Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays From Latinitas
We send you the warmest thoughts for a wonderful holiday season and wish you a world of peace and every happiness throughout the coming New Year. May you be blessed with much love, prosperity and peace this holiday season. ¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

From the Latinitas Team

Give the Perfect Gift

This holiday season, honor a woman or girl in your life by making a tribute gift to Latinitas. Give a gift that makes a difference. Show an amiga, hermana, cousin, mother, aunt, grandmother, niece or daughter that they have the power to to create new opportunities to empower local girls.
Make a tribute gift to Latinitas on-line at: http://www.active.com/donate/latinitas/holidays

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Teen Reporter Spotlight: Eliana Grijalva-Rubio




Writing and reading a magazine made for themselves by themselves, our Teen Reporters take a sense of pride and ownership in Latinitas. Readers of the e-zine look forward to anything from reviews and feature stories all the way to celebrity profiles and blogging. High school sophomore Eliana Grijalva-Rubio has found her calling being a Teen Reporter and said she is enjoying the "perks."

"The magazine really puts you right into the middle of the media. I've learned so much about stuff like interviewing and research, and even stuff I normally wouldn't go after, like radio journalism and photography. It's made me feel like a real journalist. And the perks never hurt!" Eliana said.

Just having joined Latinitas this summer, the 15-year-old said participating in Teen Latinitas Council has made her more confident.

"I feel like an actual reporter now, and it's given me the confidence to e-mail random people and ask them for help in my writing. I can really say I'm a writer now, and I feel like I'm a part of something, and like I'm a part of the media," Eliana added.
Eliana attends the Da Vinci School for Science and Arts. She plans to study Journalism and apply to the University of Southern California.

Juggling high school, homework, extra-curriculars, and still reporting for Latinitas Magazine, Teen Latinitas Reporters are taking it to the streets and writing about it.

Intern Spotlight: Lupe Anchondo



Latinitas interns are a major force in the advancement of our outreach and empowerment of young women. Everyday interns for Latinitas contribute their time and knowledge to different areas of the organization.

Literally transcending the border between classroom and career, UTEP Graphic Design sophomore Lupe Anchondo is using the skills as she learns them in class as a graphic design intern.

Previously a club leader during the spring semester, Lupe applied for a fall internship.

"[Latinitas] gives girls like me great opportunities to expand themselves in a variety of ways," Lupe said.

She has taken advantage of the opportunity and has created bilingual flyers, brochures, and other club materials for Latinitas, trying her hand at new techniques she's learning everyday in her graphics classes. Additionally, Lupe sees this as a way for her to see if graphic media really is her calling.

"I applied for this specific internship because I wanted to get the experience I need to see if this is the career I want to pursue," Lupe said.

Latinitas' interns play a unique, individual part in our success. Working towards the common goal of empowering young Latinas, our interns are committed to the organization and its members. From outreach, writing for the magazine, designing materials, editing, taking photographs, all the way to initiating PR tactics and strategies, marketing, fundraising, creating curricula, or planning special events, Latinitas interns are spreading the word and gaining experience for their own future successes.

Latinitas In the Community: Veteran's Day




Members of Latinitas took to the streets and participated in this year's Veteran's Day Parade held in northeast El Paso.

The parade ran from the YMCA on Stahala Drive and concluded at the Old Glory Memorial with a ceremony.

"I was proud to be a part of the parade and salute our veterans who often go unnoticed and under-appreciated. The response from the community regarding Latinitas' presence was awesome," VISTA-volunteer Claudia Escobar said.

Teen Reporter Spotlight: Sara Elizabeth Sanchez

Keeping in mind its audience, Latinitas Magazine staff continues the "for Latina Youth, by Latina Youth" spirit when it comes to the monthly editions of the magazine. Teen reporters write anything that is of interest to them and other Latinas their age. Readers of the e-zine look forward to anything from reviews and feature stories all the way to celebrity profiles and blogging. Loretto H.S. senior Sara Elizabeth has taken on the title of Teen Latinitas reporter in addition to other obligations this year.

"Latinitas introduced me to feature writing, as well as deadlines in an office setting," Sara Elizabeth said.
Just having joined Latinitas this summer, Sara Elizabeth can already add "published reporter" to her resume. The 17-year-old has already written five feature stories for the magazine as well as covered a local film festival.

