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Spotlight: South Arlington Fireside Chat and Trauma-Informed Art Workshop

Karen Isabel Guevara, president of the Equanimity Foundation, in collaboration with Virginia LULAC  Director Christopher Concepcion, sponsored a program featuring a motivational speaker and a student/community art project at the Arlington Career Center. Motivational speaker Amanda Molina, a Corporate Counsel at Microsoft specializing in Artificial Intelligence who also serves as Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the Air Force, spoke of her rise to success through hard work in overcoming barriers she faced as a trailblazing first-generation Latina. Renowned Colombian artist Oscar Javier Gonzalez, who has exhibited his work in places such as Bogota, Paris, Berlin, and NYC, led the students in a hands-on trauma-informed art workshop featuring cultural imagery and personal expression. The art workshop was delivered in full Spanish language immersion to ensure cultural relevancy and connection with multicultural students. Margaret Chung, director of the Arlington  Career Center, introduced this well-attended program for the Career Center's diverse student body. Award-winning photographer Lloyd Wolf beautifully captured and featured the event in his multidisciplinary Colombia Pike Documentary Project.

The event would not have been possible without the diligence and dedication of Arlington Public School staff English Language Institute Lead Amanda Trevino, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead Monica Lozano Caldera, and Assistant Principal Jessica Salvador, and the overwhelming support from Superintendent Dr. Francisco Duran. Key community leaders in attendance included County Board Member Takis Karantonis, Sheriff Jose Quiroz, and Arlington Democrats Chair Steve Baker, who championed this community engagement project.

This event exemplified a meaningful collaboration between community organizations and local government to deliver tailored and contextually appropriate programming. It also demonstrates our commitment to Arlington's vibrant community through collective partnerships, resourcefulness, and intentionally meeting communities where they are.

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