Brittany Reynoso joined the Illinois Red Cross staff as a Regional Philanthropy Officer earlier this year. In this role, she manages a portfolio of donors and works with them individually to understand their philanthropic goals; together they connect their giving interests with all that the Red Cross does. Prior to joining the development staff, Brittany was a virtual volunteer with the Red Cross in the western U.S.: “I wanted to learn more about the Red Cross, the breadth of the life-saving work that’s part of the mission, and the different lines of service”. When a position opened in Chicago, the fit was perfect!
Hispanic Heritage Month is a special time of year for Brittany to reflect on her own heritage. Her grandparents are from Jalisco, Mexico and she takes great pride in that culture. “It’s so vibrant and I’m very proud of it. It’s an important part of my identity every day, but this month is a reminder to share our cultures and heritage with friends and loved ones.” One of Brittany’s favorite ways to celebrate is listening to live mariachi music in Chicago, and sharing that unique musical experience with friends. Throughout the year, she enjoys the Mexican influences in the Pilsen neighborhood, including the National Museum of Mexican Art. Visiting the Frida Kahlo exhibit with her family this summer at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art (College of DuPage) brought the Mexican painter and history to the forefront and was amazing, says Brittany.
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to appreciate other Latin cultures and recognize those communities. Brittany recently visited an Argentine market and restaurant with an Argentinian friend, to experience what makes their culture distinctive. A multi-cultural and ethnic city such as Chicago allows for that exposure.
“This month is also the perfect occasion to spark conversations among elders and hear what stories they lived, a time to connect to family and carry on those stories in the U.S.”, says Brittany. She plans to travel to Jalisco next year with her grandparents, and looks forward to reconnecting with her family’s history and heritage.
To become a Red Cross volunteer and make a difference in your community, please visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.
Written by Communications & Marketing Volunteer, Virginia Hopley