"This will help me in college because I won't be fresh-faced, like some other students," Sara Elizabeth said.

Her heritage and community are important, the teen said, adding that she finds Latinitas is a great opportunity for her to be more culturally conscious.

"It is important for young women to be involved in their community because they are the future of their community. Latinitas has allowed me to get a deeper look at my gente, as well as the customs that I am surrounded by," Sara Elizabeth added.

The teen recognizes the skills she has learned in the few months she has been involved with Latinitas as vital to her career.

"I would definitely recommend other girls to get involved in Latinitas because it teaches skills that can be used throughout life," Sara Elizabeth said.

Self-awareness is another aspect of being involved in the Teen Council that Sara Elizabeth said she likes.

"Latinitas has allowed me to be more optimistic, as well as enable me to see myself and my goals and say 'I can do it," Sara Elizabeth said.

Juggling high school, homework, extra-curriculars, and still reporting for Latinitas Magazine, Teen Latinitas Reporters are taking it to the streets and writing about it.

Intern Spotlight: Rosana Lopez

It is through the thoughtful and charitable time local college students give that Latinitas is able to move forward with its mission. Everyday interns for Latinitas contribute their time and knowledge to different areas of the organization.

UTEP Multidisciplinary Studies' junior Rosana Lopez applies her studies to her internship with Latinitas. Having so far interned for three weeks, Rosana is working on multiple projects including club activity curriculum, and hosting Saturday workshops for our Teen Latinitas Council.

"I knew this internship would help me build relationships in the community and give me the experience in working with young, receptive girls," Rosana said.

She added wanting to be a part of the organization because of what it stands for and could not help but be "excited" to be involved in the Saturday workshops.

"I'm developing lessons that will mold the youth of our community and I think that's important," Rosana added. She also said that she enjoys being part of a team of other young Latinas committed to the community.

"My favorite part is that I belong to a cool team of other interns and volunteers that are passionate about helping young Latinas," Rosana said.

Aside from being surrounded by young Latinas with similar educational, cultural and service goals as herself, Rosana admits that creating enriching educational activies is a challenge she faces in her internship.

"Finding out-of-the-box ideas that will stimulate young girls and including the media piece can be difficult, but thinking about how these will go directly to the girls in our community is what makes it an important and worthy challenge," Rosana said.

Working towards a common goal fo empowering the Latina youth, whether it be in outreach, reporting, designing, editing, taking photographs, initiating PR tactics and strategies, marketing, fundraising, creating curricula, or planning special events, Latinitas interns are truly what make the organization what it is today.

Club Leader Spotlight: Leah Martinez

Club leaders for our after-school programs are at the core of our girls' success. Much like the girls they reach out to, Club Latinitas leaders have overcome obstacles and broken stereotypes to become successful college students and outstanding citizens in their communities. They strive to set the positive examples young Latinas are so desperately in need for today.

Being a club leader is not only contingent upon following lesson plans and taking roll. Club leaders ensure safe and fun learning environments where every member including every club mentor and volunteer feels comfortable enough to gain knowledge, express themselves while growing to become empowered Latinas. Leah Martinez is a club leader for the Ysleta Public Library Branch in the Lower Valley of El Paso.

The UTEP student said she enjoys working with people of all ages, and knows teaching young girls will add her teaching experience.

"I like that the girls really get involved with the material and how honest they are," Leah said.

Despite the joy Leah said she has in leading the group of girls, she does confess to having a few predispositions before applying to be a club leader.

"I had already been in a teaching environment previously but with adults, so I expected it to be a bit difficult with pre-teen and teenage girls, Leah admitted.

But now, Leah said, the girls have blown her away with how well they participate and take active roles in the activities.

"The girls are open to discussion, writing and love taking pictures," Leah added.

Latinitas club leaders help bridge the gap between young Latinas and other peers their age. Providing a strong core for Latinitas volunteers and Club Latinitas members, leaders continuously put in the effort to assure all receive quality educational and culturally-focused experiences from club meetings. Setting an example and mentoring young girls, these leaders balance jobs, school, and club meetings, making them true inspirations.

Partner Spotlight: UTEP Center for Civic Engagement

Giving college students the opportunity to gain service-learning experience, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) at UTEP has included Latinitas as one of its service project offerings.

