writing is organized, clear and well thought-out. She is very responsible and punctual; always the first to arrive and she achieved perfect attendance. Blanca always delights those around her with her descriptive writings, her wise insights and her positive and collaborative attitude. Blanca is a true gem of a young woman!” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR


Congratulates Universidad Pupular Participants for a Year of Achievements and Commitment to their Advancement and Learning.

Jesús Hernández

Vivir La Vida Con Ganas Un día cuando iba para mi trabajo me sucedió algo que no olvidare. Aun tengo presente lo que sucedió. El día seis de octubre del 2006. Yo trabajaba como conductor de “forklift.” Ese día, el seis de octubre, fui a entrenamiento para utilizar un “cherry picker or reach truch.” Durante mi entrenamiento se me dijo que la maquina estaba bien, y que los frenos estaban en buena condición. Sin embargo, para mi sorpresa, cuando trate de poner los frenos no sirvieron, y por más que trate de parar la troca termine estampándome frente a la pared de contención. Lo malo fue que mi pierna izquierda quedo presionada contra la pared. Por suerte mi pierna quedo a un lado, cerca pero a un lado sino se hubiera cortado completamente. En ese momento llego la ambulancia y la policía. Me trasladaron al hospital y descubrieron que uno de mis huesos se había quebrado. Fue el hueso de la fíbula que se quebró.

Francamente, para mí no fue un gran problema, sin embargo mi esposa estaba embarazada cuando sucedió eso y ella se tuvo que esforzar de más para ayudarme durante mi recuperación. Yo ponía mucho d mi parte para que ella no se esforzara mucho pero no era mucho lo que yo podía hacer. Así estuve como por seis meses, fue el tiempo que duro mi recuperación. Pero ahora le doy gracias a Dios que mi hija nació y que mi esposa esta bien. Ahora mi hija tiene tres años y tengo un bebe de un años. Sin embargo, lo que me sucedió en el trabajo no se lo deseo a nadie. Y le doy gracias a mi esposa por ser una mujer tan maravillosa y a mi padre Dios por que sin ellos yo no soy nadie en esta vida. Bueno me despido de ustedes. Hay que echarle ganas y darle a la vida para adelante y nada de para atrás!

-“Jesús tiene una disposición y empeño para aprender digno de reconocimiento! Por ahora su meta es aprender y/o mejorar sus destrezas en el idioma Ingles. Estoy segura de que muy pronto lo lograra porque el pone todo de su parte, ha sido un gran orgullo para mí trabajar con personas como Jesús Hernández en mi clase!” Mayra Garcia, Group Facilitator

Gloria & Gaspar Flores “Siempre al servicio de nuestras familias, en la compra o venta de casa”

Su Familia Gloria Flores

Gaspar Flores


Broker / Owner

Tel: 773.581.9600 ext 112 Fax: 773.582.0490

Tel: 312.656.6301

3 OFICINAS PARA SERVIRLE MEJOR 2843 West Cermak Chicago, IL 60623


5417 South Pulaski Chicago, IL 60632


5450 South Kedzie Chicago, IL 60632


Sandra Negrete

My Experience In Universidad Popular My name is Sandra. I am thirty-one years old. I have four children, three boys and one pretty girl. My life has been filled with everything that life can give us; like fun, suffering, delight, sadness, and especially love.

Now we can look at the problems with the confidence that everything is going to be fine.

At this moment of my life, I am going through something nice. Before I passed through hard moments, but thanks to Universidad Popular, I overcame them very quickly.

I am learning things that are going to help me in life, I am learning English, yoga, computers, aerobics, glass art, and most importantly I am learning to work with my children, help them whit their homework and teach them all that I'm learning.

I feel good because Families Learning to Teach has helped my family to improve in many ways. Now we are together helping each other, instead of being locked in our home like we were before we knew about this program.

I thank God for all the people that care for us and help us to empower ourselves by sharing their knowledge and allowing us to share mine. THANKS, UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR!

“Sandra Negrete has overcome many difficulties. She has grown a great deal in her leadership and self-esteem. She is always looking for ways to help her children. Sandra is very involved in the events we have in the organization. She has enhanced the FLT program by sharing her artistic talents like drawing on glass.� Maria G. Chaidez, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 13







Silvia Marquez

Tangancicuaro: A Beautiful Place I am Silvia and I was born in Tangancicuaro, Michoacán, México. My town is a beautiful place to live, the weather is nice, and people there are friendly and kind. There is a lake called Camecuaro, it has many streams of fresh water. People there can spend the day with their family and there are various activities to do. There are canoes that take people for a tour in the lake; if you decide to paddle by yourself, you can do it; it is a good experience for everyone. Children enjoy it because they can see the fish or the turtles under the water. There are many ducks crossing the lake side by side. There are a variety of kinds of birds and you can see them on the trees, flying near you, singing in their nests. There also often Mariachis that sing and play. In Tangancicuaro there are playgrounds for children with swings, sleds and more. People can see and feel the power of nature. Camecuaro has an area with tables and grills or you can bring and prepare your own favorite food. You can eat at a restaurant as well. There are many restaurants with traditional Mexican food like enchiladas,

sopes, flautas, posole, mole, quesadillas or the delicious carne en su jugo. You can also eat sea food-all the dishes are delicious. Many people from other Mexican states came to visit Camecuaro. I would like to invite you to visit Camecuaro same day. I have unforgettable memories of the years I spent there with all my family. I learned to swim there and I taught my children to swim there as well. We used to go there every Saturday. For me, this is the most beautiful place for living. But one day my family had to leave looking for a better life. Now that I live here one of my goals is to learn how to speak English fluently. I also want to keep my body healthy. One of my goals is that my children in the future continue their studies and get a career to have a better life. I have to encourage my children to be successful. It makes me happy because I want the best for them. I want to learn how to use the computer now and continue coming to school to learn more activities here at UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR.

-“Silvia is an outstanding student! Silvia is very responsible, kind and is always willing to help when volunteers are needed. Silvia loves her family and enjoys working as a team. Silvia is very respectful, friendly and generous” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator


Invites you to participate in

Le invita a participar en


MAIN DISHES SIDES DISHES SALADS SOUPS & CREAMS DESSERTS In theses classes we will learn healthy cooking tips toward the prevention of degenerative diseases. While using the same recipes that we know and love. We will learn the nutritional facts of foods through the nutritional pyramid.

TUESDAY 12:00 a 1:00pm CLASSES FREE If you need more info, please call us:


PLATOS PRINCIPALES PLATILLOS PARA ACOMPAÑAR ENSALADAS SOPAS & CREMAS POSTRES En estas clases encontraremos sugerencias sencillas para cocinar saludable, a la vez que prevenimos enfermedades degenerativas. Usaremos las mismas recetas que conocemos y nos gustan. Conoceremos los factores nutricionales de los alimentos a traves de la pirámide nutricional.

