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Youth Spotlight: Laura Toledano

Eighteen-year old Laura dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer, fighting for families like her own who have come to this country to pursue their dreams, support their families, and strengthen our communities. This experienced Youth Community Organizer at Sociedad Latina has found her passion in helping others and using her voice to create change on the issues affecting her community. Her first “aha” moment came during a workshop on social movements, when she and her peers learned about impressive progress made throughout history by Latino activists fighting for women’s rights, immigration reform, and fair wages. “It only takes people, time, and courage to really change something,” Laura said. “It might seem impossible at first, but it’s not if you stick with it over time and fight for it.”

Laura moved to Boston three years ago from Higüey in the Dominican Republic. Laura has shared her story as an English Language Learner in Boston Public Schools many times through public testimony before the school committee, city council, and Office for English Language Learners. Before actually doing it, she never imagined herself in such a role, but now she enjoys public speaking. This is one of many personal accomplishments she says she had as a result of being challenged by the staff and her peers at Sociedad Latina. “It was important to me because it was about my experience,” Laura said about her involvement in the campaign. “I was telling my own story and also I was helping to make a change. My voice was being heard so that was really important to me.”

Laura’s also found an extended family at Sociedad Latina, where in addition to working as a Youth Community Organizer she receives support with homework, literacy, work readiness, and college access. Laura was awarded Sociedad Latina’s 2015 Aurea E. Beltran Memorial Scholarship for her leadership and dedication to our organization. As Laura embarks on her freshman year at University of Massachusetts Boston, she feels confident that she has the support she needs at Sociedad Latina to achieve her dreams of a college degree.