Uniting America at Hispanic American Community and Education Services

January 13, 2012
Kathleen O'Donovan AmeriCorps Fellow


As of today I have been at my host organization for exactly one week and I am amazed at how much I have learned in such a short time. One of my immediate goals has been to understand my organization and to start making connections with people in the community. Making strong connections is what is going to enable me to make my work with Uniting America successful. Currently I am seeking out people who already have programs in the areas of ESL, after school tutoring, parent mentoring programs and other programs that serve immigrants. I am also looking for people and organizations that can provide me with potential volunteers. In my first week I think that I have been successfully making connections with people who fall into both categories.

My very first meeting was with Maria Salazar, the north suburban organizer for ICIRR. She has been working in the suburbs for about three or four months and it was great to get her take on what is going on in Waukegan. She gave me the idea to try and incorporate the arts into one of my community events because Waukegan is a town that markets itself as an art friendly city. This was something that I hadn’t thought of yet, and I think it’s a great idea to keep in mind as I start thinking of possible community unity events.

 I went to the Coalición de LatinosUnidos de Lake County meeting. This is a membership organization for social service providres in Lake County, and appoixmentaly 40 people attended. Aside from getting to eat delicious Colombian food, I was able to stand up during the meeting and tell everyone about Unitnig America. After the meeting I made some really great connections with various organizations. I met people from: the YWCA of Lake Country, United Way, Waukegan Public Schools and Catholic Charities, just to
name a few. Getting an opportunity to link up with so many different people all in one place puts me in a really great place to follow up on these connections and to really get things moving up here in Waukegan!