MARTES DE 12:00 a 1:00pm CLASES GRATUITAS Si necesita más información, llame al:


2801 S. Hamlin Ave., Chicago IL 60623 •

Rafael Abrego Guevara

Was It Really Worthy? I am from El Salvador. I came to United States in the year 2004 in search of better opportunities for my family and myself. In El Salvador I had several jobs. I worked for twelve years as a landscaper planting trees, flowers and other things. I also worked as a salesman for three years in supermarkets for several companies. But my greatest frustration was not to be able to have a career in Football. I had the opportunity to train professionally but due to the bureaucracy and circumstances of life it was not possible. That was when I made the decision to come here with the purpose of staying here for only two years and then return to my country. The hardest thing to do when I came to this country was the separation from my family. I remember the day that I left my town to come to this country it is an unforgettable day for me. My family went to say their farewells at the place where I was departing from it was nighttime. My wife embraced me and was kissing me nonstop wishing to detain me “my love don't let this be a goodbye, but until later.”And I could not answer her. My daughter told me, “daddy why are you leaving, don't you love us any more or have we done something bad? If we did something forgive us but don't leave, please.” It broke my heart when she told me this but I replied, - “my daughter, now you don't understand but I tell you, it is to give you and your brother what is best.”My daughter was eight years old and my son five. Now when I see their photographs it hurts to remember her

words, my mom cried a lot and gave me her blessings, my brothers also because they knew the trip was difficult and dangerous and many do not make it. But I thank God I arrived to Chicago in three weeks. My family was very happy because I arrived well. I started to work for the American dream, but little by little I realized that it is difficult when you first get here because of the obstacles of not speaking English, and also being undocumented. When I talk to my family I always tell them that I am doing very well because I do not want them to worry about me. When I am alone I ask myself, was it worth the sacrifice of denying my children the warmth of a father, and giving up the love of a woman who gave me her heart. I wonder if it was really worth it. One of the greatest enemies of love is distance and time. I have been here six years and I have yet to sleep because my dreams have not become a reality. Now I am studying English at Universidad Popular to be prepared if a better opportunity for my life, and if not I have learned a new language. But nevertheless I will continue striving for the future of the ones I love most. My life is no different from the lives of the many people that come from their county to the United States with the same purpose, to give their families a better economic life, but creating a great void in the lives of their loved ones who were left behind.

“Rafael, is a talented person who has a variety of skills. He worked in horticulture and flower design in his country. Here he does masonre work. One of his goals is to learn English well to communicate for social and professional development. He has a good rapport with is peers, participates in class and is one of Student's Council representatives for our group.” Otilia Gonzalez, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 17

J. Nicolas Albukerk


We have experts on retainer to get the facts to win your case. We start by retrieving the facts immediately, whereas other lawyers wait until the trail gets cold. Civil Representation Personal Injury, such as police battery Police misconduct, which includes jail beatings Medical malpractice, including elderly hospital Abuse Criminal Representation Drug trafficking & dealing Gun possession, including felony weapons First degree murder, sexual assault, & DUI cases


111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 555 Chicago, IL 60601


Pedro Panchi

Sueños Frustrados Cantarle quisiera al viento Pero yo no se cantar; Mejor voy a declamar Para expresar lo que siento. Cantarle quisiera al viento Para que vuelen mis versos Flotando en el universo Y expresen mi sentimiento. Mi corazón oprimido Por tantos sueños frustrados Cruzó fronteras de Estados Persiguiendo lo querido. Así en tierra extraña vivo Con mi esperanza en un puño Y en el otro tengo vivos Recuerdos de mi terruño. MI libre desplazamiento Extrañas leyes limitan Más lo que nunca me quitan Que brote mi pensamiento. En multicolor concierto De rostros endurecidos Mis sueños no concluidos Se tornan en desconcierto. Más claudicar yo no quiero Ante tan dura faena Prefiero enfrentar la pena, Morir luchando prefiero.

Pedro Panchi

A Mi Hija Ausente Dios permite que un día yo pueda verte Y estrecharte cariño entre mis brazos, Y gritarle a todo el que nos vea Que bello! es amor cuando hay abrazos. Que te bendiga Dios divino ser, Que te bendiga Dios porque eres mi hija, Que te bendiga Dios porque eres madre, Que te bendiga Dios por ser mujer. Sí… hay un Dios en el cielo y es tan enorme! Si abrazarte no puedo a la distancia, Que el saber que me quieres me conforme, Y el pensar en ti, torne en amor tal circunstancia.

Mr. Panchi an economist-trained professional in México, joined UP's LETOS at St. Agnes of Bohemia church in 2006. Despite working all day as a furniture assembler, he seldom missed his evening classes. Lat winter he became a LETOS' facilitator. In his free time, he writes poetry UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 19

Blanca Zamudio

Cristina Pacheco

Only Time Will Tell

We All Make Mistakes

Like Sandra Cisneros, I am an immigrant. A first generation immigrant in the United States. When I first came to this country, it was a very hard experience for me because I did not know the English language and many times I struggled because of it and said “What am I doing here?”

Sometimes we think that everything is hard but the truth is that we complicate our own lives. Life is beautiful and wonderful; each one of us is the most important for ourselves. Never say we can't. We have the power and liberty to say and make everything we want, but we forget that we, as human beings, make mistakes. We have to know how to listen so that we can grow.

I have lived in this country for more than ten years now, and like Sandra, I have moved from one apartment to the other for different situations. I think that we immigrants are like that. We are constantly moving. However, I would prefer to have my own home in México and live there with the rest of my family. I feel like that the moment, but I know that in reality, only time will tell. I believe that been an immigrant is very hard, it does not matter which country you came from. It is always hard to start new and to live far from your family and to leave everything that you have in your country and start again. The story of Sandra is very interesting because it is the story of most of us immigrants. If I could meet Sandra I would chat with her for a long time and I would ask her if her parents were able to buy their house among many different things. “Blanca is an exceptional student! Her writing is organized, clear and well thought-out. She is very responsible and punctual; always the first to arrive and she achieved perfect attendance. Blanca always delights those around her with her descriptive writings, her wise insights and her positive and collaborative attitude. Blanca is a true gem of a young woman!” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator

My big problem is to try to correct others when they are speaking incorrectly. I know that is very inconvenient to correct when people speak; I don't do it to make others feel bad, but as Paulina Rubio song says everything has a cause and effect. The cause is that my mother is a person who did not have an education. She never went to school and the people of a higher class were always laughing at the way she would speak. It was very humiliating for her. Therefore, I made the decision to teach her to speak correctly. I believe we are equal, no matter the religion, nor race. I don't understand people who make fun of our way of speaking, this is why I believe that to have humility is the best thing anyone can have; never feel more than others. We need to realize that we all make mistakes.

