When asked if they would share their experiences, energy, and insights with young Latina Leaders - they just couldn't say YES fast enough! In fact, Elsa Holguin, senior program officer at Rose Foundation, Johanna Leyba, Assistant Provost at University of Denver's Center for Multicultural Excellence, and Rosemary Rodriquez, who heads up Senator Bennett's office were signing up for their second tour of duty. They enthusiastically agreed to be mentors for the Circle of Latina Leadership's 2009!
Veronica Barela said yes too! As the long-time director of premiere community development association - NEWSED, she has much to share with her mentee, Cristina Aguilar who works at the Community Development Institute and is participating in the Circle of Latina Leadership's 2009 program.
The Circle program prepares emerging leaders who are generally 25 to 35 years of age to guide the Hispanic community forward. As part of their experience, they are mentored by seasoned Latinas who are dedicated to preparing the next generation of Latina leaders.
The 2010 mentors came from all sectors- business, government, nonprofits, and education. They are some of the most accomplished Latinas and Latinos in Denver. CLL welcomes Flor Amaro, Catherine Chan Esq., Margaret Cordova Esq., Marisol Erlacher, Eric Gonzales, Monica Guardiola Esq., Dusti Gurule, Vanessa Guzman, Happy Haynes, Jessica Kunevicius Esq., Darlene LeDoux, Dr. Janet Lopez, Adrienne Mansanares, Andrea Oliver, Ann Padilla, Theresa Peņa, Jahi Simbai as our 2010 mentors! Gracias for your vision, your service, and dedication.
Hermanitas: A Youth Mentoring and Leadership Program
Since 2003, Circle alumnae have coordinated and implemented a youth mentoring program with high-risk Latina junior high school girls. Hermanitas has provided positive role modeling, education, and personal development to over105 young women. Hermanitas spans the school year and includes monthly group educational programs, service projects, community networking events, as well as attendance at the annual LA RAZA youth conference. In 2009, fourteen young women form Skinner Middle School in Denver are Hermanitas (little sisters).
Hermanitas is unique because the mentors are young Latinas who come from the same cultural background as the youth and can provide a personal example of how to be successful. In addition, the program is bilingual where recent Latino and immigrant families can find cultural understanding and support. A special component is family involvement. The Hermanitas program provides positives experiences, assists young women in making better choices, and supports them in to succeed in school.
Jennifer Tixier and Carolina Robledo-Segovia will be coordinating the Hermanitas program at Skinner Middle School in the 2010-2011 academic year.
The Circle of Latina Leadership is an affiliate of National MANA, the largest Latina organization in the country.
Community Action Projects
COLORADO INTENSITY SOFTBALL (CIS)
LATINO LEGACY LIBRARY
The Latino Legacy Library will document Hispanic contributions to Denver and the State of Colorado and provide a sense of pride and a historical perspective on this dynamic and growing community. Since Latinos make up more than 30% of Denver residents and the majority of youth in the public schools, it is critical that our young people know their history and have Hispanic role models to follow. This project is bringing together prominent Denver Leaders to strategize and fundraise for a library or legacy center that will enrich all of Colorado.
CLASS OF 2010 PROJECTS
Continuing in the tradition of giving back by organizing Community Action Projects, participants in the 2010 class are working on the following initiatives:
Vanessa Santistevan is working with ELK (Environmental Learning for Kids) that reaches out to students who have been traditionally overlooked and under-encouraged in science and science-related careers, including youth of color and females.
Marilena Ortega is the Vice President of the Hispanic Women of Weld County; which helps promote the Hispanic Women of Weld County through nurturing, networking, and skill building. In 2011 she will take the position of President.
Celena Garcia, Regina Rodriguez, and Marisela Gonzalez are working on the Latina Legacy Project, which will be a Colorado Latina Hall of Fame that highlights the contributions of Latinas to our state.