Most people don’t have to think about their status as a United States citizen, but for the brave members of Dreamers Club this is their normal.
Dreamers Club was started by seniors Jasmine Garcia and Patricia Camaya with sponsorship from College and Career Counselor Michelle Vasquez and Fine Arts Teacher teacher Amy Moore to give undocumented students and their allies an outlet to connect with peers who have many of the same experiences that they do.
“Last year we started in February so we hope to be able to do more this year” Vasquez says. However, starting late didn’t stop them from making a huge impact. They succeeded in raising over 1200 dollars to help two undocumented students pay for college.
The issue is that because these students are undocumented they are ineligible to apply for FAFSA, which gives financial aid to student in need, and this makes paying for college extremely difficult. Even if a student gets straight A’s all through High School there is a good chance that they will end up at a community college because the cost of a four year university is too high.
The club met for their start of year meeting at the beginning of September to discuss their plans for their second year and how they are going to tackle these complex issues. Similar to their first year, they are planning on fundraising by selling T-shirts, magnets and stickers but they also came up with new ideas on how to fundraise while also spreading the word about Dreamers.
“One of our ideas was to have a viewing party of the movie Undocumented at Century Theatre in Downtown Evanston,” senior Jazmin Garcia suggests. This idea would both fundraise and spark interest within the community.
The other important aspect of Dreamers Club is how they welcome new students and give them an immediate sense of connection. “Dreamers Club is all about coming together and supporting each other” Senior Patricia Camaya says.
There are a couple different ways to get involved in Dreamers Club. Students can get involved in the club’s first participation in National Educators Coming Out Day by purchasing a “Migration is Beautiful” or an “Unafraid Educator” t-shirt and wearing it on Nov. 8th to show their support for undocumented students. All of the funds raised will go directly towards the 2017 ETHS Dreamer Scholarship which will help a graduating senior go to college.
Students can also get involved by being an ally to undocumented students. Allies are simply friends or advocates for undocumented students who want to get involved in the Dreamers movement and help the club fundraise and spread the word throughout the school.
If students want to get involved, a good first step is to go to a Dreamer’s Club meeting which meets every Friday morning at 7:45 in H120.