“Cristina loves to be involved in everything at Families Learning to Teach of Universidad Popular where she has been an active leader for two years. Her leadership skills motivates everyone to do the same. She is always willing to help others even outside of the program hours. Her motivation keeps everyone united in class.” Veronica Orduño, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 21

Maria Elena Macías

My Citizenship I am from Guanajuato, México. I have lived in Chicago for the past five years. I want to become a United States citizen. I want to learn English soon because I will get my interview soon. I am going to civic classes to learn more about the United States Constitution. I like this country but I need to learn more about the history and the system of the government. I am studying very hard every day and I am happy now that I have new classmates in two different places. I hope I get my reward, I am very excited. My name is Maria Elena, I was born in Moroleon, Guanajuato. I have one brother and two sisters. I had four years old when my parents decided to move to Mexicali to work in the field picking cotton. In my town, the weather is warm. I remember when I was a child people used to enjoy music in the park while eating ice cream or delicious “chicharrones” or “cueritos.”

When I got married I lived in different places such as Tijuana, Sonora and Arizona. I have lived in Chicago since 2004; I started working in factories, as a packer. I like to work but sometimes I can only work a few months during the summer. I would like to work more time, my problem is that I can't find a good job since I am not bilingual at the moment. Yesterday I had a class about the census 2010. I learned that the government is giving $12.00 dollars for each person that counts in the census. The census does not care about your legal status, but it is important that everyone counts so that we can have better schools, hospitals and services for our communities. The census is only done every ten years. My purpose in life is to move to Arizona and to live in the Mexican border. I like to change places and to be in good health.

“Maria Elena is a dedicated person. She has pereseverance and drive to do what it needs to be done.” Mayra Garcia, Group Facilitator



… by volunteering a few hours in the morning, afternoons, evenings or weekends. Why let economically disadvantaged community residents battle alone against illiteracy, unemployment and poverty?

HELP Universidad Popular HELP Community Residents Help Themselves! The adult literacy program of Universidad Popular (UP) is a volunteer-based initiative which works with people who want to master basic academic skills such as reading, numeracy, reading comprehension, critical analysis, speech, writing or learning to speak a second language. Won't you help Universidad Popular by donating your time, experience or resources? You may want to assist UP in the of helping people help themselves. • Tutoring adult literacy students. • Doing student recruitment. • Administering placement tests. • Identifying community needs. • Conceptualizing methods and techniques of instructions for adult learners. • Developing tutoring materials and curricula. • Writing grants proposals. • Conducting tutor-training sessions.

If you care about community empowerment, enjoy teaching adults, have good organization skills, communicate well in English or Spanish and treasure participatory work, CALL US TODAY at (773) 733-5055 and become a Community Service Volunteer! 24 SHARING OUR LAURELS

Francisco Novella

Petra Modesto

Now Things Are Good In My Life

A Prayer of Thanks

Like Esperanza, in The House on Mango Street, I have experienced many difficulties in the United States. The first problem was that we did not know the English language. When we came to this country we came and we did not know how to speak the English language, so we felt as if we were deaf. Not knowing the English language can impair our growth in this country. Another similarity to Esperanza's experience is that I have had to constantly move from pace to place. I moved several time for different reasons, to find a home with a better price, to move to a house closer to work, etc. However, things have been good in my life in the United States. One of them is that I enjoy having personal relationships with people of other countries and traditions. When we meet new people we grow and we learn from one another while making new friends. Another great experience is that I go to school and learn English to get a better job and opportunities in this country. “Francisco is an exceptional student. He is very responsible, dedicated and does more than the expected. He enjoys working as a team. He is optimistic and encourages those around him to take initiative and to continue to learn English.” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator

Some days we eat at school. Some times I like the food more than others. But today I give thanks for the lunch that I can share with my classmates. God, please, I ask that you give something to eat to every child so they can have abundance of food. I ask you that they never get hungry again. Thanks God for everything you give us. Let us share and make us generous.

“Petra is a very good student. She is eager to learn everything she can. She is very cooperative and always trying to help. She is very perseverant in reaching her goals.” Amelia Cruz, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 25


Exito de la Mujer Hispana Un evento creado para reconocer el trabajo y dedicación de la mujer en nuestra sociedad. SABADO 4 DE DICIEMBRE, 2010 Todos conocemos por lo menos a una mujer extraordinaria en nuestro entorno familiar o nuestro vecindario. Y aunque hay muchas de ellas, Universidad Popular desea reconocer públicamente en este gran evento, a por lo menos cinco mujeres.

¡Participe nominando a una o más mujeres! Enviar nominaciones a:

Universidad Popular 2801 S. Hamlin Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60623 Atencion: Anayasin Vasquez

La nominada debe ser una mujer ejemplar. Una mujer que haya facilitado el progreso de otros al despertar conciencia social, promover diversidad o establecer oportunidades de superación personal o profesional. La nominación debe ser acompañada de una breve descripción de los motivos por los cuales desea nominar a esta persona; (tres párrafos mínimo) Agregue también el nombre, domicilio y teléfono de su candidata y el suyo para poder confirmar su nominación.


My Dreams Came True Decidí compartir una de los regalos más bonitos y significantes que recibí este año, una cartita que de una de mis hijas, Rocío. Rosita, como yo le llamo desde pequeña, me escribe cartitas muy seguido, tengo una amplia colección de ellas, las guardo en una cajita y también en mi corazón. Y esta dice así: “Mami, Leí algo en un libro y me encanto: -“there's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begins.”- Que perrona, verdad? Gracias por darme la oportunidad de contar mi historia, y también por dejarme contar tu historia - que para mí, es una de las historias más bellas. No creo que sabes cuánto hablo de ti. Ni tampoco que cuando hablo de ti, mis ojos brillan y mi corazón se llena de amor y ternura. Yo se que Diosito me da lo que quiero muchas veces - un bebé (Andrés) una carrera. Pero el regalo más grande que me ha dado eres tú. Mami, no sé cómo decirte cuanto te quiero. Siempre has estado a mi lado, especialmente cuando más e necesito. Eres uno de los seres humanos más hermoso que conozco. Eres una de las mejore madres del mundo - y apuesto que eres la mejor. Pero mami, para mí, eres la mamá perfecta. Gracias por ser mi madre, mi solecito mi azucarita. Gracias por enseñarme como ser una persona Buena y de buen corazón. Gracias por ser el mejor ejemplo que puedo y trato de seguir. Gracias por mis hermanos y hermana y por

