Monday, August 04, 2008

Global Studies alum working for migrant farmworker rights

Jackie Fitzgerald, a 2008 graduate of WWC, is currently working with Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF). While at Wilson, Jackie participated in a course on human rights in Honduras and wrote a senior thesis on immigration reform. Here's an excerpt from a letter she wrote describing her current experiences:

"For 9 weeks I’ve been meeting with middle and high school students who migrate with their families to work in the apple, tomato and strawberry fields of Henderson County. Their lives are split socially, academically, family-wise, and in emotional and other ways that can’t possibly be accounted for. They live in a minimum of two states every year making it difficult to transfer course credits and adjust to ever-changing course curriculum, text books, state mandated graduation tests, teachers, friends, etc. This also leaves lots of room for error and little time for proper counseling, advising and other important services (i.e. language access, learning disability assessment, etc.).

My job at MEP this summer has come down to two themes: drop-out prevention and college access. I’ve gotten to do case by case advising and research individual students needs. I’ve helped one student enroll in community college and helped numerous others prepare for FL high school exit exams and fulfill pre-college requirements, including ACT/SAT prep and financial aid. In addition, I organized a field trip to get a tour of UNCA, started an ACT/SAT book drive, helped organize and do outreach for a day of Youth Empowerment workshops, participated in a parent meeting, collected clothing and beds for families in need, and organized a soccer and basketball drive to give to “out of school youth” (farmworker youth who do not go to school because they migrate to work). "

Thanks for the update, Jackie. It's always great to hear about the great work our grads are into.


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