SAN LUIS, Ariz.- “It was something that my dad did, he was also an activist, so it’s something that I was raised with and I decided I wanted to make a difference. That’s why I joined LULAC,” says Monica Castro, secretary of the LULAC ( League of United Latin American Citizens) Council in San Luis, Ariz.
LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States, and its goal is to advance the economic, educational, political, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans. “It started in 1929 and it was a civil rights movement that began in Corpus Christi, Texas. So, It’s one of the largest organizations in the United States and it fights for the Latino community so they can have the same rights as everyone else,” said Castro.
There are more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide, including one in San Luis, Ariz. that helps the youth in Yuma County make their dreams of college a reality through community-based programs and fundraising. Castro explains, “We have been in the area since 2003, and we’ve been doing activities throughout the community to raise funds for our scholarships.”
It’s these funds that have provided thousands of dollars to hundreds of local Latino students in Yuma and all over the country. With scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,000, LULAC’s fundraising events make it possible to help students pay for tuition, supplies, housing and more. “We have yard sales, sales of ‘Aquas Frescas’ during our ‘Fourth of July’ events. We do the bowling event, which is one of the greatest fundraisers that we have” said Castro.
And, it’s not hard to qualify, Castro adds. “The students have to be high school seniors, they can just go their advisor and the advisor has our applications. You have to have a three point zero, they have to be residents of Yuma County and have a community service background.”
Castro says LULAC will continue in its tradition of uplifting the Hispanic community, and as the daughter of a civil rights activist, she feels her purpose to help Yuma’s youth is a perfect fit. She concludes, “I’m making a difference in someone’s life, and it’s just something I love to do and it’s something in me, that I want to make a difference in the Latino community.”