REVERE — A passion for empowering the Latino community through education is what drove several voters to choose Monse Torres-Hood as Revere’s Person of the Year.
Torres-Hood, originally a journalist from Ecuador, became an activist for her community after seeing inequalities and a need for change.
“I realized that it was almost like people from the Latino community were invisible. If I don’t help change that I feel like no one else will,” she said.
A Revere resident for more than 18 years, Torres-Hood found an opportunity to help influence a positive change in her community when she was appointed a district project director for a citywide early learning project for low income children. “Footsteps2Brilliance” was implemented in 2014.
The project helped bilingual families who otherwise could not afford, or did not have access to preschool programs for their children, according to Torres-Hood.
“A lot of these children can speak both Spanish and English, but when it comes to writing and reading they fall behind,” she said.
However, for Torres-Hood, who is now the coordinator of the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at North Shore Community College in Lynn, education opportunities didn’t end with just children in bilingual households.
“Obviously, children are the future and important, but sometimes we give them so much attention we forget about the parents. It’s hard for children to succeed without their parents.
“Everyone needs to function together, it works both ways, it is empowering for me to push local politicians to work with us,” she said.
Along with her passion for education, Torres-Hood is active as a voice for local Latino business owners working to establish a strong connection with the Revere Chamber of Commerce.
She says that it is important for Latinos and Latino-owned businesses to create a network among themselves and support each other.
“Latino networking is very important, we can create a bigger circle of different people and that leads to new paths for better careers. It’s about finding those paths,” she said.
Torres-Hood, through her many efforts to help her community, is also a board member for RevereTV. She hopes to build more bilingual content for a city where, according to the U.S. Census, 50 percent of its households include a language spoken other than English.
Torres-Hood was also selected to be on the Powermeter 100 list for the Boston Latino newspaper, El Planeta.
This list, which selects people and politicians who have had a positive impact in the Latino community, serves as a testament to everything Torres-Hood has accomplished.
“It’s an honor to have people listening to and recognizing you,” she said.