Heroes: Carmelita Frias, Elvia Rodriguez
Community Heroes are individuals who offer their passion, strength and talent to improve their neighborhoods, benefiting people who may never know them by name, but who will reap the rewards of their work. The Community Heroes for Pilsen are Carmelita Frias and Elvia Rodriguez. They were selected, along with 26 others from across the city, by the New Communities Program lead agencies and their partners. Congratulations to these extraordinary "ordinary" people for their steadfast commitment to improving Chicago neighborhoods.
Carmelita Frias is a loving mom, but it takes effort to get 100 kids ready for a ballgame. The single mother of four created "Carmelita's Kids," the informal name for her neighborhood program for children. The Resurrection Project community leader partners with institutions and foundations to bring resources to Pilsen's youth. She typically is found taking dozens of children at a time to major sporting events or recruiting for Chicago Police Department's Explorers and other programs. Summer nights Carmelita volunteers in Pilsen's streets with the Resurrection Basketball League. She has given away countless books and believes that exposing children to positive options helps them make wise life choices.
Community artist Elvia Rodriguez offers experience, leadership and vision to Pilsen's children and budding artists. She has promoted the arts for 10 years through different neighborhood venues. As a member of the Polvo artist collective, Elvia is a strong advocate for local artists. She helped plan the premier of Pilsen Open Studios, an event showcasing Latino artists in the community. She also involves youth in the arts through the Pros Arts Studio. As a Resurrection Project leader, Elvia is an invaluable member of the organization's El Zócalo Leadership Team, which crafted a vision for healthy creative activity throughout Pilsen. Elvia was an official representative of Pros Arts Studio in the Quality of Life planning process through the Pilsen Planning Committee.