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Laura Morejon

BBN Editor

When Piper Bengal Jesus was an elementary school student himself, he saw first hand the benefits of the Latinos In Action Program at Banyan Elementary. Now , years later, he joined the club in order to give orders to the opportunity he once had. “ I always liked helping people,” Jesus explains, continuing that “ the [LIA club Members] did something for me that I wanted to do for someone else. I couldn't wait to get to highschool and join the club.” Now Jesus is one of the students providing support to K-5 students at Banyan Elementary, and being part of the LIA family has been a full circle moment for him.

The Latinos in Action program is designed to empower Latino students academically as well as socially and Piper’s club is the perfect example of this. Many students describe the program as a secondary family, as Mr Gallego, the club sponsor repeatedly says. “ You can't spell families without LIA ''. A pun we have heard multiple times coming from him, but the reality for a lot of students, and for years the students in LIA have been sharing the sense of community with our local elementary school.

Ms. Neunie, Principal at Banyan Elementary explains the initial effect the Latinos in Action visits has had on her school. “ Kids look forward to LIA visits'' she says, explaining that " they build a connection that is hard for teachers to build with their students.” Many of the school teachers and administrators agree, the LIA students have become an important assent to Banyan students and teachers the same.” It is hard for teachers to provide one on one time to students, and  the truth is, our students need that specialized attention, and LIA has given our young students that”, says Assistant Principal Ms. Roberts. The truth is, that LIA students serve as role models and mentors for these young kids, forming special connections that grow throughout their years in the program, and impacts that last a lifetime.

As important as the LIA students are to the kids at Banyan elementary, their relationship is mutually beneficial, as by serving as mentors the students at LIA have gained experiences and lessons that have changed their life,character and leadership.Cesar, the president of Piper’s Latinos in Action Class explains the impact that Elementary school trips have had on him. “ LIA has a special place in my heart, it's a place where I know i will be heard, a place full of friendship, trust and understanding, somewhere I know I can make an impact and help the community.” Cesar has been in LIA since his freshman year, and now as a junior continuously goes the extra mile in improving the program. Whether it be creating discipline, connecting with the club's members, to becoming an exemplary leader among benagal students. Cesar is not the only student affected by Latinos in action, taking Daniella, another veteran student. 

Veterans to new students alike, from Piper to Banyan, to all around the community LIA has made a remarkable impact. Banyan is just one success of the LIA Bengals, one which has  impacted many lives across its 6 years of existence, and one which will affect many more. From students like Jesus who first had the impacts of the program in his elementary years, or students like Cesar, the faLIA will continue growing and their diligent efforts of giving back to the community, do not go unnoticed. If you wish to know more about the LIA for the upcoming 2024-2025 year, talk to Mr. Gallego for more information.


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