September 15, 2023

Celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

Meet Friend Joseph Cuevas from Friends of the Children - Phoenix

Friends of the Children is excited to celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, an opportunity to honor the rich heritage of youth, families, and our dedicated staff across the national network. Their contributions have been invaluable in shaping our organization and transforming the lives of the children we serve. Join us this month as we honor and celebrate the Hispanic/Latinx heritage, traditions, and stories that make our communities stronger and more vibrant.

Below you’ll meet Joseph Cuevas - a mentor at the Friends of the Children - Phoenix chapter of Friends of the Children. With 17 years of experience in social services and a deep passion for mentoring youth, he reflects on how his Puerto Rican upbringing and rich cultural traditions influence the special relationships he builds with the youth he serves and how he celebrates those traditions with his own family.

Meet Joseph Cuevas:

Hi, my name is Joseph Cuevas. I mentor youth in our Phoenix chapter. I have been working with Friends of the Children for a year now. I am so grateful to get the opportunity to mentor youth in the Roosevelt School District. The bond and positive relationships I have established with my youth, their families, and school officials are special.

I've worked in social services/early childhood education and case management for the past 17 years. I've always been passionate about helping people and mentoring youth in my city to the best of my ability.

Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, I can remember doing everything together as a family. In our culture we celebrated everything! Graduations, birthdays, weddings, holidays...I can remember our family always having big gatherings and feasts. The Puerto Rican culture loves to celebrate life, success, happiness, and love. One celebration and tradition that stands out to me in my culture is Dia de Los Reyes Magos, also known as Three Kings Day. It's a religious holiday on January 6th that celebrates the visit of the three Wise Men to baby Jesus. The tradition taught to us as kids was to put grass in a shoebox for the camels to eat after their journey carrying the three wise men. The shoeboxes would be placed outside by the front door. We would leave grass in a shoebox the night before Three Kings Day. Our parents/family members would remove the grass and replace it with a gift or toy for us kids. This tradition was passed on to us, and I proudly celebrate the tradition with my daughter.