Students may now apply for the Cross Cultural Leadership Program for summer 2023.
CCLP, as the initiative is known, pairs students with nonprofits across the country, as well as in Puerto Rico and México, as part of a real-world, immersive experience sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies.
Students may choose an eight-week volunteer commitment in Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington, D.C., or shorter assignments in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and, for the first time, Querétaro, México.
The Institute for Latino Studies covers all the costs associated with the program, including flights, room and board, and local transportation. Preference is given to Latino Studies majors and minors, but all undergraduates may apply.
Applications opened the first week of November. Decisions on placements will be made on a rolling basis from December 1st to January 16th of next year.
"CCLP is a combination of an internship program and an academic class," said Professor Karen Richman, director of undergraduate studies at ILS. "The purpose is to provide students in Latino Studies a means to take what they learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world."
"In this case, in Chicago, the student lived in the predominately Latino neighborhood of Back of the Yards...the students live in the very community that they are accompanying. That is, living and participating as partners, as opposed to the top-down complex of service."
Miranda Colon, a junior studying political science and sociology, appreciated that this iteration of CCLP was in-person as the pandemic abated this year.
"I did this program last year virtually, so I was excited to get out and into the city," she said. "It's really been amazing, I've gotten to live in a community that is so tight-knit and with so many amazing people. Also with my housemates, they're people from Notre Dame but I didn't know them before this."
"The National Museum of Mexican Art, I can officially say, is one of my favorite places in the world after this summer. I love the people here and they've been nothing but supportive. They've been teaching me so much that I never would have got the chance to learn."
Victor Gomez, a South Bend native and Notre Dame senior studying political science and theology, noted the similarities between his hometown and the Back of the Yards neighborhood. He worked primarily with the Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership but also witnessed the good work done by the nonprofit Casa Romero, which provides out-of-school educational program for children and teenagers.
"It's been a big opportunity to get to know the people and their stories. There are families who are working everyday, and for whom being present with their children is a hardship," Gomez said.
"Places like Casa Romero are needed to help sustain and support these families. And the families feel it, so they begin investing in places like this, and the community is all the better for it."
Lucia Carbajal, a senior majoring in history, partnered with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, also known as MALDEF. She emphasized the significance of their work, and the advice her co-workers gave her about her law school aspirations.
"One of our cases can help thousands or more Latinos or immigrants, because our one case sets a precedent for other people," Carbajal said.
My coworkers "have given me a lot of advice on how to apply and how law school works. I know now I have those resources...It's been so helpful and rewarding," she added.
Grace Hsu, an economics major with a concentration in pre-health studies, really appreciated Chicago's urban landscape as she pursued an internship at healthcare provide Alivio.
"I really love living in a city environment. It's so diverse and multicultural, it's really eye-opening."
Melody Padilla, a theology and anthropology major with a supplementary major in Latino Studies, emphasized the independence that CCLP gave her while she volunteered at immigrant advocacy group Alianza Americas.
"You have to make your own support network, and I did that in a whole different community that I didn't think I would belong to. But now I do feel like I belong."