Spring ’17 Student Reflection: Aaron Hidalgo on Finding Purpose

“My experiences working with children at Kid’s Club have challenged me to look deep into my own view of who am I as a person.”

Aaron Hidalgo ’18 is an Interdisciplinary Major (Humanities/Public Health) and a newly declared Community Action and Social Change (CASC) Minor. This semester, Aaron worked with Catholic Charities Canal Family Support Kids Club. His reflections chronicle his path to his decision to declare the CASC minor. Aaron spoke movingly at May 3 Service-Learning Symposium about how he felt that through this class and his engagement with the staff and young people at Kids Club he had found his purpose.

In the excerpt of one of Aaron’s critical reflections, Aaron analyses James Baldwin’s points from his address, “In Search of a Majority” and makes crucial connections with the lives of the Latino immigrant children he works with at Kids Club:

Fears and Tears: The Poisons of the Human Heart

The difference between the majority and the minority is a difference of influence. According to Baldwin, the majority is defined as those who have the most influence in their society (Baldwin 216). The minority can be defined as those who have little or no influence in their society. In relation to how politics in the United States have played out since its foundation, the minority has always been the starting point for immigrants. They willingly cede their status, their identities and realities from wherever they come from, in order to eventually become part of the majority. They do this for a multitude of different reasons and factors, but the universal desire to become part of a community and a country is what stays constant. [. . .] Fear is a powerful emotion. And when comes on an individual and societal level, fear of the unknown is what divides people, not just the majority and minority, from one another.

In terms of how this relate to the community, which is Kid’s Club at the Canal, I am working with I can only say that I worry tremendously for how these children will be affected by the hate that is trickling down to them. Most of the children at Kid’s Club are of Latino descent. They come from a low-income neighborhood. Most of the families there are part of the working class… Latinos are one of many immigrant groups that being targeted as part of a problem by the figures of authority in our government.

I constantly think of these things: Do they fully realize their reality? Do they have hope for the future? Is their identity truly their own? How are they effected by this right now? How about in 5 years? 10 years? How will their children fair?

It is something that makes me think more and more about the further the semester goes on. And the more I can consequently understand and validate the purpose of what I am learning.