As of Friday, July 6, 2018
OSU Open Campus has teamed up with the Columbia Gorge Educational Service District Migrant Program and the Hood River County Migrant Program to hire a new, full-time coordinator for the Gorge Juntos Program.
“We are very pleased to welcome Andrea Flores to join the statewide Juntos team and coordinate programs for both Hood River and Wasco counties,” said a press release. “She comes to us with a great depth and breadth of knowledge and experience that is directly applicable to the work she will be doing.”
Juntos (which means “together” in English) is an educational support program focused on helping Latino students and their families to navigate the path to success in high school and college or other post-secondary educational programs. It has been operating for the last four years and has served more than 200 families in the Gorge.
Here are Flores’ own words describing who she is, why she wanted this job and her hopes for the future of the Juntos program:
“I grew up in The Dalles hearing stories about my grandpas coming to the United States as “braceros” (meaning laborer, literally, one who swings his arm) to work in agriculture. I also remember my parents talking about their experience working in the orchards.
“I was determined to work in the orchards alongside my dad. My first job was at 15, working at a cherry loading dock. A few years later, I became a checker and then a crew member in the packing house, weighing cherries. Hearing the stories and seeing it with my own eyes convinced me that orchard work was not easy. I wanted more and aspired toward higher education. I graduated from The Dalles Wahtonka High School in 2011, back when the mascot was the Eagle-Indian.
“I applied for, and received, financial assistance through the College Assistance Migrant Program and enrolled at Oregon State University. I graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in public health and a minor in Spanish.
“I am the first person in my family to graduate from a university.
“After graduation, I wanted to return to The Dalles and serve my community. I found a temporary position as an English language learner assistant at The Dalles High School. When that ended, I was hired as a bilingual home visitor at The Next Door, Inc. While there, I received training and was certified to work as community health worker, a position that I found very fulfilling.
“Three years ago, I began volunteering as a facilitator for Juntos program because I wanted to share my story and to provide information to support families like mine. I knew they wanted their children to be able to attend college, but may not have the information that they need. The Juntos program is successful because it meets the families where they are and provides the necessary information in ways that families can understand. The workshops are taught in Spanish or bilingually.
“I have been on the job since June 1 and have been busy planning for the upcoming school year. My plans include continuing to collaborate with our districts to offer college readiness workshops at high schools and middle schools in Wasco and Hood River counties. I will do this with the help of a great team of dedicated volunteer facilitators.
“I will also be providing support to the Juntos Clubs at The Dalles High School and Hood River Valley High School and mentoring individual students.
“I would like to thank my parents, Luis and Patty Flores, my three brothers Luis, Eric and Cristian and the many friends and mentors who have believed in me and supported me. I could not have come this far without you. I am pleased to be home and serving my community in this new position and look forward to continuing to build the Juntos program to support more students and their families in achieving their college dreams!”