We speak a lot about advocacy in my classes and that’s what I’m doing – advocating for individuals having issues meeting their basic needs. I like how it all connects.
Growing up in a low-income, immigrant household, Mitzy Duarte Chavarin, ’24, and her family relied on the help of their community to meet their basic needs.
Now a social work major at Bridgewater State University, Mitzy wants to provide that same support for other immigrant families. And she sees participation in a national fellowship as a key step.
“I think it will help me learn more how to be a better advocate for others,” she said of being named a recipient of a Newman Civic Fellowship. “It will help me develop a lot of skills I will need in the future as a community organizer.”
Mitzy, whose family has Mexican roots, is among about 150 students nationwide who are participating in the fellowship during the 2023-2024 academic year. The program, run by the nonprofit Campus Compact, helps students develop strategies for making social change and builds leadership skills. Mitzy will become part of a network of students ready to support one another.
“I’m excited for what I’m going to get out of it and excited to meet a lot of new people who are involved in their communities,” she said.
Taking a leadership role is nothing new for Mitzy, a transfer student from Nashua, New Hampshire, who is minoring in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Before coming to BSU, Mitzy co-founded and co-led a student organization that provided an inclusive space for students of color.
As a Bear, Mitzy helps run an organization for first-generation students like herself. She is also a justice fellow at the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice. Those responsibilities include serving with Brockton Interfaith Community, where she has helped distribute food, provide prom dresses and tuxedos to high school students, and organize a candidate forum.
“We speak a lot about advocacy in my classes and that’s what I’m doing – advocating for individuals having issues meeting their basic needs,” said Mitzy, who visited the Statehouse during spring break to fight for causes important to her and her BSU peers. “I like how it all connects.”
Mitzy already has the makings of a Newman fellow who will take full advantage of the opportunity, said her mentor, Laura Mulvey, G’18, community programs manager at the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice.
“Mitzy presented as a strong self-starter who was proactive in seeking opportunities,” Mulvey said. “That focus of her work and interest in using her voice to really advocate for others and her proven success was really inspiring to see in an applicant.”
Mitzy credits BSU with strengthening her commitment to social justice, which she sees as a platform for rooting out inequalities and supporting immigrant families.
“I’ve learned a lot about what social justice really means and how important it is to be involved in my community,” she said.
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