Guadalupe Reyes (1918-2000) was the daughter of migrant farmworkers who had emigrated from Mexico to Oklahoma. When she was a young adult, her family moved to Chicago seeking more opportunities. Reyes married a steelworker and together they raised their children in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. One son became severely disabled after having contracted spinal meningitis. With no real training, Reyes became her son’s physical therapist and helped him re-learn to speak and walk. Finding a school for her son proved to be a more difficult task—so difficult that she founded Esperanza, a school for disabled children, in 1969. When her son became too old to attend Esperanza, Reyes pivoted and focused on services for adults with disabilities. In 1973 she founded El Valor which provides employment and life-skills training. Passionate about educational opportunities for all children, Reyes led the push for a new high school in Pilsen—Benito Juarez High School
Why this stop? The Pink Line California station is not far from the Pilsen neighborhood where Reyes and her family lived.
Get involved There are many ways you can be a volunteer at Esperanza. Check it out
Connect—Reyes was a key organizer of Fiesta del Sol, a 4-day festival held every August in Pilsen. If you want to enjoy great food, music and fun, be sure to go!