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Family and Youth Specialist: Mount Ogden Jr. High

In only a few months of working at Mount Ogden Jr. High as a Family and Youth Specialist, Iveth Vazquez has made great progress. With a clear goal to involve the Latino community, Iveth has initiated several programs to help build a bridge between the community and the school.  

Every year Marketstar has a local food drive and donates to Mount Ogden Jr. High. Iveth received so much food that there wasn't enough space to store it all. Iveth dealt with the overflow by hosting a food drive-through where parents could pick up food as they left Parent Teacher Conferences this September. The food drive provided food for 91 families Iveth said, “This was a great success because some of the families taking stuff had nothing at home,” noting that their gratitude was unmatched.

The food drive got Iveth looking for more ways to benefit her students and their families. Over half of the students at Mount Ogden Jr. High are Hispanic/Latino. With such a high percentage of Latinos at the school, Iveth is working to do more to better support these students. Iveth said, “I think there are many Hispanic/Latino parents who think that the education of their children is very important, but they don’t understand the school system and at times that can become a barrier for their children.”

One of the barriers that Iveth identified for parents is the grading system and how to monitor their children’s grades online. In most Hispanic countries, the grading system is number based, which makes the American letter grade system a foreign concept to these parents. To help educate parents, Iveth has started to integrate Spanish Parent Night during Parent Teacher Conferences. Her goal is to provide a space where Hispanic parents can ask questions and learn more on how the system works and how they can provide the best support for their children.

In the first few months of the school year Iveth has done a great job in building relationships with students and strengthening the communities around her school. Iveth has a strong value for education that she wants to instill in her students. Using her father’s words, “if you want to be someone in this life, if you want your voice to be heard, than you need an education.” Iveth helps students see the value of education and helps them get on track for success.