Benton House Community Outreach
Kristina works an an educator, immigrant advocate, community organizer, and an artist. She has been teaching history and cultural studies for 7 years in schools, youth programs, universities, and national conferences. With a strong commitment to public service and the arts, she has worked with CIRCA-Pintig community theater, Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment, and Benton House community center. Kristina received an Immigration Advocate certificate from the National Immigration Institute of San Francisco, and continues to work with immigrant family services. She also co-authored, In Our Aunties’ Words, an oral history book revealing the journey of 1960s Filipina immigrant women diaspora. In December 2009, Kristina helped launch Bridgeport’s only food pantry at Benton House. In July 2011, she founded Girls Action League, an exciting young women empowerment program also at Benton House. After two years of social justice leadership in Chicago, she was the youngest woman to be nominated to sit on the 2011 Mayoral Advisory Board on Human Relations. She is currently the Vice Chair of Bridgeport Alliance, a grassroots multi-issue based organization in Bridgeport formed in 2011. Kristina hopes to continue to build enriching programs at Benton House and create positive social change.
Youth Programs Coordinator
Ben has worked in Chicago as a teaching artist for the last 8 years. After studying art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he become involved in several public art projects including murals, rehabilitation of vacant lots, and coordinating cultural events such as the international VersionFest. He has served as the Youth Programs Coordinator at Benton House for 3 years and has experience teaching visual art, carpentry and electronics at the high school level.
Food Pantry support
Alex graduated in December 2010 from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. After a year of traveling, exploring organic farming, and painting on the east coast, Alex moved to Chicago to join the Benton House team. He coordinates food donations and assists in running the Food Pantry. Alex’s work also focuses on facilities refurbishment and enhancement.
Food Pantry Coordinator
After graduating from Loyola University Chicago in May 2011, Zakiyya worked as an educator, developing curricula and workshops in nutrition and urban gardening, catered at youth on Chicago’s south/southwest side. In March 2012, she joined Benton House with the mission of developing a community health & wellness education aspect to the programming.With a passion for community food justice, she currently serves as the chair-person of The Hope Response Coalition’s Advocacy Committee. She is also a member of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Champion Advocates, having had the opportunity to represent her agency in Springfield during the 2012 Feeding Illinois Conference. With the cultural-diversity of the neighborhood in mind, Zakiyya works towards expanding the agency’s capacity to provide fresh, locally grown produce for community members and clients of the Benton House food pantry.