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Chester County Press

Editorial: Una comunidad fuerte

07/18/2023 03:52PM ● By Richard Gaw

There is a well-known quote in Spanish culture that reads, “Lo importante en una familia no es estar juntos sino estar unidos.

Translated to English, it means that what is important in a family is not to be together, but to be united together. For the past several decades – as heard in the collective voices of its leaders and witnessed in the generation-to-generation growth of its schools and its commitment to serve the entire community, not just the privileged -- southern Chester County has become a united front of inclusion that includes the families and individuals of the Hispanic culture.

In 2009, Tim Whitaker, a long-time editor in Philadelphia, launched an idea to connect authors, teachers and journalists with young people whose educational journeys are in need of proper guidance and encouragement, and help them transfer their thoughts and ideas into crisp, clean sentences.

He called the idea Mighty Writers, and today, Mighty Writers offers several four-a-day-a-week writing academies at several locations in Philadelphia, Camden, N.J. and Chester County. Each academy provides writing workshops, Mighty Toddler classes, mentorships, teen scholar programs and college essay writing nights to more than 4,000 students from ages seven to 17.

On Jan. 25, 2019, Whitaker and his Mighty Writers colleagues met with a half-dozen representatives from Kennett-area organizations to discuss the logistics involved with establishing a Mighty Writers location in southern Chester County and, if possible, within walking distance for Hispanic children.

They called the idea Mighty Writers El Futuro Kennett. All they needed was someone who would lead the way for hundreds of young people. They found that person: Sara Dickens-Trillo, the President of Casa Guanajuato Kennett Square, a nonprofit that promotes and preserves the Mexican culture’s traditions and customs, and La Communidad, the premiere source of assistance for the Spanish-speaking community in southern Chester County.

As bilingual program director and later senior director for El Futuro Kennett, Dickens-Trillo, her staff and the organization’s volunteers began the agency at the former location of The Garage Community & Youth Center in West Grove. The results became immediate; soon, the organization was sponsoring Family Write Nights, Mommy & Me programs, job readiness training for teenagers and daily after-school writing workshops for youngsters.

In 2022, through a five-year lease with the Servpro franchise and financial support from New Garden Township, Mighty Writers El Futuro Kennett opened the doors to a 4,000-square-foot facility in the Village of Toughkenamon.

Through this transition, Dickens-Trillo quietly and yet boldly helped achieve Whitaker’s vision.

“This location in Toughkenamon will give kids a place to go where they are supported and where they know that they matter,” she told the Chester County Press shortly before the opening of the new location. “If we really want to impact future generations, we have to impact the lives of our children. Our purpose here will not only help them through their own journey of learning through after-school programs, but to embrace their heritage, their identity and be proud of it. For us, that will be the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Last week, Dickens-Trillo sent the local community a letter announcing her resignation as the agency’s director, in order for her to begin a new Mighty Writers location in El Paso, Texas with her father and her family.

“I have indeed been fortunate to be a part of this community and it has been a wonderful nine years ride,” she wrote. “Collaborating with you has been an absolute pleasure, and I am expressing my deep gratitude for your support and invaluable contributions to me personally, to Mighty Writers, El Futuro Kennett, and the other organizations I had the privilege to support as a board member and volunteer.

“We learned a valuable lesson, that collaboration was the key to uplifting and supporting our beloved community!” she added. “I'll always cherish all of the wonderful and fond memories we built together.”

Throughout the course of leading Mighty Writers El Futuro Kennett, Sara Dickens-Trillo demonstrated how an una comunidad fuerte – a strong community – is first imagined, then built and most of all, how it can continue to flourish in the service of something much greater than ourselves.

We wish Sara and her family best wishes as they embark on a new chapter of their lives, and for the continuing mission of Mighty Writers, united together.