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CR Alum Leaves Job to Help His Community

Cristo Rey alum Miguel Blancarte, Jr. (CR'05) recently made headlines for leaving his consulting job to become the site manager for the CORE COVID-19 community testing facility at his former elementary school in Little Village. Read the WBEZ story here.

Miguel took the time to share his personal thoughts with us about his new mission:

"Despite the madness of the pandemic, there have been some silver linings. I prefer to look at the positive, to look at the good, and I believe there is some positive awareness and realizations growing from this health crisis...

Directing and managing this COVID Testing Facility in my community - serving underserved, under-resourced, and underfunded surrounding communities such as Little Village/South Lawndale, North Lawndale, Pilsen, and East Garfield Park to name a few - has been a great amount of work, however, it has also been extremely cathartic and humbling. I have always been a proponent of helping my community and helping improve the quality of life for those that are already disadvantaged; I seek to bring equity to ensure that the most vulnerable and underserved individuals live as humanely and dignified as possible. I've been reflecting over the past couple of weeks, and community and community engagement has been focal to me since high school, since being a student at Cristo Rey. 

I didn't know it then but the Jesuit tradition (and principles) of being a "man for others" is something that I continually think of as an adult, and continually reverts me to my time at Cristo Rey as being the turning point for me. Being a man for others, loving and caring for our neighbors, is something that I heard and aspired to, however, at the time, I didn't fully understand how I can achieve it. And while it's still a lesson in time, I am more assured of the fact that I want to continue paying it forward, that I want to continue being an individual for others. I graduated Salutatorian at Cristo Rey, but perhaps even more important to me was that I was presented with my class' "Committed To Justice" award. I think back at the Cristo Rey "Grad at Grad" statement of being open to growth, committed to justice, intellectually competent, loving, work experienced, and religious, and along with my time at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business, and Walsh School of Foreign Service, I can say that I will never stop trying to reach new limits to continuing to fulfill that statement.

I really feel as though this new role is the role for me. Yes, I am risking my health and wellbeing, and I am now a frontline worker where I'm in a "hot zone" at least 10 hours a day, however, it is a role that is cumulative of so much of what I've been doing, the different career experiences I have had as this involves management, strategy, communications, relations with government agencies, relations with community-based organizations, and even media relations. The transition from "international" to more local has been a smooth one - especially as this is quite literally in my front yard."