"The ultimate goal of the partnership between the CCE and Latinitas is to have UTEP students be able to correlate what they are learning in their course to what they are doing while participating in the program. As well as the UTEP student providing a service to Latinitas that allows for the organization to meet their goals and mission," Jennifer Rodriguez, Service Learning Coordinator for the center, said of the year-long partnership.

Known as "Reflection," students who volunteer through the center are not only able to recognize their impact on the community and the organization, but also on their own careers and education. While working with Latinitas, student participants become club mentors to dozens of young Latina girls around El Paso at Club Latinitas sessions held in public libraries around town. UTEP students participate in "group discussions, mentor participants, provide girls with direction, serve as role models, guide activities and help with set-up and breakdown," Rodriguez added.

One CCE member that volunteered through Latinitas earlier this year described her experience as one she will not soon forget.

"It taught me to be a role model for the girls. It made me happy to be someone that they can look up to," the volunteer said.

National Latina Rising Star Award


Latinitas Co-Founder Alicia Rascon accepted the Bright Stars of Tomorrow Award on November 6th in Albuquerque. The award, presented by the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) , is the first of its kind to be given at the Mujer Awards and Leadership Conference.

The award was created to highlight the accomplishments of Latinas under 30 in all sectors including public, private and non-profit. "Moreover," added NHLI Program Manager, Evelyn Garcia-Morales, "recipients are being honored because of commitment and service to the Latina/o community through the work they do."Garcia-Morales also said Alicia was chosen as a recipient because "her visionary efforts have impacted hundreds of girls."

While at the conference, Alicia met and was able to network with many Latinas from across the country. She also had the opportunity to meet CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien who received an award after a special screening of the special she hosts on Latinos, as well as author of the "Dirty Girls Social Club," Anisa Valdes-Rodriguez.
"It was inspiring to meet so many powerful and talented Latinas. I left the event feeling energized and empowered to continue to create positive change in my community," Alicia said.

On behalf of Latinitas we congratulate Alicia on her recognition.

Intern Spotlight: Loida Martinez

Giving local college students the opportunity to contribute to the organization, Latinitas internships are as diverse as the interns themselves. EPCC public relations sophomore Loida Martinez, applies her studies to her internship with Latinitas. Having interned for a month so far, Loida is working on multiple projects including outreach, spreading the word about Latinitas' programs and making media contacts.

"I get to get more girls into the clubs and learning as I'm doing all of this," Loida said.

Also a Latinitas club leader at Clardy Public Library, Loida made the transition from club mentor last spring to now leading this semester.

"I wanted to see how Latinitas works. As a mentor, I didn't get to see the background of a non-profit..." Loida added.

Aside from learning the ins and outs of how non-profits function and learning how to effectively execute a PR plan, Loida has her internship and club-leading duties to thank for forcing her to be more organized.

"It's difficult. It's about having time for everything, knowing what you have to do, and staying motivated," Loida admitted.

She said she enjoys working towards something positive and informing the older group of Latinitas about what the club has to offer them.

"I want [teen Latinitas] to know it's for everyone. They can have fun and be part of a club that is exclusive for them, so they can have a positive path," Loida said.

Whether helping with outreach, reporting, designing Latinitas graphics, editing, taking photographs, creating public relations plans, marketing, fundraising, or event planning, our resident interns give their time and in return build their portfolios while receiving vital career experience.

Staff Spotlight: Claudia Escobar-Lopez

What originally began as a move to be more involved in her community, Latinitas' resident volunteer, Claudia Escobar, has now switched roles to an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) member within the organization.

As a VISTA, Claudia is now responsible for organizing after-school programs, club leaders, volunteers, building the club curriculum, and spear-heading the volunteer training.

"I began with working with Latinitas last year as a club mentor and then became a club leader at Clardy Fox and Judge Marquez Libraries,"Claudia said.

Claudia received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology this summer and wanted a way to continue to serve the Latina youth full-time.

"I wanted to stay involved but at the same time find a way to be able to support myself," Claudia said.

With the help of Latinitas co-founder Alicia Rascon and a collaboration with AmeriCorps, Claudia is now able to continue her passion to give to her community and "empower and inspire Latinitas by creating a culturally and language-sensitive club curriculum," Claudia said.

Currently, Claudia is working on adding more bilingual content for the clubs and organization materials.

