Give!: Juntos for Education

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Juntos for Education started out as a scholarship program in 2015 for undocumented and underprivileged students.

Since then, it has become a youth leadership program to help those kids find a voice, especially in the current political climate.

"Juntos" means "together" in Spanish. The co-founders of Juntos for Education can relate to the cause.

“Oppression is real, it’s not just in the history books, it’s happening to me right now I need to stand up and do something about it,” said Luis Antezana, a teacher at Harrison High School and co-founder of Juntos for Education.

"My father was deported when I was in middle school I never had any teacher ask me about it, no adult try to help me sift through my feelings, or teach me even how to have a voice,” said Rashedah Mohammed, another teacher at Harrison High School and co-founder for Juntos for Education.

The goal is to teach kids how to speak up. Students in the program are asked to identify a problem in their community then work toward solving it.

“We wanted to create a system that lifts people up,” said Antezana.

“First, identify the problem; second, different braining storming techniques on how to address that program,” said Mohammed. “There are a lot of issues that our children in poverty are facing that aren't being talked about and people don't put the face of our student on those issues.”

The program in its first year is a success so far.

“[It’s] blown my expectations! Kids are really into it they are hyped all the time,” Antezana said.

The students from 7th to 12th grade in District 2 are hoping to gain leadership skills that will carry them through life, teaching them to fight back not with violence but with their voice.

“Not just within this group, step out of this group, go to class and be able to not just advocate for themselves, but for their community and for their peers,” Mohammed said.

Students work on this program for nine months then present their progress at the end of the school year.

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