Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
Traveling is a large part of Isabella Paredes’ life. One day she hopes to work for the Washington Post as a war reporter and travel to the front lines. “I would like to make a difference,” Paredes said, and reporting on relevant issues that people care about, such as war, would make her feel important. Paredes became accustom to traveling from very young, because she would travel to visit her family around the state.
She found her love for journalism during her freshman year of high school. Before journalism, she wanted to change the world by being a civil rights lawyer.
Her traveling background began when she was young. Her parents divorced, and as a result all members of her family moved frequently. Paredes has attended five schools in different cities around Illinois and Indiana. Paredes’ dad lived in Munster, Indiana at one time, and her favorite place to live “was probably Munster, I went to school there so all of my friends were there,” Paredes said.
Despite all of the moves, Paredes has been able to keep her family close.
Growing up Paredes lived with her mother, but she actually feels closer to her father’s side of the family. Her grandma, Naty Paredes, or “Abuelita”, as Paredes refers to her, is a second parent to her, after her parents’ divorce. “I raised her since day 1,” Abuelita Paredes said.
Paredes splits her time between living with her mom and her grandma. Currently, Paredes and her mom live in Plainfield, Illinois. She visits her grandma once or twice a month, and drives an hour and a half to do so. While at her grandma’s house, she is often around her uncle, Paul, and her cousins. Paul’s daughter, Rosalinda, and Paredes volunteer together, which they both enjoy. Paredes also babysits for her younger cousins, Valentina and Esmerelda.
She also travels to see her mom’s family in the rural part of New York. She does not enjoy seeing them as much as her dad’s family. “There is not much to do on the visits and I am more of a city person”, says Paredes.
Though her mother’s family is not one of Paredes’ favorite, her mom is. Paredes and her mother have always been close. When Paredes was young she and her mom read books together and discuss them. They continue to do this today. The last book they read together was 50 Shades of Grey, according to Paredes.
Abuelita Paredes sums Paredes’ personality up by saying: “She loves people, and talking to people, she is kind and would do anything for anybody. One of the best friends you will ever meet”. Paredes’ Abuelita also talks about how Paredes will have a great future ahead of her because she knows what she wants to do and where she wants to travel.