enseñarme a quererlos TANTO. Gracias por quererme incondicionalmente. Gracias por darme la oportunidad de contar mi historia, la cual no existiría sin mi madre hermosa. Te Adoro! Feliz día de las madres! Me parece que esta carta es otra lección de amor y de reto de las muchas que atreves de los años he recibido de mis hijas e hijos. Sinceramente no la comparto por vanidad de madre, que yo se que todas la tenemos. Lo que realmente intento compartir es mi reacción y análisis después de leer la cartita de mi niña. Muchas veces me detengo a revisar los años de crecimiento de mis hijos/as y si fueron años muy difíciles pero la gran incógnita que viene a mi mente es: a) que cambiaria si yo hubiese sabido que iban a contar mi historia, como parte de su historia? b) Cuando eran pequeños nunca pensé que ellos darían la vuelta al espejo para que yo me reflejara en él? c) que más debí hacer? Les amo muchísimo, pero de verdad sé los hice saber en los momentos apropiados? d) De verdad les hice saber en la práctica diaria que mi amor, mi ternura y mi tiempo estaba dedicado a ellos? Bien, si lo hice o no, ya no me puedo regresar el tiempo, porque ahora son ya son adultos, solo tengo a mi pequeño Andrés; por esta razón mi mensaje va para toda aquella madre de niños/as pequeños; porque aprender a disfrutar cada momento de ese ser humano que Dios mando a nuestra vida es el regalo más hermoso que cada una de nosotras recibimos. Ellas/os son una lección intensiva que tenemos que revisar cada día y cada momento que estas creaturas pasan con nosotras. Con mucho amor, Olivia


LEARNING TO SUCCED LEarning to Succeed (LETOS) is part of Universidad Popular's COmmunity LITeracy Program (COLIPRO). LETOS is an adult education program that offers English as a second language instruction. As part of the program, participants also use computers as learning resources. Every year LETOS serves an average of 300 students, ranging from 19-80 years of age, through morning and evening classes. Classes have 4 different levels 0-4-level 5 is the level where the participants feel confident speaking, reading and writing the English language. Like most of our programs, LETOS has many success stories of community members who began as students in the program and later became leaders. Universidad Popular's annual Sharing Our Laurels Ad book features many of these stories. One example is that of Olivia Ramirez, a beginning student who later became an ardent promoter of the program. Olivia inspired several friends and relatives to take English classes and to become actively involved members. Olivia currently serves as a coordinator for UP's HEAlth LIteracy INitiative.


FAMILIES LEARNING TO TEACH Families Learning to Teach (FLT) is one of the several components of UP's COmmunity LIteracy PROgram (COLIPRO). It is a program in which both parents and their children learn together. FLT's four major components are: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Adults as language literacy learners. Parents as parenting skills learners. Children as learners. Parents and children learning together.

Through the development of FLT, participants have also created other classes, which are now part of our repertoire. Some of the classes include: Computer Class: This class is designed to equip participants with the technological skills necessary to succeed in today's world. Leadership Development: Aerobics, Tae-Kwon-Do and Yoga classes are taught by volunteer facilitators. Arts and Crafts: these groups include guitar lessons, drawing on glass, sewing, dough molding and book making. Health Education and Parenting Workshops: parents receive parenting and health workshops once a week.

DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAM The DIgital LIteracy PROgram (DILIPRO) is the technology class at UP. DILIPRO is among one of the most popular programs at Universidad Popular. DILIPRO began in the summer of 2003 answering the call of residents and volunteers who wanted to have computer literacy classes. Since its beginnings, UP envisioned the possibility of offering computer classes. The DILIPRO program has had about 1000 participants in total. Every semester there is an average of 80 participants who are in the waiting listsmaking DILIPRO one of the most popular programs at UP. Participants in the program are also deeply committed and consistent; many of them coming from different areas in the city including north side of Chicago, Cicero, Berwyn, Aurora, and many other areas.

use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Publisher, Power Point and Internet basic skills. Students also create resumes, letters, banners, flyers, business cards, Power Point presentations, Excel budgets, among many others.

Many low-income, Spanish-speaking families do not have access to computers or computer classes in their communities. Being computer illiterate in today's society is a great disadvantage in the workforce and in many other settings. Acquiring computer skills allows participants to gain skills necessary to fully integrate into the labor market and to alleviate some of the generational gap between parents and today's children. In DILIPRO, participants get to learn about computer hardware and its basic uses. Participants also learn how to


LEARNING TO SUCCED (LETOS) LEarning TO Succeed (LETOS) is part of Universidad Popular’s COmmunity LITeracy Program (COLIPRO). LETOS is an adult education program that offers English as a second language instruction. LETOS’s English language instruction is designed based on the participants’ needs and wants. UP believes that learning the English language is a critical tool for improving our life standards and the well-being of our communities. FINANCIAL LITERACY The FInancial LIteracy PROgram (FILIPRO) is UP’s financial literacy initiative that wishes to serve members of our community with financial literacy. Although all UP’s programs and projects have always had a financial literacy component to them, only in the last five years, UP decided to establish a unit that exclusively concentrated on financial literacy issues. It started by offering seminars on budgeting, financial, planning, banking, credit development, taxes, personal and business loans, among many others.

HEALTH LITERACY INITIATIVE (HEALIN) UP’s HEAlth Literacy INitiative (HEALIN) strives to promote participant’s healthy living lifestyle. The program offers physical fitness classes and workshops on health issues affecting our communities. It is HEALIN’s mission to built strong and healthy individuals, families and communities.

education with, by

FAMILIES LEARNING TO TEACH (FLT) Families Learning to Teach (FLT) is one of the several components of UP’s Community LIteracy PROgram (COLIPRO). It is a program in which both parents and their children learn together. FLT’s mission is to provide a nurturing space where parents and their children can learn, making education the foundation for its community empowerment initiative.

www.universid Ph: 773.733.5055 • 3500 West 63rd Place Chicago, Illinois 60629

PRO SEC LEGAL CLINIC The Pro Se Clinic assists the community with legal matters. UP believes that everyone deserves access to justice based on the motto “Equal Justice for All.” Pro Se Legal Clinic’s main goal is to explain and educate its clients about legal matters and their rights. The clinic also serves as a mediator for its clients to try to minimize their dependence from attorneys. In doing so, Pro Se Legal Clinic also aims to continue to raise awareness of common legal mistakes and abuses in our community and to create leaders within its clients.

and for the people

UPRISING YOUTH PROGRAM UPRising is UP’s youth after school program which aims at increasing students’ academic performance and enriching their bi-cultural identity. UPRising was developed in response to the call for youth involvement in the communities currently served by UP. UPRising initiated in October of 2010 with the mission of fostering a positive and self-empowering learning space for youth. UPRising’s participatory approach also seeks to raise awareness among participants about some of the most pressing issues their communities face

DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAM (DILIPRO) The DIgital LIteracy PROgram (DILIPRO) is the technology class at UP. In DILIPRO, participants get to learn about computer hardware and its basic uses. Participants also learn how to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Publisher, Power Point and Internet basic skills. Students also create resumes, letters, banners, flyers, business cards, Power Point presentations, Excel budgets, among many others Fax: 773.733.5056 2801 South Hamlin Ave. Chicago, Illinois 60623



UP's HEAlth LIteracy INitiative (HEALIN) is built upon the assumption that “we are what we consume”, as Olivia Ramirez, its coordinator, repeats all the time. Therefore, it puts a great deal of emphasis on nutrition. HEALIN stresses healthy living. As part of the HEALIN program, UP offers weekly health courses free of charge to community residents. Current courses include yoga, dance, martial arts, aerobic, nutrition, and healthy cooking classes. In addition, UP periodically hosts health-related forums about obesity, asthma, water pollution, respiratory problems, gardening, organic food, junk food, drug abuse, preventive medicine, alcoholism, and STDs.

