Krystal is a member of the Canal Alliance Board of Directors and is raising money this #GivingTuesday to support immigrants in our community. Here is her story.
Proud and grateful to be a member of the Canal Alliance Board, I love that we exist to break the generational cycle of poverty for Latino immigrants and their families by lifting barriers to their success.
During the lead up to the 2016 election, and as a Puerto Rican woman living in Marin County, I knew I wanted to serve the Latino community. I found Canal Alliance and started tutoring at the University Prep (UP!) after school program. That’s when I met Vivi, Lisett, and Selma – three first cousins, their moms are sisters, all seventh graders. It was so much fun getting to know them and to understand what they were learning in school, but more so, it was clear the organization was truly helping the Up! students, through thoughtful attention and consistent support.
When I join the Board in 2018, I learned that Canal Alliance was not only preparing our UP! students for college, but was advocating for young Latino students at the city-wide level. Canal Alliance advocates for San Rafael City Schools to align high school graduation requirements with University of California and California State University A-G requirements. In other words, we’re asking the City of San Rafael to guide all students towards completing college required courses, by making A-G required courses a necessity to graduate high school. If you’re the parent of a first-generation Latino San Rafael High School student, you may not know that your child needs to take three years of Science and Math to be eligible for college. Parents sometimes learn that during their student’s Senior Year when it’s time to apply, and sometimes too late to take additional classes. If San Rafael City Schools were to default all students to take courses required for college, we’d eliminate this almost invisible but very real barrier. In 2017, only 34% of Latino students in San Rafael City Schools completed the A-G requirements compared to 65% of non-Latino students. If more Latino students graduate A-G eligible, they are more likely to enroll in a four-year university and graduate with a college degree. Obtaining a college degree will set students on the path out of poverty.
In alignment with our vision of empowering our community through education and opportunity, this year was particularly exciting since we initiated the Workforce Development program. The Workforce Development program includes vocational training and English classes to help our community secure career-path employment. In our first year, 28 adults earned a skill trade certificate through our Workforce Development program. We recognize and appreciate the College of Marin and the Marin Builders Association for their leadership and partnership. I’m so excited to watch this Program grow!
Canal Alliance is important to me because by appreciating the importance of inclusion, and by supporting immigrants in our community, Marin becomes a place where everyone can live, work, and succeed. That’s why I’m donating this GivingTueday. I ask that you donate, if you can, as well. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Support Krystal’s fundraising goals by visiting her #GivingTuesday page.