Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Latinos en Evanston North Shore holds Los Años Dorados

Misha Oberoi/The Daily Northwestern
Over 30 people were in attendance at “The Golden Years,” held quarterly by Latinos en Evanston North Shore at YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

Nine years after Latinos en Evanston North Shore President Mercedes Fernández’s father died, she started “Los Años Dorados,” or “The Golden Years,” as a tribute to him. 

“He was the best father I could ever dream of in the whole life … when I was working here, struggling with my three children with one income, my dad was there for them,” said Fernández, who also co-founded LENS.

Fernández said her father helped around the household and taught his grandkids to take pride in their culture. But because he was undocumented, he could not work a job, she said. 

He often struggled to interact with people due to language barriers, Fernández added.

Fernández said The Golden Years aims to foster community among Latine seniors living in the North Shore. 

The event is also meant to educate the community about issues that may be relevant to them and includes speakers from different organizations. The program takes place entirely in Spanish, the second most commonly spoken language in the city.

The Golden Years took place at YWCA Evanston/North Shore from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. More than 30 people were in attendance. 

The organization began holding the events in 2022, and outreach for participation is mostly by word of mouth. 

LENS Vice President Fabiola Zdrubecky said she called several of the participants herself to invite them. 

This quarter’s event included information about wills and healthcare, according to Zdrubecky. Financial coach Enrique Juarez from Catholic Financial Life discussed the financial implications regarding the event’s general theme at the event.

“In Evanston (and the) surrounding suburbs, they don’t have activities for Latino seniors in Spanish,” Zdrubecky said. “We are trying to just fill that gap.” 

Other activities included bingo, Mexican lottery, singing, chicken-dancing and more. 

Fernández sang a rendition of “Todo Cambia” by late Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa. The song’s title translates to “Everything Changes.”

Currently, the events are free to attend. To fund the food and games, the group relies on donations from the community, Zdrubecky said. 

She added that she feels Evanston doesn’t do enough for Latine seniors. When LENS asked the city to allow them to use Levy Senior Center for their events for free, the city refused. 

“There’s zero services for seniors in Evanston,” Zdrubecky said.

Cook County resident Isabel Velez, a frequent event volunteer and attendee, said she enjoys helping LENS out whenever she can.

Velez said her favorite part about the event is the music and the information provided.

“(Juarez) gave us information about different things like the wills, and sometimes people don’t know about this stuff,” Velez said.

LENS also honors the lives of community members who have passed away recently at the events. On Saturday, organizers spoke in remembrance of a woman who passed away in February. 

Velez said she learned about the importance of appreciating life for what it is.

“Your life is not secure in the way that you can say, ‘Oh, tomorrow, I’m going to do this, or next month, I’m going to do this,’” she said. “Life is not like that, so appreciate what we do at the moment.” 

LENS also hosts an annual Book Readers Club. At the club, LENS volunteers teach Latine members English grammar and vocabulary for free. The group is planning to start the next batch of the club in the next few months. 

Email: [email protected]

Related Stories:

Evanston Latinos to open community kitchen pilot in June

Latinos en Evanston North Shore celebrates Day of the Dead at ETHS Latinos en Evanston North Shore celebrates Day of the Dead at ETHS

Evanston Latinos to open Community Kitchen for local entrepreneurs Evanston Latinos to open Community Kitchen 

More to Discover