PILSEN — The organizers behind Pilsen’s popular Fiesta del Sol are accepting applications for their annual scholarship program for Latino students from the Southwest Side.
The Pilsen Neighbors Community Council has started accepting applications for the Guadalupe A. Reyes Fiesta del Sol Scholarship Program. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. April 16.
Applicants must be of Latino descent, enrolled in an accredited college or university and have a 2.5 or higher grade point average. Students must live in the area between 16th and 79th Streets and Cicero Avenue and Canal Street. The scholarship is open to DACA recipients and undocumented students.
More information to apply for the scholarship can be found here.
For more than two decades, the council and sponsors have given out scholarships benefitting first-generation, low-income, undocumented students from Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton Park and other Southwest Side communities. More than $800,000 has been awarded to more than 500 students since the Fiesta Del Sol scholarship was created in 1996.
Money for the scholarships is raised through events, including Fiesta del Sol and the annual Recorrido Del Sol 5K run/walk.
But coronavirus has had a “huge impact” on that fundraising, said Juana Medina, a community organizer with Pilsen Neighbors Community Council.
While it remains uncertain if there will be events in 2021, the group will fundraise and look for sponsorships for the scholarship, Medina said.
Medina, who received the scholarship, said the award allowed her to return to college after 16 years.
“For those 16 years, I felt like the doors were closed for me to go back to college,” Medina said.
But after being awarded the scholarship, it felt like there was “nothing in the world that could stop her,” Medina said.
Because Medina was able to go back to school, she said she has been able to set an example for her daughter, who is deaf and has mild cerebral palsy.
“Seeing me go back to college, she is believing in herself to reach her dreams,” Medina said.