Communications Specialist Giving Back, Rebuilding Old Bonds through Silver Cross HCC
For most of her life, Diana Viveros has had strong ties to Joliet’s East Side, even as she grew up in the Plainfield School District.
“I played and coached softball for several years as a member of the Mexican American Coalition on the east side. We were big supporters of the Spanish Community Center, Vilaseca and St. John’s. Then, we moved to the east side going into my sophomore year, so I transferred to Joliet Central.”
Viveros has been able to do that again as part of her duties with the Joliet Township High School District as a Communications Specialist. And as one of the newest members of the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission, she can put even more resources and networking skills to good use.
“It’s exciting being back in Joliet,” Viveros said. “After graduating from USF, I moved to Cicero and worked for a tech company as a project manager.
“I saw the opportunity at JTHS, and I was able to do what I am passionate about. As soon as I got back to the Joliet area in October last year, I knew I wanted to get involved in the community again. I ran into Cesar Cardenas, with whom I worked on the Hispanic Latino Coalition of Will County. And he told me about the Healthy Community Commission.”
The Silver Cross HCC was launched by the hospital board in 2008 as a not-for-profit committed to creating a stronger, healthier future by providing support for education, workforce development training, and enrichment activities for youth, to improve the quality of life on Joliet’s east side.
As a student at USF, Viveros was part of a group that worked with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to donate cafeteria food that was going to waste to the Daybreak Shelter. While working with Joliet Grade School District 86 before and after graduation, part of her duties included reaching out to students of homeless families to make sure they had transportation or supplies needed for school.
“Since I work with Spanish speaking families, I am able to help the families I used to help back when I was at Joliet 86, working in the English Language Learners Department.” she said. “Now they and their families get to see me in my ‘Big Girl’ job!”
Viveros was able to get to that job thanks to a four-year scholarship at USF through the Hispanic Latino Coalition, which is supported by the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission. She was the first recipient of the HLC Dr. Daniel Gutierrez Scholarship for four years.
Since 2008, the Commission has awarded over $2.4 million in educational scholarships, workforce development, and quality of life grants to numerous east-side Joliet residents and organizations such as: Alpha Kappa Alpha – Tealight Foundation; Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; Community Services Council of Will County; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Forest Park Community Center; Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana; Lebanon Baptist District Association; National Hook-up For Black Women; The Harvey Brooks Foundation, Play for Rings, Inc.; Redeemed Connection; Senior Services of Will County; Spanish Community Center; and the University of St. Francis.
Viveros remembers when she attended Joliet Central, students didn't know about scholarship opportunities. And she can’t wait to add those available through the Healthy Community Commission to her arsenal of education opportunities.
“It was tough to rebuild some of those relationships during the pandemic. Being on Silver Cross’ Healthy Community Commission is a great opportunity, not only for me to get involved again, but to give back for everything that’s been given to me.”
For more information on the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission, email SCHHCC@silvercross.org.