Bowie High School Peer Leaders Seek Out Bilingual Resources for Spanish-Speaking Peers
The work our Peer Leaders do already is an act of translation – taking the knowledge and resources they have gained and sharing them in ways accessible to those for whom the college-going process is unfamiliar. For Peer Leaders like Jazlyn Leonzo from Bowie High School in Md., taking that work a step further to reach bilingual families is just another part of her commitment to connecting peers with the resources they need to succeed.
That’s why Jazlyn and her PeerForward Advisor, Mr. James Hargraves, set out to find Spanish-language resources at the “Estudios Universitarios a Su Alcance / A College Education is Within Your Reach” workshop hosted by the University of Maryland in March.
At the event, Jazlyn met with bilingual representatives from colleges like Towson University, Penn State, and the University of Maryland to gather information about majors, scholarships, and graduate programs offered. She also heard from local organizations that help immigrant families connect with legal and health services in her community. Jazlyn said she planned to share these college and community resources with her peers because she knows how helpful they might be for Spanish-speaking families.
“For me, it was really comforting being that I speak Spanish and it was my first language.” Jazlyn said. “Being at that bilingual event, there were a lot of people who spoke Spanish as their primary language. It was easy to communicate with them and it felt a lot more nurturing and at home for me.” When asked if she thinks there should be more multilingual college outreach like at this event, Jazlyn says, “I do think it would be helpful for other people for whom English isn’t their first language because it might make people feel more comfortable speaking up in that environment.”
Jazlyn’s commitment to advocating for her community goes beyond just her current work as a Peer Leader. In the future, she says, “I want to study law and become an immigration attorney. I want to help represent people that don’t really have a voice in the legal system. I want to represent people who aren’t being heard.”
Whether in the classroom or the courtroom, we know Peer Leaders like Jazlyn and her Bowie High School PeerForward team are already making a lasting impact on their peers and greater community!