Saturday, March 13, 2010

Leadership institute gives young women step up

By Pink Rivera / El Paso Times

EL PASO -- Latinitas will open its first leadership institute this week in the hope of giving women a stronger voice in the community.

According to its Web site, Latinitas is a nonprofit organization "focused on informing, entertaining and inspiring young Latinas to grow into healthy, confident and successful adults." Its digital magazines are made for and by Latina youth.

The leadership institute will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at the organization's headquarters at 1359 Lomaland.

"The girls will attend monthly workshops on leadership methods, decision-making skills, goal setting, public speaking, civic engagement and volunteering," said Alicia Rascon, Latinitas director and co-founder. "I definitely think young women now understand

Daniela Gonzales, left, is from Americas High School and Alexandria Villegas is from Eastwood High School. Both are Latinitas participants.
the leadership roles and our goals are to help them reach their potential and realize their abilities."

The participants will attend monthly classes, go on field trips, meet positive woman role models, learn about their cultural heritage, build confidence and explore their own strengths through exercises and activities, organization officials said.

"We want to help them identify and cultivate their own leadership abilities," Rascon said. "The national levels for the Latino community are very high for dropout, suicide and teen pregnancy rates. We want these young women to overcome those challenges and become agents of change."

Membership is open to female Hispanic high-school students, but space was limited to a group of no more than

30. Rascon said the students will benefit more by working in smaller groups.

"With a small group, the girls can get to know each other and work better," Rascon said. "We can focus and work with these girls to be more involved in their community." Rascon said the students will complete 20 hours of community service and two service projects.

"I am excited for this institute, because growing up, there wasn't a lot of opportunities for leadership," Rascon said. "I'm glad to offer this to girls now."

Pink Rivera may be reached at; 546-6156.

Make plans
  • What:"Latinitas leadership institute kickoff event.
  • When:"9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • Where:"Latinitas headquarters, 1359 Lomaland, Suite 502.
  • Information:"Alicia Rascon, 239-5051 or alicia@latinitasmagazine. org or visit
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