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BuildOn’s Walk-In Program at Benito Juarez: Why It Matters

Sofia Pina and Giovanni Quevedo

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BuildOn’s mission is to increase civic and academic engagement among youth by allowing them to be part of a BuildOn program offered in their school.

In Chicago, there are eleven high schools that are honored to offer this program on school campus, student’s often do volunteer work in order to give back to their communities.

“Volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, preparing meals for home bound seniors, and restoring local parks,” stated in BuildOn’s webpage.

Fortunately, Benito Juarez Community Academy is one out of the eleven high schools in Chicago that offer this program in school. The BuildOn program at Juarez has been active for almost 8 school years and features a walk in service meaning that any student can engage in the service learning projects when they chose to volunteer.

Juarez’s BuildOn program is only made possible by the Program Manager and Program Coordinator. Stephanie Maldonado and she has been working at Juarez for almost four years as the Program Manager. Grace Betsy is the Program Coordinator and has been apart of the Juarez BuildOn team for almost two years. Together they help plan ongoing service projects that students are allowed to actively engage in during the school week such as, going to centro Guadalupano, reading books with children from El Hogar Del Nino at Lozano library, DIY projects, and Saturday service projects. The opportunities are endless for the students at Juarez, they are exposed to many intercom announcements and flyers are posted around the school halls in order to remind students or inform them of upcoming service projects. BuildOn has opened up many opportunities for the students here at Juarez.

Stephanie Maldonado believes that students are actively involved in journalism gain rich experiences and opportunities.

“They learn professionalism, by being timely, coordination with BuildOn staff, and representing themselves accordingly at service projects. Gain confidence by interacting with others and leading activities. Learn about the challenges our world experiences and try to make a difference,” said Maldonado.

An active student leader named Alejandro Espinoza, is a current senior who began to participate at the beginning of his Junior year, he states that he would actively participate in BuildOn four days out of the week. Alejandro enjoyed meeting new people and knowing he was making a difference in his community by participating in BuildOn.

He believes that every school should have the opportunity to participate in BuildOn and impact others the way it had an impact on him.

“Yes, honestly it is a great program which every school should have. I became a better person and I learned how to give back and not be selfish so t has impacted me greatly,” said Espinoza.

Alejandro showed great effort and enthusiasm throughout the program his Junior year, and in the Spring of 2015 he was chosen to participate in the Trek for Knowledge Program and traveled to Burkina Faso, Africa. He was one out of the eight students chosen to travel to Africa in order to build a school over his three week spring break.

BuildOn is a way to earn community service hours while giving back to the community. It can open new opportunities and experiences to its participants, and Benito Juarez Community Academy offers this opportunity to its students.

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The student news site of Benito Juarez Community Academy
BuildOn’s Walk-In Program at Benito Juarez: Why It Matters