youth

Puentes Pick: Every Row A Path

Whitman student and Puentes intern, Miriam Zuniga, reflects on the film Every Row a Path. Produced by the DreamFields Project in partnership with Reel Grrls, the film is a collaboration between Jill Freidberg and the youth who actually appear in the short documentary.

The screening of Every Row a Path was held at the Central Cinema in Seattle.  The screening started off with 5 young women from Mount Vernon, WA who made the film, speaking of their excitement at being able to screen the documentary here in Seattle. The opening scenes of the film were somber with shots of  field workers picking fruit at dawn. The young women then took turns recording each other, asking some hard hitting questions like “How was your life as a migrant child?”

Hearing middle school girls talk about having to help pick fruit in the fields of Mount Vernon after school was heart wrenching. Having to see young children make the conscious decision to help their family financially instead of focusing on their education really brought into perspective how a parent’s economic stability is inherently tied to a child’s ability to succeed in school.

The film was combination of the young women’s middle school and high school experiences and how much they had grown in that time. The baby faces from their middle school years, where they were just starting to realize their predicament morphed into high school determination to better themselves, but to also further help their families. They went to school, picked fruit afterwards, didn’t get home till late at night and then, they did their homework.

One of the young women recalls starting her homework around 2 am due to having to help with dinner and helping get all of her younger siblings to bed after they got back from picking in the fields. Another remark that really brought into perspective all of the hardships migrant children face, was when one of the young women spoke of how much she hates the tulip festival in Skagit county.

Everyone loves how beautiful the tulips look when in bloom, yet all she sees is the long painful hours planting those tulips. The beauty was marred by the back breaking work she was forced to endure to survive.

Despite of all of the hurdles that the young women had to go through to achieve success, with the help of their Migrant Leaders Club at the Mount Vernon Middle School, they were able to graduate from high school. They dealt with pregnancies, having to take care of their siblings, after school jobs, as well as balancing migrant work and school. With all of the scholarships received, all of the young women are now in various colleges across the state while continuing to advocate for migrant children. They want to become immigration lawyers and special education teachers, among other professions.

The Q&A following the screening was just as exciting and informative as the film. One of the questions asked focused on male migrant students and their high school graduation rates. The question was particularly important since the film was focused on 5 women and at the founding of the club, it was all girls. One of the young women partially answered explaining that male migrant students have even lower graduation rates since they leave school to work in the fields from a young age. For boys, education was not even an option, the only option for them was to work. Then, a young man was brought up to the stage and told his story of having to drop out of 9th grade to help his family out but due to the success of his girlfriend, one of the young women in the film, he was planning on getting his GED.

It was heartwarming to see how these 5 young women are inspiring, not only their family members, but members of the community to continue their education despite financial hurdles. The young women are no longer members of the Migrant Leaders Club since they are in college now, but the club is still active. The club tours around the country screening the film and bringing awareness to a highly underrepresented population. It is both amazing, but also heartbreaking that this migrant student club is needed since no child should have to balance working in the fields with obtaining an education.

You can do your part by becoming informed about where your food is sourced from since often food systems affect the quality of life of migrant families and their children. Additionally, screening the film and raising awareness was suggested by the five women, alongside having frank conversations about unjust work conditions and vulnerable populations who are often lost in a cycle of poverty.

To view the trailer, check it out here: http://www.everyrow.com/trailer.html

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Foundation’s YGB Grant Supports Youth Programs with $10K

Earlier this month, our team had the pleasure to celebrate with Seattle Foundation’s Youth Grantmaking Board at the Vude in South Lake Union. Honored alongside greats like Ryther (who’s been around for over 100 years!) we were incredibly grateful to be chosen out of over 40 non-profits who applied for the Seattle Foundation’s YGB grant.

With their support, we will be launching a pilot Youth Reunification Program for families affected by long periods of separation due to detention & deportation. Over 8 weeks, we hope to facilitate parallel programs for youth ages 12-16 and for parents & caregivers in South King County. Groups will be led by trained facilitators who share a similar personal experience and can help validate and guide the emotions and realities of families who have been impacted by the removal of key adult figures in their lives.

Groups will meet weekly and learn how to engage in conversation about difficult subject matters, making space to share their experiences within the family, and learn how to process the emotions that detention and deportation caused within themselves and their loved ones.

The Youth Reunification program will be available at no cost to families.

If you are interested in being a facilitator or participating in this program as an affected family member or youth, please reach out to us at connect@puentesseattle.org

Thank you again to the Seattle Foundation and its Youth Grantmaking Board for investing in our communities’ mental health needs. Together, we can build solutions to take better care of each other & improve our local neighborhood, for ourselves and each other.


A principios del mes de Junio, nuestro equipo tuvo el agrado de celebrar con Seattle Foundation’s Youth Grantmaking Board en el local Vude en South Lake Union. Honrados junto con gigantes como Ryther (una organización que ha trabajado por más de 100 años!) fuimos muy agradecidos de haber sido elegidos entre otras 40 organizaciones que aplicaron a este grant.  

 

Gracias a su apoyo lanzaremos un programa piloto de Reunificacion Familiar, para familias afectadas por largos periodos de separación debido a detención migratoria o deportación.  Por 8 semanas, esperamos facilitar grupos paralelos para jóvenes de 12 a 16 años y padres o familiares en el Sur de King County. Los grupos serán facilitados por personas que comparten una historia de vida similar y que pueden validar y guiar las emociones y realidades de familias que han sido impactadas por la deportación de figuras claves en sus vidas.

Cada grupo se reunirá semanalmente y aprenderá a conversar acerca de temas difíciles, creando espacios para compartir experiencias personales en la familia, y aprender a cómo procesar las emociones que la detención y la deportación han elicitado dentro de ellos mismos y dentro de la familia.

El Programa de Reunificación Familiar estará disponible sin costo para los participantes.

Si tienes interés en facilitar or en participar en este programa como un miembro de la comunidad afectada, por favor escribenos a connect@puentesseattle.org

Gracias Nuevamente a Seattle Foundation y su Youth Grantmaking Board por invertir en las necesidades de nuestra comunidad. Juntos podemos crear soluciones para cuidar de cada uno y mejorar nuestros barrios.