I Believe I Become initiative
12,000 young people.
Four neighborhood zones.
One common goal:
Close the achievement gap by 2025.
Find out more at www.believe2become.org.
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Monica Quíroz is the President of the Parent Teacher Organization at César Chávez Elementary School. She is active in I Believe I Become activities. She is a community leader. But she wasn’t always this involved in her community and school. Her involvement started when the I Believe I Become movement came to the West Zone. She says a “lioness awoke in me.” She is a living testimonial to the B2B movement – here is her story.
LINC: Since you’ve been involved with B2B, what has changed in your life?
Monica Quíroz: I’m a warrior, I’ve got more courage and I’m working for my community more than ever before.
LINC:How did you get involved with B2B?
MQ: I attended a meeting and I was very intrigued by the Prevention of Drugs and Violence group. My son is always walking in the Chávez area and we’ve had many accidents and incidents of violence, and that’s what intrigued me about going out there and doing something about this violence. I need a safer zone for my children. And even for us, as adults.
LINC: What changes have you seen in your neighborhood?
MQ: I know my neighbors now. So many years of living in my zone – I never knew who my neighbors were until now.
LINC: Have things changed in your family as well as a result of these activities?
MQ: Yes, there’s more communication with my children. There’s more trust – more trust with them, and more trust for them with me.
LINC: Do you think the meetings and the B2B process is helping?
MQ: Yes, I believe in the process, that’s why I’m part of it, but I know that by myself I can’t do it. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the schools and I hope that we can achieve it starting now. I need the help of the LINC staff and more organizations so that we can achieve what we want for the zone. I can say that in me the lioness was awakened through the LINC trainings and Believe 2 Become, to want to be a part of it.
LINC: In the last West Zone meeting your daughter said you and she are friends on Facebook. Does that make you feel good?
MQ: Yes, because now even her friends want to be my friends. Maybe it’s because I’m different than other moms, I’m willing to have that trust. It’s not that I’m this “cyber mom” or anything, but when the kids started with this whole MySpace before Facebook I was involved because I needed to know what they were doing. I need to know what she’s writing on Facebook because it has to do with her and if I’m not aware of it then I’m not aware of what she’s doing outside of the house.
LINC: Do you think that you’ll continue the process even after your kids have graduated?
MQ: Yes. My kids graduate, but then it’s my grandkids, and then it’s my neighbors kids and then it’s just more family and more kids – there’s still a reason to continue. It’s not just for my kids - it’s for all children and for so many youth that have lost their lives. I think of their mothers and it’s just not right. It needs to be safer and it needs to be better for them too.
LINC: Do you think people get something out of the meetings?
MQ: Yes. A lot. Besides what we learned with LAST and the Power Points that explained what B2B is, we have and we live a real and live testimonial on what we feel. They see me and think: we know her, and she’s really doing it. If you were to bring an outsider to talk about the movement it doesn’t make the same impact as someone who is living in the zone and actually a part of that movement.
LINC: When you think about Believe 2 Become what kind of emotions do you feel?
MQ: Support. Support for our children, support for graduation, support for us being out in the street doing positive things in the community. It’s not about incentives; it’s about what we can grow in ourselves.
The LINC News Bureau is a project of The Rapidian and LINC designed to bring news to the people of Grand Rapids through the eyes and ears of their fellow citizens. The bureau provides a platform for the community to tell its own story. News is what we make out of our daily lives and how it impacts others. With training, equipment and assistance residents become citizen journalists, capturing the life of the community in words, recordings, videos and photographs. Disclosure: Opinions expressed by bureau reporters do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoints of LINC community revitalization inc.