Lucero Estrella: Millennials Rock!

The nature of Latinitas brings volunteers to our doors as old as 70 and as young as high school, but when young people do volunteer we get extra luceroexcited. That kind of initiative is unique, especially for a college freshman just getting her bearings in Austin, TX.  Lucero Estrella came to Latinitas Austin in the Fall of 2014 looking to continue a thread of social justice advocacy and mentoring she started living in Brownsville, TX where she worked with youth tutoring and instilling cultural pride through a city program.  She took to leading a Latinitas club like a mariachi to tight decorative pants and mentored 20 girls at Zavala Elementary last year. This past summer, she was back committed for 4 weeks of leadership and currently she is our facilitator on site at the Housing Authority of the City of Austin teaching families how to use digital technology to record memories, goal set, create a permanent resume and more.  Grateful for volunteers like Lucero – we wanted to get to know her a little better and asked  her about herself.

Q: Tell us a little about your path to Latinitas, volunteering in Brownsville and your dedication to cultural pride.
A. Whether it was through church or the National Honor Society, I’ve always enjoyed spending time giving back to the community.  Since I had always been involved in volunteering back in Brownsville, I decided to find a place in Austin where I could continue giving back.  Since I was going to start my first year at UT Austin with a major in Mexican American Studies, I decided to look for an organization where I could share my passion for Mexican American history with others.  As soon as I heard about Latinitas and their mission to empower young Latinas, I decided to submit my volunteer application, which was over a year ago and I am extremely glad I made that decision.
Q: Tell us about the scholarship you received and how it led you to volunteering this summer
A” This past April I received the Rapoport Service Scholarship, which was awarded to only 14 freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts.  Recipients of this scholarship receive a $10,000 scholarship for three years and a new Macbook laptop.  In addition, students are required to perform 200 hours of community service for three summers, complete a Bridging Disciplines Program certificate, and take two courses along other recipients.  This summer I fulfilled the required 200 hours of community service by volunteering at the Latinitas summer camp.
Q: What was your one “I heart Latinitas” take away from summer camp – was there a particular girl, activity, field trip that stood out?
A: I loved the activity where the girls created their own app and filmed a commercial for it.  It was amazing to see all the creative ideas the girls had when it came to designing their apps and coming up with a way to present it to an audience.  I’m always awed by the work that the girls create because it shows their potential to do other amazing things in media and technology.
Q: Why do you think an organization like Latinitas is important
A: I believe that exposing girls different opportunities available to them through media and technology while reminding them of their culture and background will empower them to go into fields where Latinas are underrepresented.  Latinitas is helping girls learn new things each day about media and technology that will not only shape their career paths but also make them aware of their community.  There is a mutual learning relationship between the girls and the volunteers which makes working for Latinitas fun and inspirational.
Your major: Double majoring in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies and Japanese
In 10 years you will be… traveling the world or working as a teacher.
What you do for fun: I enjoy having movie nights with my friends.

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