The FInancial LIteracy PROgram (FILIPRO) is UP's financial literacy initiative that wishes to serve members of our community with financial literacy. FILIPRO has assisted hundreds of residents annually with the preparation of their income tax returns and property tax appeals. This way, it has brought back to the community thousands of dollars that they did not claim in the past. Many new micro-business in the“vecindario”are started every year, therefore, FILIPRO intends to provide them the necessary technical assistance so that they can be in full compliance with official rules and regulations besides gaining the ability to grow their capital.


Many come to FILIPRO with several finance related questions. They come to inquire about the filing of their income tax returns, when they receive letters from the IRS, when they need help with their accounting, etc. FILIPRO then makes sure the person understands the documents and receives individualized attention regarding the matter. In addition FILIPRO offers many workshops on how to better manage money, how to invest, among many other economy matters. Currently FILIPRO is composed by several team members.



UPRising is UP's youth after school program which aims at increasing students' academic performance and enriching their bi-cultural identity. The program was designed to engage youth in creating a positive approach to resolve UPRising is UP's youth after school program which aims at increasing students' academic performance and enriching their bi-cultural identity.

The Pro Se Legal Clinic assists the community with legal matters. UP believes that everyone deserves access to justice based on the motto “Equal Justice for All.� Pro Se Legal Clinic's main goal is to explain and educate its clients about legal matters and their rights. The clinic also serves as a mediator for its clients to try to minimize their dependence from attorneys. In doing so, Pro Se Clinic also aims to continue to raise awareness of common legal mistakes and abuses in our community and to create leaders within its clients.

UPRising was developed in response to the call for youth involvement in the communities currently served by UP. Underserved Latino youth living in urban areas are very susceptible to gang involvement, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, young pregnancy and to drop out of high school. UPRising initiated in October of 2010 with the mission of fostering a positive and self-empowering learning space for youth. UPRising's participatory approach also seeks to raise awareness among participants about some of the most pressing issues their communities face.

Pro Se Legal Clinic was founded in 2005 with the collaboration from various different attorneys and community members of Universidad Popular. Pro Se Legal Clinic strives to provide bilingual, effective access to affordable legal information and legal assistance to its community members and clients. Pro Se Legal Clinic works with an average of 100 to 150 clients every month. Most of these cases are family law cases (divorce, child custody, and domestic abuse), immigration and fraud cases.


Esmeralda Quevedo

My Goal: Become A Beauty Instructor Hi, my name is Esmeralda Quevedo. I was born in a beautiful town twenty minutes away from Cualican Sinaloa, México. I was living there for my first eighteen years of life. When I finished my preparatoria which is equaled to United States high school, I had to travel to the city to be a successful person. When I got to the city, I had to work part time to support myself. I almost finished my third grade in the university, but I could not, because I had to travel to the United States. Now I live in the beautiful city of Chicago. I have been living here for the past fifteen years and I have been working very hard since I came here. I work in as a beautician in a beauty salon. I like what I am doing right

now, but I have to learn English and learn how to use the computers. Because if we want to be better in this country we need to know them. I have many goals for the future. One of them is to become a beauty instructor. I want to continue trying to be a nice person and be generous with everybody around me, like my family and friends. I would like to be a successful person and to have more time for my family. To do this I am learning English and after learning it I want to go to college and become a cosmetology teacher. But I want to have both languages. I want to be able to help others when they do not understand English.

“Esmeralda Quevedo is a great student! She is hardworking, respectful and polite. She is very friendly and is very kind to everyone she meets.” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 35

Blanca Zamudio

A Day of Terror! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Maria Ofelia Salas and my husband's name is Daniel Salas. We have three children, Edgar is the oldest, Orlando is the second and Judith is the youngest. With God's help and with our sacrifice they all finished high school. My oldest son got married and soon after Orlando got married as well. God has blessed my children with their spouses; they are very good and hard working women. Now I want to share with you what happened to me in the beginning of 1977. I came to the United States for the first time on June 13, 1977. My brother Eleazar lived in California, but when he found out that we had arrived to Chicago and we were doing fine he decided to come to live here with us. We were pleased but there was a problem we did not have a bedroom for my brother. Therefore, we all decided to rent an apartment for a couple of months since the plan was that one of my sister-in-laws was going to do a closing on her first house and we were going to live together. So we rented a basement apartment across the street. She wanted me to live close by since I was eight months pregnant of first child. Since we were planning to live there for only a short time we didn't have phone service and back then we didn't have cell phones. When we would turn off the lights, noises would be heard like when you scrape something on the wall. I would ask my husband, “What is that?” And he would try to calm me down and say, “There are a lot of children upstairs and the walls expand.” It puzzled me that I would hear noises

during the day as if someone was sweeping and dragging lots of trash. After a month my son was born and when I returned home from the hospital my sister-in-law went for two days to help me, on the third day she went to bath my baby. When she left I closed the door. The door faced the alley it was an old door and to keep it secure, I would put a piece of wood against it. About half hour later, I saw enormous rats coming from all sides of the room I counted more than thirty (30) rats! My apartment was one huge room without partitions and I could see how they came out; they were 10- 12 inches. I embraced my baby and I got on my bed which was against a wall. I was very frightened watching to make sure they would not get close to us. It was about 5:00 pm when my husband and my brother came home from work; they both worked in the same place. They were knocking hard on the window and telling me to open the door. When I heard their voices I got out in fear and I burst in tears; I couldn't even speak. The rats were pulling at the bed sheets. My husband and brother broke the door down and they covered me and my son with a blanket and took us out of that house. I swear to you that I recall this and I get a knot in my throat and tears run down my cheeks to imagine the sad ending that awaited my son and I on that day of terror. I only ask the young mothers who are starting to have children to be very careful, that if they suspect that there is any type of rodent to eliminate them because when they smell the tender flesh of a baby they will attack the little baby. I thank god and my family for saving us that day!

