Education Archive


A Moment of Solidarity

Pilsen is a vibrant Latino community on the southwest side of Chicago, Illinois. Spanish is the first language of the majority of the inhabitants of Pilsen, but because they are living in the United States and looking for employment, learning English becomes more and more of a necessity. Seven other Creighton students and I spent most of the week helping Latino adults practice their English in the morning and then helping out at an after-school program later in the day.

One of many special moments for me in this community occurred one afternoon at the after-school program. I was working with 3rd and 4th graders. The four students sitting by me were working on homework, and none of them needed my help at the moment. Instead of just sitting there, I decided I would read one of the picture books in the classroom, and this particular book happened to be in all Spanish. I thought it would be good to practice my Spanish while I was immersed in a predominately Spanish-speaking area.

I’ve only studied Spanish for one and a half semesters, so honestly, my Spanish is pretty much non-existent. I can only pick out certain words here and there. Fully aware of this, I opened the book to the first page and realized I didn’t know what half the words on the page meant. I tried to figure out the meanings of these words using the other words I could translate, but I just got more frustrated as the minutes passed. I then proceeded to bother the eight-year-old sitting next to me, asking “Qué es [insert unknown Spanish word here]?” every five seconds in order to try to understand what the other words meant in English. I needed an eight-year-old’s help to read one page of a picture book. I felt frustrated in the fact that I could not get though a page in a children’s book using my own knowledge of Spanish.

I thought back to the adults we were tutoring that morning, and for the first time felt what it was like to be in their shoes. It is certainly hard and frustrating to learn a foreign language as an adult. I can’t imagine how frustrated they feel outside of the Pilsen community, where speaking English is the only option.

Out of all the memorable moments on my trip, I feel particularly blessed and lucky to have experienced this one. I was fortunate enough to feel that connection to the community, to the people I was serving, in that moment. In that moment, I experienced the pillar of solidarity, and it was an experience I will never forget.

Madeline Zukowski
2015 Graduate
Major: Journalism
Host Site: Pilsen, Chicago


The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.



Education: Support Female Education in Pakistan!

On October 9th, 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai was shot by Taliban gunmen, and after a bullet was removed from her brain, her condition is slowly improving.

The Taliban targeted Malala for her human rights activism. Malala has bravely spoken out for the rights of girls to receive an education. Her father ran one of the last girls’ schools to defy a Taliban ban against female education in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, and both Malala and her family have received threats from the Taliban in the past.

Send a message of support to Malala, Shazia and Kainat (two other girls who were injured while standing up for the right to education), as they recover from the attacks.


Economic Justice: Funding for Beginning Farmer Training Programs

As of October 1st, funding for the most important federal program to train the next generation of American farmers ran dry. If Congress doesn’t act quickly when it returns in November, this program, and the invaluable support it gives, could disappear forever.
In 2012 alone, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program funded forty training programs that provided new farmers the business and technical skills that they need to build successful, independent farms.
Don’t let programs like these fall by the wayside! Sign now to show your support for the protection of the BFRDP.


Discover Peru this Summer!

Study Abroad In Peru
















Interested in living and learning in Peru for six weeks over the summer?


Give Kids A Chance

A letter from Holly Fuller,

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the beautiful (though very hot!) summer months! Though I have not written a letter asking for donations for an organization in many years, I feel compelled to write this letter given the amazing event that the Tamarindo Community in Guarjila, El Salvador is organizing during the next few months. I would like to humbly ask you to be a part of it.

As many of you know, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) transferred me to Bangladesh last week to manage two food security programs which seek to decrease malnutrition. Since arriving in Bangladesh, I have had a lot of time to reflect on the journey that has brought me here…and one of the most important and life-changing parts of my journey has been the time and experiences I have shared with the Tamarindo Community in El Salvador.

