There is joy in knowing that I am part of an incredible mission and that alongside me are marvelous human-beings. I’ve only been at Taller de José for a little over two months, and these two months have been filled with sadness, perseverance, confusion, gladness, and so many other emotions as I’ve accompanied various individuals as they navigate various social and institutional systems. I tend to be a rock to them as they figure out what steps to take next and the staff at Taller de José tend to be my rock as I work day to day as a compañera. Together as a team we’ve guided each other, listened to each other, and it really sweetens my day when someone brings a sweet to the office because sometimes some chocolate therapy is all I need.
This could have not been better highlighted this past Sunday as the Taller de José community came together at the Chicago Marathon, which Taller de José is a charity partner. As I met with a few of the runners I didn’t know the previous Saturday evening and as I had heard from the runners who currently work at Taller de José, they knew it was going to be a difficult, challenging moment to run this marathon; yet, they did it out of their support for the mission, and their admiration of the work that it takes to be part of Taller de José. They did their best as they ran this marathon, even though some of them were running for the very first time. I cannot even imagine all the preparation and conditioning that went into running these 26.2 miles. All for a mission and a community they are part of. And then there were the volunteers, which I was part of. To cheer the runners on. To cheer on those determined to finish the marathon and let them know we were there for them. I have so much gratitude for all those who signed up to run the marathon and all those who volunteered to be supportive and there for their team members.
On the whole, it’s comforting to know that even as an individual organization, Taller de José is not alone. There are other organizations that we partner up, consult, and collaborate with to make our community more cohesive. As we marched in the MSRN Peace March on October 4th, and cheered on our runners at the marathon on Sunday, we saw how connected we were with community residents, and other organizations in a different way. Little by little the Little Village and Pilsen area seem to become much more interconnected through various organizations that it does make a huge city seem smaller, and more together.