“Maria Ofelia Salas has a pleasant personality and gets along well with her peers. She participates in class fully and is very determined to improve in the English language and computer skills. Even though works long hours in her job, she still manages to have good attendance in both of her classes.” Otilia Gonzalez, Group Facilitator


Blanca Zamudio

My Childhood My childhood was good; we were eight children, seven girls and only one boy. I was happy when I received toys during Christmas time because that was the only time when my parents gave us toys. The toys were simple like a doll or a ball but I was really happy to receive them. As a child, I used to play with my sisters, cousins and friends. We played games like “la pichada” something like hide and seek. I was also very happy going to school and learning new things. When I was seven years old I started to help my father in the field. First I helped him to sow then when I grew up a little more I helped him to pull up the bean plants and to cut the corn plants. That was very hard work. Many times I thought, “Why don't I have what I want?” The answer was simple, my parents were poor and they were not able to give us what we wanted, or needed. Most of the time I did not see the television because we only had one and most of the

time it did not work. But now I can see that material things are not important to be happy because when I compare my childhood with my children's childhood I see that it is very different. Here in the United States they can have toys or things that they never had. However, they do not have much freedom to play in the streets without worrying about violence. They also do not know my mother or my family. Here I can buy a cake for them when it is their birthday, or buy toys when they want them, yet, they do not have their cousins or someone to play with. Living in México as a child was hard, however, there were positive and good things about it. In the United Sates my children do not have as much freedom, or many cousins and people to play with them but they have more commodities and things which I did not have as a child. Thus, it is hard to say what is best.

“Blanca Zamudio, a very bright and humble person, somewhat timid but always willing to help; she was always punctual to the class with a mind set of “where do you need help?” Blanca hardly ever missed a day of class and when she did, it seemed that she felt that she had missed a lot and always asked her classmates what was covered to catch up, it was great meeting Blanca and have had the opportunity to work with her and have had her in the class.” Mayra Garcia, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 37

My Journey to U.S.A. My name is Ruperto Diaz Calles; I am from Puebla, Mexico. I was born and raised in a beautiful town close to Atlixco, Puebla. It was in March 1980, it was almost my birthday when my mom, my brothers and I were talking about my father, who was killed in Mexico city by a bus. I told my mother that I wanted to come to the United States. My mom didn't want me to come to the United States because I was 17 years old.

I started my journey again, that time I crossed by Nuevo Loredo, Tamaulipas and it took me two weeks again to step into San Antonio, Texas. I arrived with my cousin who lives in Huston, Texas. I stayed for two weeks and then I came to Chicago. I started to work in a factory as a machine operator, material handler and relief operator until I learned how to install the molds.

Finally, I convinced my mother and in April, she let me come to the U.S. I left my town at 5:00a.m., it took me almost two days and two nights to arrive in Tijuana, Baja California, Norte. After, I arrived in Tijuana I looked for somebody to help me to cross the border. Crossing the border between Mexico and the United States is very hard. It was about 7:00p.m. when we started running, trying to step into San Diego, when suddenly “el mosco� caught us and they sent us back to Tijuana, Mexico. I did not give up, I was trying to cross for two weeks. Finally, one lucky day, thank God, I crossed.

I became a setup man a little after I learned how to put all the parameters and state the machine to produce good parts, but I only worked there for two years. Then, I went back to Mexico, but this time I brought my girlfriend with me back to the U.S.A. Everything was beautiful until one day I had gone back to Mexico and she took advantage and started dating one of my cousins. When I came back from Mexico, I told her that she needed to move out of the house. I remember it was New Years, January 1995. When I came back from work, she had already left and took all her belongings with her.

Three weeks after my departure, I arrived in Chicago with my brother, and in June I moved to N.Y. I worked in a restaurant for 7 months, but in December of the same year I went back to Mexico to get married, however, a big surprise was waiting for me; my girlfriend was pregnant and was living with another man. So I decided to come back to the U.S.A. In September 1985,

After that I went back to Mexico and I met my wife. We dated for eight months, and in September 1995 we got married. We love each other and our three beautiful children. We have been married for almost fifteen years. I thank God, that after all the hard times in my live I found someone that really loves me and who I love and we are very happy.


Jesús Castel

La Vida: Un Regalo De Dios! Para mi la vida es un gran privilegio que Dios me ha regalado a través de mis padres queridos. La vida hay que disfrutarla porque es muy corta y no sabemos cuando vamos a partir de este mundo y por eso hay que disfrutar y vivir cada momento como si fuera el último día de nuestra vida. Es muy importante enseñarle a nuestros hijos como tratar de vivir felices. Ellos deben saber desde pequeños que la felicidad es tarea de cada persona, ellos deben aprender a no darle tanta importancia a los problemas tan insignificantes que nos hacen daño. Todos sabemos que en la vida hay momentos en verdad difíciles y fuertes. Yo recuerdo mucho lo que le paso a un amigo que trabajaba conmigo de repente la vida le cambio muy drásticamente. Todo empezó con un dolor y cuando fue al doctor le diagnosticaron un tumor canceroso y

desafortunadamente ya no se pudo hacer nada por él. Los doctores le dieron 3 meses de vida a pesar de tener 27 años de vida, pobrecito no me imaginó lo que paso por su mente en ese instante. A veces la vida puede traernos situaciones muy injustas y es cuando nos damos cuenta de la importancia de vivir intensamente. Por esta razón debemos de hacer a un lado el rencor, el odio, la venganza y el egoísmo porque todo eso daña nuestra salud y no nos deja ser felices. Como padres debemos tratar de convivir cada momento y compartir nuestra experiencia de vida con nuestros hijos y toda nuestra familia. HAY QUE VIVIR LA VIDA AHORA QUE PODEMOS PARA QUE EL DIA QUE DIOS NOS LLAME A CUENTA ESTEMOS FELICES Y SATISFECHOS POR HABER DADO TODO DE NOSOTROS A NUESTROS SERES MAS QUERIDOS.

“Jesús viene cada día a clase con una actitud positiva y siempre con la disposición de ayudar y apoyar a sus compañeros de clase. El es un gran motivador, trabaja mucho con su familia para sacar de/para ellos lo mejor. Toda su familia participa en los programas de Universidad Popular, para mí ha sido un gran placer conocer la familia Castel” Mayra Garcia, Group Faciltator


Jose Huerta

I Am Proud Of My Children I come from Jalisco, México. I am the fourth child born out of nine. I came to the United States when I was fourteen years old. It was really hard for me to say goodbye to my family because we had a good relationship.

him, we were saying goodbye, we kissed and hugged, and he wished me well. Now, when it's Father's Day or when there is a special event I am reminded of him, and I miss him even more.

When I came to the United States with my sister I started working in a restaurant and worked there fore a long time. I still do, but now I am self employed. I was really dedicated to my job and didn't have time to go out much; I also helped my family with everything I could. Especially my parents and my own family.

Now I have my own family, I met my wife here in Chicago my wife here in Chicago. She is a beautiful woman. We have five children, the oldest is a girl. She is married and has a son. Our second is a boy, he is in college and is also in the National Guard, the next one is a girl, and she is in high school. The fourth is a girl and she is a junior in high school. The fifth is a boy and he is in the third grade of grammar school. I am proud of each and every one of them. I enjoy going to vacations with my family, it is a good way to grow as a family.

