Elgin LULAC president focuses on education
By Tara Garcia Mathewson
Helen López Strom doesn’t like to be in the spotlight. But, unfortunately for her modesty, López Strom’s successful leadership as president of LULAC Council 5236 has made her unable to avoid it the last couple years.
In 2010, she won a City of Elgin Image Award. In 2011, she won an Elgin YWCA Leader Award for Racial Justice and the LULAC Council 5236 Woman of the Year Award. This year she won a local Women of Grace and Dignity Award and was named LULAC Woman of the Year at the state level.
“I like to be a behind-the-scenes person,” López Strom said. “Everything that has occurred in the last two years has just been a whirlwind.”
López Strom went to her first local League of United Latin American Citizens meeting about three years ago and became the vice president during council elections not long after.
At her first meeting, she was impressed by the diverse, dedicated group of people at the table with LULAC. As evidenced by her quick accumulation of accolades, the Elgin wife, mother and educator dove right in, drawn to the mission of the Latino organization working with the community.
The group has become exceedingly focused on education in the last few years, working with Judson University, Elgin Area School District U-46, Elgin Community College, the Youth Leadership Academy, the Gail Borden Public Library and the Elgin Public Museum on learning-based initiatives.
“I’m really strong on the fact that education is our future,” López Strom said. “I don’t think any of us has been putting enough emphasis back on trying to get hispanos educated so they can better their lives.”
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