Overjoyed in October
Noche de Baile
Noche de Baile is a dance event that Andrea and I hosted at the beginning of this month to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. We wanted not only the FOCUS community but also Latinos across UTD to be able to come out and celebrate Hispanic culture through dance. We learned bachata, merengue, salsa, and cumbia -- not just the dances themselves, but a bit of the history and origins behind each one as well. My personal favorite is merengue because it's simple to dance and fast-paced. A lot of people really seemed to love Cumbia.
Our second event for Hispanic Heritage Month was piñata making! Everyone was given free reins to be creative and make whatever they wanted. I made a flag of Honduras. Others made things like popsicles and boots. I especially loved walking around to see everyone's creativity in action and fielding song requests that helped build and maintain the nice and cozy atmosphere of the entire event.
Día de Los Muertos Festival
Día de Los Muertos Festival was not an event that Andrea and I hosted or set up ourselves; in fact, it was something hosted by the city of Dallas. Thus, we took a field trip downtown and ended up having the time of our lives. There was an amazing parade that awed me -- the costumes, low riders, music, etc. I have never gone to an event like that before and absolutely loved it and the opportunity to learn more about Mexican culture.
My culture/heritage is something near and dear to my heart and a very important part of my identity, so all of these events meant a lot to me. When I first came to UTD as a freshman back in fall 2019, there wasn't a large Latino presence on campus so I didn't feel like I could relate to anyone / anyone could relate to me. I couldn't just speak Spanish or have Hispanic food regularly like I was used to doing back home in Houston with my family. FOCUS also didn't have a large Latino presence back then either. It is slowly growing, however, so last school year (my senior year of college, when I was still just a student) Andrea and I and some of the other Latino students in FOCUS decided to create a community for Latinos at UTD -- the FOCUS subgroup now known as Mi Gente! My vision for Mi Gente is twofold: 1) creating a space for Latinos to share their culture and feel like they belong, and 2) for FOCUS as a collective to learn more about Hispanic culture. I don't want any Latino students to step onto campus and feel the way that I did as a freshman. Would you please pray as I continue to minister to Latinos across UTD, that our events would continue to reach more Latino students and that they would feel welcomed and at home as a result?
Keep FOCUS Growing
It's nearly November again! You know what that means -- time for Keep FOCUS Growing (KFG)! KFG is an annual campaign that FOCUS leverages to raise additional funds to cover all the costs of doing ministry outside of staff salaries. To learn more, please visit https://anyfocus.org/
Thank you all! I could not do this without your continued support. Please let me know how I may be praying for you as well.