One day when I was working a got a call, saying that my dad had died, due to a car accident… That was the worst day of my life. I still remember the last time I saw

“Jose Huerta is assertive and a self starter. He takes every opportunity he has in class to improve in the English language skills. He works long hours, six days a week. Yet he manages to have very good attendance and is always ready to participate in class.” Otilia Gonzalez, Group Facilitator UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR 41

Eva Castillo

My Child Changed My Life When I was living in México I was very independent. I started to work since I was very young. With great effort, I was able to finish a career and work in what I liked to do for two years. When I was 22 years old I got pregnant and that completely changed my life. I was scared because I was alone, but I also was exited because I knew I would not be alone anymore especially when I found out that I was caring a baby girl. I made a great effort to be healthy and I was more conscious of how to take care of my body. Also I changed my job because the one I had was heavy and risky. I was five months pregnant when my brother and I decided to come to Chicago with our parents then everything changed for me. When I arrived to Chicago I found a comfortable job and that made everything easier. One week before my baby was born; my baby's father and I decided to start living together. Again I had to leave my job because my daughter was born and I wanted take care of her. I was a little depressed for a

while. My baby was sleeping almost all day and all night. It very hard for me to get used to staying at home all day long. It was difficult for me to ask for money or consulting with someone else before doing whatever I wanted to do. Then I became consciousness about all I had; the little and big things that I was missing all my life, MY OWN FAMILY. After that, I started enjoying every single detail of my new life. Especially because my whole family was living in Chicago. Finally I could see all of them. My brothers and sisters; my mother, my father everybody living in the same state. I enjoyed taking care of my baby with the help of my husband. He worked very hard and I didn't have to leave my child alone and work outside of my home. I enjoyed my daughter because we were growing up together. She has been teaching me to be a good mom and me how to be happy. I now enjoy every day because, thanks god, my daughter has a family something I did not have when I was her age and it is all she need “A GOOD FAMILY”.

“Eva Castillo is a great student! She is a gifted speaker and a great organizer. She was the Program Action Committee (PAC) representative for the last semester of the 2010 academic year. Eva is one of a kind; she is intelligent, enthusiastic, hardworking and witty! Eva Castillo and her daughter Paulina are shining stars in the FLT program.” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator



The Celebration of a Flavorful Tradition

September 24 and 25, 2010 12:00 noon - 8:00pm

Universidad Popular 2801 South Hamlin Ave. Chicago, IL 60623

Alma Pérez

Comprometida al Desarrollo Comunitario Mi nombre es Alma Pérez. Soy madre de dos maravillosos niños, ambos con sordera profunda. Rubén, mi hijo mayor solo se comunica a través del lenguaje Americano de señas (ASL). El y yo comenzamos a aprender el lenguaje juntos hacen aproximadamente cinco años. A sus seis años el inicio su educación formal de ASL en la escuela publica elemental Kinzie. Yo acudía una vez a la semana a clases de señas en su escuela, donde nos reuníamos los padres con el propósito de aprender el lenguaje de nuestros hijos, y de esa manera poder comunicarnos con ellos. El aprender ASL era mi responsabilidad y por el hecho de estar en Los Estados Unidos también era una necesidad y responsabilidad el Aprender Ingles. Fue por esa razón que me inscribí a las clases en Un Programa de Universidad Popular llamada Familias Aprendiendo a Enseñar. Desde hace dos años, yo soy una participante en el programa de Familias Aprendiendo a Enseñar ó FLT por sus siglas en Ingles. FLT es un programa muy bueno porque no solamente ofrece clases de Ingles si no también promueve las

habilidades de los participantes brindando clases adicionales dirigidas por los mismos participantes. Yo estoy facilitando una clase de Lenguaje Americano de Señas básica con el objetivo de que halla mas gente que aprenda el lenguaje para que así la comunidad de sordos tenga un espacio mas amplio de comunicación, y no halla una división entre oyentes y sordos, si no que seamos una sola comunidad donde el lenguaje no sea obstáculo. Para mi es muy importante que cada vez halla mas gente que se interese en aprender el lenguaje de mis hijos porque de esa manera yo me sentiría más tranquila sabiendo que cuando ellos tengan que salir solos habrá gente que los entenderá y sabrán comunicarse con ellos. Yo creo que uno de los regalos mas grandes que Dios nos da es el poder comunicarnos y expresarnos libremente, no importa de que manera lo hagas lo importante es saber que te están entendiendo. Es una satisfacción muy grande el compartir lo poco o mucho que yo sé con otros participantes de la comunidad y ser parte activa en el crecimiento de mi familia y mi comunidad.

“By sharing the little or much that she Knows, Alma was able to motivate parents and children to learn American Sign Language. This also motivated deaf people to volunteer in the Program. Children at FLT are earning English, Spanish and American Sing Language. At Families Learning to Teach every parents is a teacher.” Gabriel Lara, Program Coordinator

Universidad Popular is dedicated to stopping underage drinking in the Little Village community. Be a part of our efforts and help us by talking to your children and teenagers about NOT drinking at house and family parties. Also talk about NOT drinking at community festivals. Set clear rules about NOT drinking, but most importantly be involved in your children’s and teenager’s life. For more information on how to talk to your youth or join our efforts, please call Universidad Popular at (773) 733-5055. Universidad Popular se dedica a parar el consumo de alcohol entre los menores de edad en La Villita. Usted puede ayudarnos. Hable con sus niños y adolescentes sobre el no consumir alcohol. Establezca reglas sobre el no consumir alcohol en las fiestas familiares o en las fiestas de los amigos. También establezca reglas sobre el no consumir alcohol en los eventos comunitarios. Para mas información sobre como hablarles a sus hijos o como participar en nuestro esfuerzo para prevenir el consumo de alcohol entre los menores de edad, favor de llamar a Universidad Popular al (773) 733-5055. Fundingg provided in part or whole byy the Illinois Department of Human Servi rvices Division of Community Health & Prevention

Elizabeth Miranda

Nordelia Garcia

Poem To My Husband

My Mother

My best wishes. This Christmas I wish the best To you my friend, partner and confident, To you, my husband, I wish that you always have good health; That God gives you happiness and a job. I wish that every day of your life Is full of happiness. I hope that God and the Virgin help you And give you the enthusiasm that you always have in looking for a better life for our family. Thank you for sharing with me your life and make me happy. Thank you because you always help me go on. God bless you! Never change! These are my best wishes to my love. Your friend and wife: Elizabeth. “Elizabeth Miranda is a very enthusiastic person. She is very responsible with her homework. She has learned a lot of English. She always makes extra homework because she says she wants to learn English fast.” Amelia Cruz, Group Facilitator

When my mom was in México, she always wished to have all her family together. Her goal was to have her family together because my father was in United States. One day she decided to come to the United States, she came with my little brother. He was eight years old and my little sister nine years old. She came to the United States with the purpose of keeping her family together. When she was in Chicago she was happy with her family, she had a normal life. My mom was a healthy woman, but a few years ago she had a problem with her womb. She had surgery. Then, after the surgery, she had more problems. One day she went to the Hospital and the doctors said she had cancer and that she had no cure. She lived two months with cancer, and then she died on March 19, 2001. I believe my mother accomplished her goal. May she rest in peace, Maria Orozco, my beautiful mother!

