Jessica Lirios, a third year student at McKendree University has hopes and aspirations in the areas of social justice and social change with a continued desire to learn more. She hopes to teach others about the need for social change in ways that inspire and motivate them. Manifesting this passion, she is part of the McKendree Community Action Team, Campus Ministries, Define American, Psi Chi, and the Psychology Club. Jessica also studied abroad through a mission based service learning program volunteering with Colegio de Educación Infantil y Primaria San Jose Obrero. Before studying abroad, Jessica was the coordinator of Family Living Center, a transitional living center for mothers and their children, where she recruited volunteers and planned for the children's program. She also volunteered during college with Lebanon Kids after school program, St. Celica's Middle School, and Opal's House Veteran Women's Shelter. Jessica devoted her Spring Break as a sophomore to visiting the US-Mexico Border on an Alternative Spring Break Immersion Trip and presented with fellow students about the experience, becoming a founding member of the Define American McKendree Chapter.
My interest in civic engagement was sparked when I first began going on mission trips in high school. I had a surface-level understanding of what it means to help communities, but I knew that I wanted to serve. I have learned about necessary aspects of creating positive change, such as the power of discernment and critical thinking when entering into service. Furthermore, my eyes have been opened to the importance of recognizing, learning about, and valuing diversity.
My main goal is to make children feel loved; I am confident that it is possible and certain that it is vital. I believe that love is sorely lacking in society, and I believe that this absence is a root cause of social justice issues. When children are abandoned, mistreated, and undervalued, they abandon, mistreat, and undervalue others; however, when children are actively loved, passionately cared for, and fiercely invested in, the consequences are phenomenal. Children are world-changers, and I intend to team up with others in ensuring the change they make is for the better. I hope to inspire others to do the same.