Club Latinitas Meetings

Club Latinitas meetings have re-commenced at public libraries across the city! Clubs are for girls ages 9 to 18 and run from 3 to 5 pm depending on age. Bring your girls to learn about their culture through fun-filled activities that include writing, photography, poetry, graphic design, and video production.
Meetings are held weekly at Memorial, Judge Marquez, Clardy Fox, Armijo and YsletaPublic Library Branches. Latinitas is also partnering with the Clint Independent School District to host an after-school program in Horizon Middle School. Check with your local librarian to find out about Club Latinitas meeting times or visit us at www.LatinitasMagazine.org!

Partner Spotlight: Nonprofit Enterprise Center

Furthering our partnership with the Nonprofit Enterprise Center, (NpEC), Latinitas has been chosen to receive pro-bono capacity building consultation. This will provide training, strategic planning assistance and professional development for our staff.

"We are happy and grateful to be receiving help from our neighbors here in the One Stop Center. With their strong support, we are helping to build a strong foundation for Latinitas' growth and bright future" Latinitas co-founder Alicia Rascon said.

Through a grant provided by the Meadows Foundation, which was established to serve the people of Texas, Latinitas will now be able to serve more Latinas and in smarter ways.

"Being as close as we are, we are now better able to address the needs of Latinitas and help the organization create better relationships with donors, and reconnect with past volunteers to capture an audience that already wants to help," Terry Minjares, Program Coordinator for NpEC said.

Latinitas was chosen to receive help from the grant because of its grassroots approach and already established structure within the community, Minjares added.

With the ultimate goal of expanding Latinitas, Minjares said the program will not only increase the organization's following but assure that Latinitas' mission to empower the Latina youth is accomplished.

Teen Reporter Spotlight: Cassie Barraza

Latinitas Magazine boasts a "for Latina Youth, by Latina Youth" attitude, and with it comes it's Teen Latinitas Reporters who write anything from book reviews and feature stories, all the way to celebrity profiles and blog entries.

"I am currently working on my first projects: making a video for Latinitas... making a PSA for teen Latinas about teen pregnancy and writing an article on teen activism," Teen Latinitas Reporter Cassandra Barraza said.

The Mission Early College student is new to Latinitas and said she likes what the organization stands for and finds reporting for the magazine a great opportunity to learn more about her major, communication.

"I think this will help me to learn my abilities and strengths. It is helping me by getting me to write more and think creatively in a way that connects to my culture," Cassandra said.

Additionally, this 18-year-old Latinita claims that it is important for Latinas to have a positive impact in their communities: "Because if we don't, who else will? And by doing so, we make the Latina population stronger."

The Teen Latinitas Reporter has been contributing to the online magazine for two weeks, submitted a feature highlighting teen drivers and the dangers of text-messaging, as well as maintained regular blogs entries on www.MyLatinitas.com.

"It has made me conscience of my culture, the way people see me, and made me look for things in the world that tie back to my culture. " Cassandra added.

As part of the accelerated high school curriculum she is currently enrolled in, Cassandra will be receiving her Associate's Degree from EPCC this December.

Juggling high school, homework, extra-curriculars, and still reporting for Latinitas Magazine, Teen Latinitas Reporters are taking it to the streets and writing about it.

Club Leader Spotlight: Cristina Chavez

A vital part of Club Latinitas, club leaders provide the guidance and set the examples necessary for young Latinas to find success and remain engaged in their educations.

Club leaders are not only responsible for the execution of the club's activities, they are also responsible for assuring that members as well as mentors gain from the experience and have fun while in a learning environment.

Cristina Chavez is a club leader for the Judge Marquez and Memorial Park Public Library Branches.

Cristina credits her involvement with Latinitas with teaching her the importance of service to the community and how much of a difference the simple act of involvement imposes.

"The best part is working with the girls and realizing how positive of an influence you can make on them," Cristina said.

Like many of her club-leading peers, Cristina started as a club mentor in the spring and has now taken on the full responsibility of not one but two of the Club Latinitas programs.

But despite Cristina spearheading two clubs and studying full-time, this Latinita said she enjoys working with the groups and helping empower young minds.

"It's a great organization, and it's unique because it is teaching young girls to be empowered through the media. It's a great cause, and it's a lot of fun!" Cristina said.

Latinitas Club Leaders provide a support system for both Latinitas volunteers and club members. Setting an example and mentoring young girls, these leaders balance jobs, school, and club meetings, making them true inspirations.