When I first learned about BLCI I was automatically interested in working with them because I related to the students in that I grew up in an underserved community. Another thing I found in common with the students is that they are on their way to being the first in their families to go to college and I am the first in my family to attend college. Working with BLCI I have been able to learn more about the communities of the students they serve as well as the community in which BLCI is located.

Working with the ninth grade class at first seemed like a scary task, however after meeting with the BLCI high school specialist I was able to learn more about the program and workshops. The first day at BLCI the high school specialist allowed my partner and I to introduce ourselves to the class and throughout the workshop gave us an opportunity to walk around and get to know the students. I found it a little difficult to start conversations with the students because they all knew each other and what to do while I was new to them. The following week my partner and I decided to go earlier however we had a hard time finding parking around BLCI and accidentally ended up parking in front of a cafe. I was intrigued by the sign at the front of the cafe so we decided to go in and check the place out. Upon entering we say an array of creative coffee items that blended Mexican food items such as tres leche and mazapan to regular coffee. Quickly Chikita’s Cafe became our hangout spot as we continued to go every Monday before BLCI to try new menu items. The second workshop I attended I was given a group of ninth graders and we walked around Chicano Park discussing the murals and how it relates to their life. This workshop allowed me to start a conversation with the students and learn about their communities. Last week my partner and I were given the opportunity to lead a workshop which involved creating vision boards. This workshop allowed me to talk more to the students and get to know more about where they come from and their goals for the future.

Thus far, working with BLCI has been a great experience because I have been able to learn more about a community and program I had very little knowledge about. BLCI and the ninth grade students have reminded me of where I come from and how far I have gone. I hope to be able to learn more about the students and the community as well as be able to help the students with anything they need.