“Nordelia is a very nice, helpful person, she pushes herself to do better and to learn more. She just doesn't take English classes but takes other elective classes. She is working on her confidence to hopefully be able to facilitate a class designing jello.” Veronica Orduño, Group Facilitator

Blanca Zamudio

Canatlán De Las Manzanas: My Town My name is Blanca and I was born in a very small town called El Progreso, Canatlán, Durango, México. There lived about 400 people and all the people knew each other. Most of them lived from the farming. Those who worked in farming were the most fortunate because other people in Canatlán, are very poor and do not have much. My family has always lived from farming. When I was a child I had to help my father in the farm. We were seven daughters and one son. My bother was in the army, so we were all women in the house except for my dad. I always hated that because I wanted to play but I had to work. However, now that I am grown up I think that I was very fortunate because some other children that were with me at the school were very poor and I was not rich, but I always had food and clothes. The town of Canatlán is known as “Canatlán de las manzanas”, because there are lots of apple gardens in the

months of August and September. There is a lot of “pizca de manzana picking the apples from the trees, usually the men do this work, and the women have to separate the apples. They place the good apples in a box of wood and those are the apples that go out for sale in México. Maybe they do the same in other countries. In September we celebrate the fair of las manzanas and a lot of people from the small towns and vicinities come to Canatlán go to the fair. I worked there until I got married in 1999 and I came to Chicago. I worked for about six months and I had to stop because I got pregnant, that was in 2000 and in January of 2001 my beautiful son was born. I did not know that I could love as much as I love my children. They are my life. I have two children. One is a girl, she was born in July of 2002 and a boy who was born in 2001. Often times I see them and I think how fast they are growing. I love my children!

“Blanca is an exceptional student! Her writing is organized, clear and well thought. Blanca always delights those around her with her descriptive writings, her wise insights and her positive and collaborative attitude. Blanca is a true gem of a young woman!” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator

Alma Perez

My Goal: Sign Language Interpreter My name is Alma Perez, I am from Guanajuato México. I was born in a small but beautiful town. I got married when I was almost eighteen years old. After one year of been married I had my oldest son was born. When he was five years old we came to the United States. I enjoy living in the United States because all my family members live here. As soon as I came here, I worked for one year only, and then I started to have a lot of work with my baby because he was born deaf. He had four therapies every week and all my time was spent with him because I wanted him to learn to use his voice but now I am so happy because he is three years old and he uses his voice well. I was very scared when he was not able to use his voice.

I think it is important to learn the English language so that we can communicate with those around us. However, I believe that the most important thing is to be able to communicate with my children's teachers. For me it is very important to learn English because I have two deaf sons. I have to use American Sign Language, so all signs are in English. If I learn the language, it will be easier for me to communicate with my kids. In the future I would like to become a sign language interpreter and be able to help many other mothers and children who are deaf.

“Alma is an excellent student! Her positive attitude and kind ways serve her well in her learning and in everything she does.” Marisol Aguilar, Group Facilitator

Maria Guadalupe Baeza

An Important Decision My name is Maria Guadalupe Baeza and this is my story: I immigrated to the United States 15 years ago. I came to this country with my husband and two children. The oldest was four years and the youngest was two years old. My husband was a legal resident; he was able to get his documents during the 1987 reform. He came to this country to work and I remained in México he spend more time here than over there. During my two pregnancies and my children's first years of life I was alone; they were only with me. Six years passed and I told my husband, he either stays with us or we all go

to the USA. We then decided to come here without documents, even though my husband was a legal resident. Since he did not think of bringing us here, he did not fix our residency in the United States. Years later after being here, my children and I were able to get our documents. Now I have 4 sons and I am happy we decided to migrate to the United States. My husband was able to see and enjoy his other two sons' first years of life and he is able to see them grow.

“Maria Guadalupe Baeza's husband was the one who introduced her to Universidad Popular. She has been taking classes at Universidad Popular for a year and a half. This year I have seen a great improvement in her English. She was one of the shyest participants in class but she slowly started participating. She is very eager to learn English. She is one of those people that can never have enough learning.” Veronica Orduño, Group Facilitator

Emilia Pantoja

Accomplishing My Goals When I started working at my job, I wished I could speak English with my supervisor in case there were any problems in my job. Two weeks ago my boss was talking with everyone at work because every year we have a small pay raise. When it was time for my interview I didn't need an interpreter. Most

of the people needed an interpreter but not me. I was able to talk to my supervisor with no help from anyone else. This was my goal when I started taking English Classes at Universidad Popular because in this country it is very important to speak with other people in English.

Virginia Abundio

Adopting a Child I am writing about children who do not have their parents with them. Every year, many accidents happen in different countries and children lose their parents and other parents must take care of them. I recommend that if you want to adopt a child you look for information about how to do it. You can take care of them because you don't know when you, or your family members, might need help. Children are the most important things you can have in life because one of one hundred couples who want children can't have them.

If you know a person who has the resources to adopt children, talk to them and teach them the values of life. When you have your parents with you, you feel like you can do whatever you want. Sometimes, some people don't appreciate their parents. When I see children who don't have their parents with them I feel very sad because they are waiting for someone who wants to take care of them. Please don't think too much and adopt a child who can make you happy your life better and happier!

“This was Virginia's first year at UP, she came in a little shy at the beginning of the year but she came close to the participants fast. In the winter she got really sick and had to stop attending classes but as soon she felt better and the weather started being nice she came back to UP and had a great learning attitude with her. She wants to catch up with everyone else in class and helps others when needed.” Veronica Orduño, Group Facilitator

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Universidad Popular programs, initiatives, and projects are made possible with generous support from: Public Donors: • City of Chicago -Department of Cultural Affairs • Illinois Community College Board • Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Community Health and Prevention Services • Illinois Department of Human Services New Americans Initiative • Illinois State Board of Education • Secretary of State Literacy Office Private Donors: • • • • • • • •

Citibank, F.S.B. Instituto de Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME) Lumpkin Family Foundation McCormick Foundation Sara Lee Foundation Second Federal Savings The Chicago Community Trust LISC- CHICAGO

And many individual contributions from community residents, businesses and community agencies.

Thank You!

Sharing our Laurels  

A description of the programs and people from la Universidad Popular.