Bacon, CAP, and Feelings

July 12, 2023

Top, left: students seating in a circle; top, right: student pointing to poster; bottom: three students walking and laughing

Written by: Brandon Santiago-Ramos, Caminos al Futuro 2023

Hi, my name is Brandon Santiago-Ramos. I am from Olathe, Kansas, so I had to convince my parents I was not running away! These past few days at Caminos have been amazing. I have never had a group of like-minded Latinos and Latinas in my hometown, and now I am surrounded with Caminos Scholars who had similar experiences growing up.

My day started with a burst of energy as I downed a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and a double shot espresso coffee from Starbucks. I was warned about the amount of bacon stuffed into the sandwich, but I was not expecting a BLOCK of bacon. Trust me, I was not mad about it. In class, we were given our first opportunity to work on the Community Action Projects (CAP), bouncing ideas back and forth with other Scholars. The various perspectives helped to make sure that all our projects would reach their fullest potential.

My project focuses on the lack of Latino establishments in and around Olathe. From my own observation, Latino families often move away from Olathe to neighboring cities better suited to accommodate their needs. To address this trend, I plan to host a soccer camp that allows kids to grow in their social lives while parents learn about the Latino community already established in Olathe. The last few minutes of our CAP time were spent picking up our 3D-printed toys we made a few days prior!

Later that day, we attended a panel with current Cisneros Scholars on imposter syndrome and overall health and wellness in college. In the first half of the session, we heard their own stories and experiences. Sadly, I know many Caminos Scholars can relate to those experiences as well. In the second half, we asked a variety of serious and funny questions to the panelists. The Cisneros Scholars were so real and honest with their answers that it felt like I was talking with a long-time best friend.

We ended the night watching the Gold Cup semifinal matches together. We often found ourselves getting a little loud when it came to celebrating, but it was just such a fun experience.

Brandon Santiago-Ramos is a Caminos al Futuro 2023 scholar. Brandon’s views are his own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.