Jennifer Fidler, Club Leader Intern Testimonial

Kathy White Housing Authority

From day one, the girls showed up waiting for me to arrive. They were all very sweet and shy. We worked on different exercises discussing flaws, beauty, CHICA power and their dreams and goals. Little by little the girls started speaking up more as we began working on a music video that represented the Kathy White Latinitas Club. The girls picked different songs that they felt represented them and in groups  put together a song, mini-dance, and a  few skits and scenarios for the video. This really got the girls to open up and put their shy days behind.

My favorite memories were made when the girls and I worked outside together. They laughed, and played for their music video and really enjoyed and respected each others company. My favorite activity with the girl beside music video production time was creating the “I love my Flaws” posters. The girls were really creative and all designed their posters differently. I really believe Latinitas has helped the girls to not be so shy and  to speak up and express themselves.

Alvarez Housing Authority

Since the very beginning,  the girls patiently and enthusiastically awaited my arrival. The new Latinitas were always motivated and ready to work. They are and have been very well mannered. Every week, without exception, they would help me set up and would help each other by encouraging one another when working on different activities. The girls worked on different activities that included designing their own folders, discussing real beauty and flaws ,learning about  Frida Kahlo, shoe photography, neighborhood photos, poetry writing, song writing, drawing different pictures that represented them, and practiced speaking with each other.

My favorite activity with the girls was an ice breaker that required each girl to dance and observe and memorize each persons move. The girls really had rhythm together and were really enjoying themselves as they danced and encouraged each other to continue the beat. Another one of my favorites was the Frida Kahlo activity because the girls knew more about her than I did, and that really made me happy. It was a little embarrassing, but it shows that we can all learn from each other regardless of our age. I think the girls benefited from Club Latinitas because they were able to discuss real issues that go on in the world with each other, and to know that they are capable of anything.

 

Moorhead Housing Authority

The Latinitas girls at Moorhead were very respectful and helpful. At times we had little time to work on activities, but time was used wisely. We of course worked on different activities like decorating folders, discussing beauty and flaws, and writing poems and writing exercises. But my favorite activity with the Moorhead girls was the “Circle of Advice”  where each girl respectfully heard one another out. Then the club members  kindly gave their own advice on how certain situations were handled. I was impressed by their maturity and their way to really try and think things through. I enjoyed how the girls showed respect for each other and encouraged doing the right thing.

My favorite memory with the girls was taking pictures of their neighborhood. I loved how the girls had fun using the cameras as they would hide behind bushes to take a sneaky picture and quietly do so. Another one of my favorites was when the girls would giggle at me as I spoke Spanish, but would always encourage me to keep practicing. They told me that practicing my Spanish by speaking it is the only way to learn.  The girls mentioned that at times people laugh at them when speaking English, but that is how they learn and that there are always rude people and the best thing to do is ignore them. I loved this amazing attitude the girls had and always looked forward to hanging with them on Wednesdays. The girls really learned that perhaps becoming photojournalists and journalists is something they would love to do as a career. They had fun writing and taking pictures and I really hope to view a professional picture or article by these girls one day.

 

Ysleta Library Club Spotlight by Jasmine Villa

The enthusiastic and outspoken Latinitas at Ysleta Public Library in El Paso, TX  have not only learned but demonstrated what it takes to be an empowering Latina teen. Their charismatic and witty personalities meant the room was always full of laughter and discussions on the lessons and of their personal lives. The meek and quiet Latina stereotype is long-gone in the girls minds, even the shyest girl broke out of her shell within a month or two. These girls did not lack confidence and their big hearts shone in everything that they did. Throughout the spring semester, the girls scripted and recorded their own Latinitas talk show and sounded off on what it meant to be a true friend. Other projects included writing their own song and making a music video, drawing a comic about their emotions, tapping into their fashionista skills by upcycling and designing outfits, and created a how-to video on how to draw a cat. The tutorial of drawing a cat was my favorite activity, mostly because the girls had their own director, artist, camera-WOMAN, speaker, and script writer for the video– they went above and beyond with the lesson. With minimal guidance, the girls worked together to create an awesome tutorial.

