JFS is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and we are interviewing members of our board and staff to get their perspectives on what this celebration means for them and for our community. We spoke with Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, President of Framingham State University, to learn more! 
(Dr. F. Javier Cevallos)


Thank you for speaking with us, Dr. CevallosHow are you involved with JFS? What is your favorite thing about the organization?
      • I became involved with JFS through (former CEO) Marc Jacobs who recruited me to serve on the board.  JFS is a social services organization that truly cares for the community at large and works to help all people in need.
Could you tell us what Hispanic heritage means for you? 
      • There is no “one” Hispanic heritage.  We come from many countries with a wide variety of cultures.  One common trait is the language, but many second-generation Hispanic (Latinx) Americans no longer speak Spanish.  That said, there are many commonalities that we celebrate, including music and food.  Celebrating our rich diversity within one ethnic group is a great way to celebrate our Hispanic heritage. We talk about the USA being a melting pot, but Latin America is a melting pot, too! For instance, Argentina had a large Italian population migration, and Venezuela had a heavy German influence. Chile, Ecuador, and many other countries had considerable Jewish populations, too. Latin America is full of many population patterns and many different cultures that come together. 
Could you share some traditions that you and your family celebrate that are related to your heritage? Favorite holidays, foods, songs?
      • I myself am part of a melting pot, too. My father was from Ecuador, but my mother was from Spain, so we adapted many traditions from those cultures when I was growing up in Puerto Rico. In our family, New Year is a very special day.  We merge Spanish traditions (such as eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight) with Ecuadorian ones (burning an effigy symbolizing the past year) with Puerto Rican ones (dancing after midnight to specific songs).  Our food is typically more in the Puerto Rican style (rice beans, roasted pork), but we add Spanish omelets and cold cuts. 
How can organizations like JFS support and advocate for families and individuals of Hispanic heritage in our community?
      • Our community reflects the rich variety of Hispanic cultures.  The most important thing in my mind is to continue our efforts to educate the children and put them on a pathway to a successful career in life. We all have a responsibility to help the community. Although we come from many traditions and backgrounds, in the USA, Latinx people make up one giant melting pot. I feel that it is our responsibility to support our Latinx community, and it is up to all of us to be engaged and provide access to education, health services, and social work. One thing that JFS does extremely well is provide support to the community in all those areas, especially with the organization’s high-impact involvement at the Harmony Grove School. 


JFS of Metrowest would like to thank all its supporters and partners who make our work in the Latinx community and Metrowest community possible. 

To donate to JFS of Metrowest, please visit https://jfsmw.org/donate/  

For volunteer opportunities with JFS of Metrowest, please visit https://jfsmw.org/volunteer/