History

Frida Kahlo Community Organization serves approximately 8000 parents each year and has provided parent workshops to over 200 bilingual education programs in Chicago Public Schools.

Through FKCO’s implementation of Family & Health Literacy Programs, and list of provided resources, FKCO in partnership with various CPS schools and community organizations, has brought over $13,910,000 to the Chicago Public Schools.

FKCO has also worked to establish their Bilingual Parent Committees in the suburbs of Bolingbrook, Glenview and Warrenville.

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The Beginning: Frida Kahlo Community organization has its roots in the friendship of two strong independent women, Myrna Fragoso and Natividad Hernandez. Myrna and Natividad both immigrated to Chicago to provide their families with the resources and tools necessary in the pursuit of happiness. Their personal experiences and intuition led them to conclude that immigrant families were lacking the confidence to support their children’s mind body and soul. They set off on the journey to provide the necessary tools for families in Pilsen and slowly have grown their community.


August, 2002: Frida Kahlo Community Organization (FKCO) was founded with the purpose of providing Latino families with immigration services, access to educational and personal development workshops that support families in their pursuit of healthy and successful lives and, in turn, foster strong and thriving communities.

July, 2003: FKCO, the National Museum of Mexican Art and Chicago Public Schools were awarded a five year grant through the Illinois State Board of Education 21st Century after school programming for the AARTEE program (Arts and Academics for an Effective Education). FKCO offered parents workshops, ESL and Computer classes while their children, in 2nd and 3rd grade, reinforced their skills in reading, math, science and writing through the various forms of art in an after-school program.

Summer, 2004: FKCO received funding from the Department of Language and Cultural Education to conduct a summer program for Latino parents. Parents were given tools and strategies to help their children with their homework. This program has been renewed every summer since its inception.

May, 2005: FKCO collaborated with Tecnológico de Monterrey, a Mexican private educational institution and one of the most prestigious universities in Mexico. FKCO now offers parents the opportunity to develop their skills in the area of technology. Parents not only support their personal and professional growth but the trainings allow them to support their children’s academic success. To date over 600 individuals have completed coursework in basic and advanced computer classes and web page design. This is the only Community Learning Center in Illinois.

Summer, 2007: The Illinois Department of Human Services- Division of Community Health and Prevention approached FKCO to conduct chronic disease prevention outreach and educational workshops to Latino parents for three consecutive years.

October, 2007: FKCO played a major role in organizing the Educational Pilsen Summit. FKCO has been an annual organizing member since 2007.

January, 2008: FKCO was awarded a grant through the Illinois Department of Public Health to implement a parent-based health education and referral program focused on Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention. A group of community health workers received ongoing training from the University of Illinois Extension (Cook County Extension), Breast Cancer Network of Strength, and the Midwest Latino Heath Research, Training and Policy Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago to conduct outreach and health education services, which promote healthy lifestyles among Latino families. FKCO has also received funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Communities of Color Initiative to conduct breast and cervical cancer outreach and general health education.

Spring, 2008: FKCO conducted several education workshops at the Illinois State Board of Education’s Bilingual Parent Conference. FKCO has been an annual participant since 2008.

August, 2008: FKCO launched its “Promotoras de Salud” (Health Promoters) program. A group of parent leaders conduct health workshops, promote healthy lifestyles and connect parents with resources. Parent leaders receive rigorous professional development, in the spirit of the “Train the Trainer” model, in which parent leaders train other parents to become “Promotoras de Salud.”

February, 2009: FKCO was awarded a grant through the University of Illinois at Chicago to implement a Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP), which provides accessible and high quality bilingual diabetes programming to Latino families in the Pilsen Community. FKCO continues to offer diabetes programming.

February, 2009: FKCO collaborated with the Mexican Consulate to implement the Plazas Comunitarias program. The program provides individuals, who did not complete their grammar and high school education in Mexico and/or are illiterate, the opportunity to receive classes. The program continues to run successfully.

July, 2009: FKCO, the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Chicago Public Schools were awarded a five year grant through the Illinois State Board of Education 21st Century after school programming to fund the CASA program (Community Arts Sustaining Academics). The CASA program offers parents ESL, Computer and Parent Workshops, while their children, between 5th through 8th grade, work with the Museum Staff in learning and discovering theater, poetry, 3 dimensional art, ceramics and Mexican folkloric dance in an after-school program.

November, 2009: FKCO collaborated with the Boundless Readers Organization in implementing the BIG READ program. Parents received a reading guide and a book titled “Sol y sombras,” a series of short stories by Mexican authors. Parents read and shared their thoughts and experiences regarding the stories. In addition to the experience of a reading club, parents learned critical reading skills that not only supported their learning experience, but also taught them important skills that are necessary for their children’s academic success. This program was renewed in 2010.

March, 2010: FKCO was awarded a grant from the Polk Brothers Foundation to support its immigration services that support the Latino families and create community cohesiveness.

September, 2011: FKCO was awarded the Carol White Physical Education Federal Grant to support Project FIT (Fitness Initiatives for Tomorrow). Project FIT provides families the opportunity to develop healthy & nutritious habits through educational and fitness workshops. Parents attend health and fitness workshops while their children are introduced to fitness through different forms of dance, exercise, and the importance of eating healthy.


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