Live United: Carmen Mejico
Carmen has worked as an educator for many years including a school administrator for thirteen years, serving as assistant principal for two years and in her current role as Del Norte Elementary’s Principal for the past five years. With children and grandchildren of her own, kids hold a very special place in her heart and she strives to provide all students with what they need to achieve academic success.
“We know that all schools aren’t equal. There are great kids here who are smart and talented. I do everything I can to ensure that they get the same opportunities as children with more resources,” she explains passionately.
Several students at her school receive nutritious food for the weekend through Kids Pack, a program that discretely supplies lower income children with food for the weekend. “It’s an extra gift!” Carmen exclaims. “I know parents and grandparents are doing a lot to make ends meet in life and need extra help to put enough food on the table. Having food for their kids over the weekend is a blessing.”
Engaged in Equalizing Education
At Del Norte Elementary School, 89% of students receive free and reduced lunch. This means that these children face more obstacles to academic performance and future success. As principal, Carmen extends help beyond what her job requires, contributing her own time and resources to make it easier on parents.
“Many of the families who send children to our school need extra help. I do everything I can to provide them with resources. During Coffee with the Principal, I answer questions for families, but also hold a raffle to give away prizes: gift cards for supermarkets, preloaded debit cards, and information to refer them to community resources if need be.”
Carmen has also welcomed Inland Empire United Way into her school for a School Makeover. In just one day, hundreds of volunteers transformed Del Norte Elementary with murals that contained messages of hope and joy. “When students and parents came in the next day, they were in awe. The makeover has made us stronger as a community and communicated to students that people care about their success,” Carmen reflects.
How Carmen Lives United
Carmen’s infectious energy is present in everything she does. Her passion for equality in education helps her live united and create a brighter future for children facing challenges.
As Carmen looks towards the future, she plans to contribute to IEUW as a volunteer after retirement. “I know that it takes a lot of time to help school makeovers happen. You need to call, plan, and strategize each step of the way. When I retire, I want to help make this a reality for other schools and transform the lives of children.”
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