An unforgettable moment was the persistence and determination to raise money towards the Autism Community Network of El Paso as their Global Youth Service Day project. Even though the club meeting on Good Friday was cancelled, the girls begged to come in to work on the Autism poster PSAs and concession stand flyers.Unfortunately, terrible news hit the next meeting, when the city of El Paso did not grant us the permits to sell concessions. Smile on their faces and willingness to overcome this, the girls rallied together and decided to raise the donation on their own. I admire their dedication towards making a difference in the community. I am super proud of them because they raised a whopping $115!!! For the project, not only did they decorate a frame with an autism awareness portrait, they also raised money for a cause that is important to them.

What they learned cannot be measured on paper. They learned different media and writing skills, but their creativity and confidence grew with each lesson.  I was their mentor, but I became their friend, someone they could rely on to talk about their friendship or family problems.  As their mentor, their enthusiasm for Latinitas grew, but as their friend I saw a change in each and every one of them. They had more confidence to be themselves and speak their mind. Friendships grew within the club and the club acted as a mini-support group for anyone going through a hard time.  The girls have inspired me to keep working with Latinitas and know my girls at Ysleta have a bright future ahead of them and are destined for bigger and better things in their lives.

 

 

Inner Beauty Collages

Check out some of our girl’s collages where they expressed words that emphasized their inner beauty and their favorite fashion items.

 

Daniela Lagunes, Club Leader Testimonial

Tays Housing Authority in El Paso, TX  invited Latinitas Club during the Spring 2012 semester for six weeks full of media and lots of fun.Tuesdays were the days we met.I must say they were very excited to have us since the beginning. When I arrived to the first club meeting, they were already waiting for me. As the weeks went by we worked on a “how to” video tutorial, discussed the benefits of being healthy,  learned how to deal with emotions and had our very own  fashion show at the club. The girls had a blast with all the cool activities Latinitas Club offered. They were able to express their thoughts about issues such as the importance of inner beauty. The inner beauty lesson was one of the girls’ favorites because they learned that not all beauty lies on the outside, but it also comes from within. We worked on a service project for approximately two weeks and the outcome was extraordinary. The girls went door to door around their neighborhood, collecting cans for the West Texas Food Bank. Personally, this lesson was one of my favorites because the girls had the opportunity to help others in their own community. Discussions are a big part of the lesson plans which I think are very important because it allows the girls to understand each other better. Above all, the best part of this wonderful experience is realizing that on the first day you come in as a club leader and as the weeks go by you become their friend. The girls liked the club so much that they are hoping to have more fun with Latinitas soon!

Mondays were Latinitas Club days at the Judge Marquez Public Library. The girls in this club are from one of the Housing Authority Communities in El Paso, TX. They liked Latinitas so much that they are now part of this club at the library. Fashion, staying healthy,the importance of friendship and the importance of community service were some of the lessons we worked on during this wonderful Spring semester. The girls loved  making videos that allowed them to express their views on different issues. Two of the lessons the girls favored were “Latinitas Stay Healthy” and “Global Youth Service Day.” They had a chance to share with other Latinitas their tips on staying healty and the importance of staying physically active. For the Global Youth Service Day activity we decided to create Thank you cards for the firemen and police officers around the community. The girls wanted to  thank all the heroes for day to day efforts to keep the community safe. Personally, my favorite lesson was the one on fashion because they got a chance to design and make an awesome dress out of recycled paper. I  had a blast with these amazing young girls this semester. Their smiles are contagious as well as their energy and enthusiasm. I hope we can share more time together next semester.

 

 

 

Karen Lopez, Irving Schwartz Library Club Leader Testimonial

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Latinitas girls at Irving Schwartz Public Library for the past two semesters (Fall 2011, Spring 2012). The girls at the Club are so full of energy and positive attitude that it just seems contagious. Fridays are a day I look forward to just to see my girls and have some fun with them. Throughout the spring semester the girls were able to learn about health and fitness, record their own radio talk show giving advice on friendship, make a how to video and explore healthy ways of dealing with emotions. Along with these projects, we got to participate in the Global Service Youth Day where we were able to make goodie  bags and a portrait that would be donated to the Autism Awareness Society in El Paso. While being with the girls this semester, I watched them grow into beautiful, confident young ladies. The most shy girls could be seen coming out of their shells and becoming more comfortable in their own skin and with those around them. I truly believe the club has helped the girls realize the potential they have and how beautiful individuality can be. Not only did the girls learn something this semester, they also taught me that everyone can make a difference in the world no matter how young. I went into this hoping to make a difference in a girl’s life, but they ended up impacting mine more than they will ever know. It has been an honor and privilege to have met them.