I first learned about the Tamarindo Community during my junior year at Creighton University and was SO excited when they accepted me as a summer intern. I spent three months living with a host family, listening to the stories about El Salvador’s civil war, teaching classes for preschool kids, learning to wash my cloths by hand, eat corn tortillas, and play in-line hockey, and becoming friends with amazing people…it was a magical summer filled with many, many blessings and a few challenges (mostly learning Spanish!)! I returned in 2006 for nine months and helped a group of amazing women start a small business. They were my inspiration to return to graduate school in 2007. Since that first summer, I have returned countless times to visit and have always been accepted with open arms, big smiles, and invitations to eat pupusas. I can honestly say I would not be in Bangladesh or working for CRS if it weren’t for being a part of the Tamarindo Community during the last 10 years!

The Tamarindo Community was started 20 years ago by my dear friend, John Guiliano, to help youth recover spiritually, physically, and emotionally from the 12 year civil war. The Community has evolved during the years but strives to teach discipline and respect, provide a safe, welcoming space for recreation (especially in-line hockey and indoor soccer) and spirituality, serve the greater Guarjila community, and share inter-cultural experiences with visiting groups from the U.S. For the last eight years, the Tamarindo Community has called a converted chicken coop their home. But, as the context of Guarjila and the Tamarindo Community has changed so has their need for a new building…a building that will expand the Tamarindo’s work to the entire northern region of El Salvador, providing much needed jobs and a safe, healthy space for children, youth, and families.

As a way to fundraise to build this “Dream Center,” John G. will ride from Boston, MA, to San Francisco, CA (over 5,000 miles!) from August 5th to November 2nd. As part of their Core 500 sponsorship program, the Tamarindo Community has asked me (one of the 500) to organize 30 people who are willing to give $30 (or more if they so choose!) to make building the “Dream Center” a reality. All you need to do is click on the following link: and then click on the Donate tab. You should see my name (Holly Fuller) as a fundraiser. Though I will never be able to repay all the kindness, generosity, and hospitality the Tamarindo Community has shown me during the last 10 years, as a small token of my gratitude, I will be matching (1-1 with a maximum of $2,000) all the donations my fundraising team gives during the next three weeks before the ride starts. If you feel called to donate, please make sure you do so for my team so I will be able to match your donation. The donation is tax deductible. If you are unable to donate, please send positive vibes, good thoughts, and prayers for John during his ride as well as for the entire Tamarindo Community as they work to make their vision a reality.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write me at, send me a message on Facebook, or call me on Skype (hollyfuller). Thank you in advance for your generosity in helping me support an amazing organization that has been and currently is positively impacting hundreds of young people’s lives (including mine!)!

Participate Now!



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Migration: Support the DREAM Act

For 11 long years, Congress has debated the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a bipartisan bill that offers a path to citizenship for young immigrants. The DREAM Act protects responsible young adults from the constant threat of deportation and removes barriers to their rights to work and education. President Obama has promised to sign the bill into law. The DREAM Act has sparked hostile opposition from an emboldened anti-immigrant movement that has fueled a spate of dangerous and xenophobic laws that trample immigrants’ rights and jeopardize the rights of minority and indigenous communities. As supporters of human rights, it’s up to us to stand strong in the face of these attacks and secure this important reform to our immigration system.

Urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act without delay. All immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, or which side of the border they are on, have human rights. Yet — as documented in Amnesty’s new report, In Hostile Terrain: Human Rights Violations in Immigrant Enforcement in the U.S. Southwest — those rights are under threat from federal, state and local authorities. Our research shows a pervasive view among law enforcement officials of all immigrants as criminals — even when immigrants are victims of crime, such as survivors of trafficking and domestic violence. Raped then deported? It happens so often that many immigrants don’t even report these crimes. Passing the DREAM Act is a small but important step towards a fair and just approach to U.S. immigration policy reform. As anti-immigrant fervor reaches a fever pitch, we’re counting on people like you to speak up in support of U.S. immigration policy that respects human rights.

Urge your representatives to support the DREAM Act!