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Living and Giving:

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Featured Charity: Latinitas - Empowering Latina Youth

By Teo Tijerina Posted on April 19, 2017

There are problems among young Latinas.

Latina youth show some of the most alarming rates of teenage pregnancy, suicide, dropout, and low self esteem. One of the many factors influencing these patterns is the lack of role models, especially in the areas of journalism, media, and technology.

Latina youth show some of the most alarming rates of teenage pregnancy, suicide, dropout, and low self esteem. One of the many factors influencing these patterns is the lack of role models, especially in the areas of journalism, media, and technology.

While students at the University of Texas at Austin, Laura Donnelly Gonzalez and Alicia Rascon conceived the idea of starting a nonprofit organization focused on empowering Latina youth using media and technology. They have an online magazine that reaches over 30,000 girls per month and various programs including school clubs, workshops, and camps. The topics addressed in these forums include health, higher education, fitness, self-esteem, and practical skills such as writing, photography, art, and software development.

Enter: Latinitas

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Latinitas began 15 years ago in Austin, Texas and then expanded to El Paso, Texas, Alicia Rascon’s hometown. Laura Donnelly serves as the Executive Director of the Austin region, while Alicia serves as the Executive Director of the El Paso region.

While the organization has on occasion held events or workshops in other communities, it is currently looking to expand its club model and footprint into other areas such as the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi. To accomplish this task, the organization needs additional funding from individuals, local government, school districts, and corporations.

Nearly 85% of all Latinitas alumni graduate from a 4 year institution of higher learning.

 

The effect of this program is remarkable. Over the last 15 years, the organization has tracked the performance of Latinitas alumni through high school and college. Nearly 85% of all Latinitas alumni graduate from a 4 year institution of higher learning. Many of the young women pursue careers in media and technology, becoming writers, news anchors, and mentors to other young girls.

This appears to be a further indication that young people succeed when they are given both support, and opportunity. And we end up with a more diverse culture and a stronger and more balanced economy.

 

For more information on Latinitas, please contact Laura Donnelly at laura@latinitasmagazine.org, or visit their website.

Featured Charities

Author: Teo Tijerina

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