Zyanya Dickey, Krupp Housing Authority Club Leader Testimonial

As for my experience, it was amazing. To be honest, I think I got just as much out of leading this club as (I hope) the girls did. To be able to interact with such bright girls, who were already confident and be able to encourage that confidence and intelligence was so cool. I looked forward to seeing them each week, because no matter how stressful my own week had been, seeing them laugh and talk as they did their work or played with the cameras, I would learn and have fun too. One of my favorite activities was the shoe photography lesson because they were able to really express themselves and think about not only the photos, but also the concepts of the activity: where are we going? where have we been? where do we want to go? They got very into the whole thing which was so much fun; I hardly had to coach them at the pictures taking, they were such naturals!

I can’t wait to continue with Latinitas and the HACEP club after graduation because of the girls’ enthusiasm and dedication. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. In short, I had a blast and I think the girls did too.

Art Gallery: I Love My Flaws

These girls are proud to embrace themselves completely, flaws and all!  In this photo essay, they showcase their own beauty and pride in who they are. 

 



 

 

 

 

Art Gallery: Shoe Photography

Shoes can tell a lot about a person. Take a look at some of the photos that our girls took from Club Latinitas showcasing their shoes! Their pictures show where they have been and where they are going.

 

Poetry: I Believe in Happiness

Check out the poems that our Chicas wrote after being inspired by National Poetry Month.

I believe in happiness;
I believe the only people who can understand happiness are those who are willing to create it.
I believe happiness has many definitions.
Love being a carrier.
I believe in inspirations and a never ending hope.
I believe love conquers all;
I question life.
I question, are we made to live?
Or do we live to somehow be made by definition.
Yet definition in the eyes of an artist is the death of art.
- Danielle Guzman

 

When you have a pot full of your ingredients, it depends if you can make something good or spoil it.
My ingredients are music/arts, family and the most important spice: life.
I have mixed my ingredients with other spices but so far my cooking is bitter.
With music I couldn’t stand the directors of how I was pushed away.
Art let me take experience and express who I am and thoughts and feelings.
Music is something I can listen to and compare it to my arts and writing.
I need art to listen to music.
I need music to inspire me in art.
Family. the darkest and most revealing of all ingredients. This ingredient is dangerous. When someone hurts you or you hurt a family member, it feels like you are going through hell. Try to put a bandage on yourself and pull it off fast, it may be painless. Pull it off slow, you can see and feel the pain of how much your heart will ache.
Life.
It’s delicate, it can be harmless or harmful to your body.
it’s sweet but bitter or just plain sour. Life includes everything.
- Marlett Mojica

 

Khalil Anthony Ray
Mi amor, mi vida
The sunshine that holds me strong meaning
Good friend having such divine beauty in life
Like a precious gem that needs to be held with love and care.
- Jessie Barron

Express Yourself

Growing up there are tons of pressures from school to issues with friends and family.  These chicas have found creative outlets to express themselves, let out their feelings, deal with emotions and destress.

“I write in my journal or take a run. I don’t like talking about my emotions.”
-Kylah, age 12

“I express my emotions by drawing, writing and listening to music. When I’m sad I usually draw my emotions. If I’m angry, I listen to music that reflects my emotions. I write in my diary everyday talking about what is on my mind and I’m feeling.”
-Katrina, age 13

“We can express our feelings in a healthy way. To feel happy, you can like help each other on stuff. When you are sad, you can do a journal and write about it. When you are angry, make something that would make you feel good or happy. When I am nervous, I make an effort and do the best I can.”
-Jacqueline, age 11

When I’m sad, I start crying. When I’m nervous I just think about positive things. When I’m angry, I go to my room and yell in the pillow. I think of JB (Justin Bieber) and he makes me happy.
-Katlyn, age 12

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