Family Reunification: A Model of Community and Compassion

April 22, 2024

Preston Kendall, President, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep is a co-sponsored ministry of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

In 2005, former US Senator Mark Kirk, R-Highland Park of the 10th Congressional District, instated the Abuelitas program. This program allowed Mexican grandparents to travel to America to visit their children and grandchildren. This program was recently reintroduced by US Representative Brad Schneider, D-Highland Park.

On Sunday, March 10th, Cristo Rey St. Martin hosted families from the Abuelitas program as they reunited for the first time. CRSM alum Laura Pizano ’13, originally reached out to CRSM on behalf of Waukegan Club San Jose, a volunteer organization to which she belongs, to have this event at the school. The event aligned with the school’s mission and we were grateful to host 16 grandparents and their families for this special occasion.

Our CRSM student-run organization, Oportunidades Para Todos (OPT), was involved from start to finish, including greeting and welcoming families to the school. “This event overall has been extremely heartwarming,” noted one OPT member. “When I spoke with the families here, it felt like I was speaking to my own family.”

Both Mark Kirk and Brad Schneider attended the event, engaged with the familes, and were asked to offer their reflections. “It’s great that our representatives showed up,” added Laura Pizano, “it shows how close they are to the people.”

Cristo Rey St. Martin is proud to have an alumna dedicated to this cause and to provide the space for this very special meeting of multi-generational family members. We hope to see more reunifications in the future.

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