#4 Sara Dickens-Trillo
Our nomination for our 40 Over 40 project this week comes from Rachel Loeper, the Education Director at Mighty Writers, an organization that launched in Philadelphia where they “teach kids to think and write clearly.” When I lived in the city, I taught two creative writing workshops to middle school kids at the original location, Mighty Writers South, and the magic I witnessed within those walls continues to inspire the community work I do today. Classes range from stand-up comedy to sports writing to college prep. The kids learn to invest in themselves and invest in each other. It’s incredible how much they’ve expanded since that time, though, now with multiple locations across Philadelphia including El Futuro, a bilingual site, as well as locations in Camden, New Jersey and Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Their newest location in Atlantic City, New Jersey is slated to open later this year.
Since the pandemic hit, much of their programming (which is free for every child, by the way!) has moved online. Additionally, four of their physical locations now are distribution sites for the communities they serve. Here’s what Rachel had to say about our honoree, Sara Dickens-Trillo:
“Sara, a Mexican immigrant who has lived in the US for over 30 years, raised four children with her husband in California before moving to rural Pennsylvania (in 2014). Her two youngest children still live with her, and Sara applied for a job with Mighty Writers serving a Mexican immigrant community who are largely mushroom farmers and restaurant workers in Chester County, PA. She was already so connected to this rural Mexican community in a variety of ways that we hired her immediately.
When the COVID crisis hit, Mighty Writers pivoted to turn our writing centers into distribution centers for student lunches, literacy materials, groceries and diapers. We currently have four such locations operating, and Sara's is an inspiration. In addition to managing the incredible logistics of a variety of donations (she does not let any donation offer sit!), she continues to bring such heart to this truest form of community service.
On Mother’s Day, she shared the following with the 15 mothers who are volunteering with her during Covid: a box of household necessities like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, a box of chocolates, and flowers in handmade Mexican vases. When she received a donation of silly putty, she put together truly fun & joyful ‘learning packs’ of toys and writing utensils for over 100 children. We see
nearly 500 families every week in this location, and we're soon to add Covid testing through the Chester County Emergency Services Unit, who have had trouble reaching this community due to their lack of trust with our current administration.” Now that’s mighty.
In addition to being a bilingual literacy leader at MW Kennett, Sara also is the vice-president of Casa Guanajuato, a nonprofit focusing on Mexican culture, and a board member at La Communidad, a health center network in Kennett Square. For more information about her work or to donate goods to MW Kennett, contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider volunteering with Mighty Writers or making a donation today. -LC