HomeTRP NewsGovernor Quinn joins TRP at La Casa Ribbon Cutting: TRP announces La Casa Giving Campaign

Governor Quinn joins TRP at La Casa Ribbon Cutting: TRP announces La Casa Giving Campaign

by Ulises Silva
Published: October 15, 2012
Photographs by Lyndsi Barboza
A project that took 10 years to become reality, and that looks to become a model for how communities support the higher education goals of its youth, needed a special celebration to open its doors. And on the morning of October 11, 2012, that’s just what happened.
La Casa Student Housing, a new community-based student housing complex in Pilsen developed by The Resurrection Project (TRP), officially opened its doors with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. With more than 200 people in attendance, and members of the media including ABC News, WGN, FOX, Univision, TV Azteca, and the Associated Press covering the event, the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony unveiled La Casa to the community as an initiative to promote a college degree as the requirement and not the option. TRP’s CEO Raul Raymundo, Gov. Pat Quinn, State Rep. Acevedo, State Sen. Tony Muñoz, and Ald. Danny Solis were among the speakers at a celebration that recognized La Casa and its special mission.
“La Casa,” explained Raymundo, “is the world’s first community-based college dormitory designed to incrementally increase the likelihood of college success by providing affordable housing, internship and mentorship opportunities, and a multitude of student support services. La Casa is here today to compliment the work that universities are achieving by meeting the needs of students in our communities.”

Together with the adjacent Resource Center, La Casa will provide its students academic support, including mentorship and internship programs, career guidance, tutoring, an on site computer lab, and five live-in resident advisors. The goal is to ensure all La Casa residents complete their bachelor’s degree.
The $12.2 million dollar project was made possible in large part thanks to an $8.4 million grant from the State of Illinois. Governor Quinn reiterated the importance of supporting programs such as La Casa.
“In recent years,” Governor Quinn said, “the State of Illinois has been making a series of educational investments in Latino communities. Our investment in La Casa is a continuation of this effort to ensure that the youth of our community succeed and become integrated into the fabric of our society.
La Casa has the potential to be a special place that makes a real difference in the collegiate careers of area youth. This potential was dramatically exemplified by Teohua Villalobos, one of La Casa’s first students, and his mother, Martha Nieto, both of whom addressed the crowd. Villalobos is attending Harold Washington Community College and intends to apply to the University of Chicago to pursue his Bachelors Degree. He and his mother feel that living at La Casa will help him achieve that dream.
“We chose La Casa,” Nieto said, “because I know my son will get the support he needs to continue his collegiate academic journey.  The support and guidance that we did not experience with his counselor in high school, I know that Teo will get at La Casa.  For instance, in high school, his counselor suggested that my son pursue a vocational program in landscaping. My son has never taken interest in horticulture. My son loves art, theater, cinema, and people. Teo is an avid reader who is academically ready for the rigors of college.”
During the event, Berenice Alejo, who was part of the original group of leaders that dreamed of La Casa more than 10 years ago, announced that TRP received a $25,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor. At the event, Alejo publicly pledged her contribution of $1,000 to help TRP meet this challenge grant that essentially matches dollar-for-dollar gifts to La Casa. Alejo asked those on hand and those reading this piece to join her in helping TRP meet this challenge and give students in need the opportunity to Live, Learn, and Thrive.
In appreciation for their support throughout the development of La Casa, Raymundo presented several attendees with the Faith and Values in Action Award. Among those awarded were Governor Quinn, Senator Muñoz, Rep. Acevedo, Ald. Solis, Nikki Stein of the Polk Bros. Foundation, Eric Lugo of JPMorgan Chase, Susan Olavarria of Midwest Generation, Jim and Kay Mabie, Milina Tous of MultiLatino Marketing, and Kim Riordan Van Horn of the Field Foundation of Illinois.
The event concluded with a reception in the Resource Center, where guests enjoyed delicious food and mariachi music, and where the media got a chance to interview several La Casa students. Guests were also able to take a tour of the dormitory facilities.
“This was an exciting day for the community,” Raymundo said. “And we are all ready to help our young people succeed in college and in life.”
To help TRP meet its challenge grant for La Casa, please visit our Donate page.