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rosa inés méndez
As senior manager of innovation at StriveTogether, Rosa develops and trains leaders in communities.
Rosa Inés Méndez is a first-generation Black Dominican American born and raised in Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, earning a bachelor’s of psychology with a minor in Spanish. She received her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Roosevelt University in 2004.
Rosa has over 20 years of experience with community engagement and mental health services. She has served as a case manager, program manager, Community Schools Resource Coordinator and Early Childhood Resource Specialist. In these positions she was able to bear witness to the racial inequities across multiple systems. She has worked with non-profit organizations, school districts and businesses during her career to promote equitable and just community, parent and family engagement efforts in the Chicagoland area.
She is a Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity (SEED) facilitator and has experience-creating mutual aid efforts in Evanston, Ill. She is the board chair for the Village Legal and Community Project serving the South Shore, Woodlawn, and Englewood communities of Chicago. Her purpose is grounded in social and equity justice, empowering individuals and families, and connecting people to resources within their community.
Azua, Dominican Republic, where my family is from. Even though I never lived there, I visited often and it always felt like home to me. As an adult, Azua represents the love of family and friends and the memories of my youth. It gives me purpose because every day, I live with the feeling of “ni de aquí, ni de allá,” the split between two countries and two cultures. This feeling drives me to work towards co-creating spaces where people feel included.