Maria Carpio Chavarin – Mujeres Latinas Unidad en el Arte y Bienestar

This project intends to serve Hispanic women in Elgin, who as a group experience inequality in access to community resources that help them take time for themselves, support them with stress, and develop self-esteem.  

In the Hispanic culture, women often take various responsibilities within the family dynamic, such as being homemakers, workers outside the home, educators, wives, mothers, caretakers, and carpool drivers. Balancing these responsibilities often results in Hispanic women developing high levels of stress, low self-esteem, and anxiety. I know this to be a common occurrence from my professional work in the field of health advocacy for Elgin’s Latina women. 

I also know that women do not have access to art because they lack funds, and face language and cultural barriers. Elgin has a lot of artistic events. Some take place through The Hemmens Cultural Center, the Park District, Grand Victoria Casino, and Elgin Community College. However, almost all of these events are in English and many of them have high admission fees that are inaccessible for our community. I am convinced that art is a medium that promotes relaxation and increases self-confidence. Yet Hispanic women in Elgin rarely participate in these events that would help them develop a healthier psycho-emotional balance.  

With this project, Hispanic women would have the opportunity to participate and engage with art at no cost to them and in Spanish, which would allow them to take time for themselves. I am certain that this would help them develop healthier family relationships, and in turn help strengthen the Elgin community. 

Our Rapid Response Team’s ability to quickly mobilize when there is ICE activity in our neighborhoods has allowed us to come in direct contact with undocumented workers who needed guidance and resources in the case of being detained by ICE. Through our KYR workshops, we have been able to inform the community on how to proactively prepare their family with information ranging from legal rights to the documentation needed in case of being detained or deported. 

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