Latina Leader Valeria Chavez

Valeria Chavez
A recent graduate of Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, twenty-four year old Valeria Chavez has earned a law degree from the prestigious Mexican university. Driven by the injustices that she saw by everyday life, especially towards minors, she felt an internal calling to help those that were oppressed by their situation.

During her time as a college student she “[discovered] the inconsistencies within the Mexican system, the large pockets of corruption that asphyxiate the country, the high poverty rates, the millions of injustices that Mexican women suffer [as well as the kids] that were abandoned by their fathers to pursue the ‘American Dream’ or the mothers that were kidnapped by organizes crime so they can work in drug laboratories. Who is not going to be motivated with all this suffering,” challenges Chavez.

Being aware of the world that many Mexicans live in, Chavez threw herself into her community. Back in 2007 she began volunteering at Los Brazos de Dios A.C., a kitchen soup in Chihuahua, Chihuahua for children and teenagers that were afflicted with poverty. Every December the organization planned a posada, gathering of several days that provided lodging, and Chavez would talk and play with the children. Throughout the rest of the year she would celebrate El Dia de Niño, Children’s Day, or visit them in the summer to see what they were up to.

Although she moved out of the state, Chavez continued to make an impact wherever she went. In college, she created the program called Rescatando Mentes, Rescuing Minds, which drove to “rescue the minds” of children and educate them on topics that might be taboo for them. Chavez was inspired to create this program since in 2014, in areas of Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, and State of Mexico, children were being kidnapped from rural places by criminal groups regardless of age and sex.

 

“It occurred to me to present this idea to the Instituto de Desarrollo Social del Tecnológico de Monterrey (IDESS), to start a community service project and that way form a group of my peers that will help me carry this out,” says Chavez.

According to Chavez, the program was built on four building blocks. The first was to giving children ways to prevent being victims of sexual assault, what to do if they were victims already, and how to talk about it.  The second pillar was to prevent addiction of drugs. They kids were informed of the types of addiction that exist and the consequences that happen due to the addiction. The third pillar was to motivate them and inspire the children. They were shown videos, had presentations, and given role models of legendary figures that managed to do great things by starting with nothing. The last block was built on the rights of children. Chavez and her team explained the rights they have as children and reminded them that they needed to be respected. Overall, the project was a success as the children and schools welcome this project into their classrooms.

Chavez built her experience as acting president of, La Sociedad de Alumnos de la carrera de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas, the Society of Alumnus  for Law and Political Science, for three semesters of college. She helped organize trips to historical landmarks in Mexico such as the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Senate of the Republic, Government Palace, among many more. Within the second semester, the organization had invited key figures from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. Chavez says that these visits were crucial as a student since you learn things outside of the classroom.

 

Being the first lawyer in her family, Chavez says that her father is her greatest inspiration to continue working. Although he passed away fourteen years ago, she remembers how her father was able to accomplish great things despite not going to college. To this day, Chavez continues to be reaping from her father’s hard work. “To me that is something that is worthy to admire every day,” says Chavez.

Currently the young lawyer is working in Ochoa Figueroa de Abogados, a law firm in Mexico, where she is the leader of an investigative project. Her team is currently compiling a “Libro Blanco,” a document meant to yield information over a certain topic, for the State Government of Mexico so they can look for any administrative inconsistencies within their spheres.

Where ever she is, Chavez wants to create change. “I wish to make a difference and leave a fingerprint wherever I go. There is no [final] answer and I believe that no one has discovered it, but I want to continue working towards making smaller changes to hopefully create a large one. There are many things that move me like injustices, education, and poverty, and they all can’t be solved at the same time. But I am sure that it doesn’t matter if you’re in the lowest position or the highest one we might find ourselves in, there will always be something worthy to do for society.”

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