Homemade Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day is coming up and you’re probably wondering what to get dad. Instead of buying him something, why not make a gift for him instead? It will be meaningful because he knows you spent some time making it, and it’ll bring back memories of the kindergarten school days when you brought home arts and craft projects for mom and dad. Check out some of these ideas that are fun and pretty simple to make.

The Coupon Book

With busy schedules, you may not get to spend as much quality time with dad. Show him you can still make time for him with a homemade coupon book.

Materials: Cardstock in assorted colors, markers or other decorating materials, a one-hole puncher, and a binder ring or ribbon

  1.        Cut the cardstock into even sized rectangles. Two inches by three inches is a good size.
  2.        On one side of the card think of a name for the gift like “Dad’s Coupons” and decorate!
  3.        On the other side, write down things you can do together. A weekend movie or helping him cook dinner is a good place to start. If you’re feeling generous you can even offer to mow the lawn or take out the trash.
  4.       Punch a hole in the top corner of each coupon and secure with the binder ring or ribbon.

S’mores in a Jar

It could lead to a camping trip, or maybe just an evening together in front of the barbecue pit.

Materials: A clean Mason jar, large marshmallows, gram crackers, fun-size chocolate bars, and ribbon and cardstock (optional).

  1.        In the clean Mason jar, put about three or four unbroken graham crackers in on one side. Next to that, put in the chocolate bars. There should be a space above the chocolate bars to put in the marshmallows.
  2.        Close the jar and tie the string around the lid. You can attach a little card with a special message for dad.

Recapture a Memory

With a little bit of creativity you can recreate one of your baby pictures.

Materials: A baby picture, a two-photo picture frame

  1.        Find a picture that you think would be easy to recreate. Try to dress similarly, wear your hair the same way, and be in a similar or the same location if possible.
  2.        Pose the way you are in the picture and have someone take the photo for you.
  3.        Have a copy made of the old baby photo and print it out along with the new photo.
  4.        Put the copy and the new photo in the picture frame together.

A Windowsill Herb Garden

If you have a dad who loves to cook, this gift will last all year long!

Materials: Six-inch terracotta pot, acrylic paints, paintbrush, newspaper, a small plant of dad’s favorite cooking herb, and extra soil

  1.        Use the newspaper to cover your work area and use the acrylic paints to cover the pot. Paint a special message, a favorite sports logo, or anything else dad will like.
  2.       Let the pot dry entirely. Clean up any spilled paint before it dries. Once it dries it will become waterproof.
  3.       Transfer the plant over from the plastic container and add the extra soil. Now dad can keep it by the kitchen window and add fresh herbs to his cooking.

A Magnetic Popsicle Stick Photo Frame

It’s time to take that popsicle stick picture frame you made in the 2nd grade to the next level.

Materials: Popsicle sticks, washi tape or paint, glue, a magnet, a wallet sized photo

  1.        Take four popsicle sticks. If you are using paint, just paint them and let them dry. If you are using washi tape, lay out a piece of tape with the sticky side up. Put the popsicle stick down the length of it and wrap the extra around to the back of the stick. Do this for all four sticks.
  2.       Use your photo as a measurement. Make a square with the popsicle sticks so that the edges of the popsicle sticks overlap the photograph a little. You should have parts of the popsicle sticks sticking out of square like a hashtag symbol.
  3.       Glue the sticks together in this position and let it dry. Then glue or tape on the picture.
  4.        Attack the magnet to the back and you now have a really cute fridge photo magnet.

Homemade gifts can actually be really cute and even useful. Before you go out and buy something consider a DIY gift. Although, dad will love whatever you get him no matter what.

Surviving a Friendship Breakup

Breakups are hard. It’s even harder when it’s you and your best friend that are cutting ties. Whether it was a fight or you guys drifted apart because your interests changed, losing friends is a part of life. Of course, it’s a sad part that no one likes. But you will survive and figure a lot out about yourself along the way. If you and your BFF are no longer friends forever, there are things you can do to start to feel better again. Latinitas Girls and Latina leaders

Realize That it’s Normal

It may not make it hurt any less to know, but drifting away from friends is a normal part of life. You are at a point in your life when you are figuring out who you are. You are exploring your interests and different things are important to you now. Maybe you guys don’t have a lot in common anymore, and that is okay. Realizing that friendship breakups are normal is the first step to feeling better. You don’t have to blame yourself or wonder what went wrong.

Stay Away from Blame

Your first instinct might be to blame your friend or blame yourself. Don’t do that. Nothing will be accomplished by sulking over a fight or saying mean things about your friend. If you were in the wrong, apologize and mean it. If she doesn’t forgive you, then don’t keep beating yourself up over it. Know that you tried your best to make it right and now it is time to let it go and hope for the best. If she did something to you, accept her apology. It is up to you to decide if the friendship is worth continuing. Don’t keep blaming her. It won’t make the mistake reverse in time and not happen. Let it go or let her go. Of course everyone deserves some time to feel hurt, but realizing where you are both coming from keeps you from hating her or hating yourself.

Find What is Important to You

If you and your BFF stop talking, that doesn’t mean you will never have another best friend. Instead try joining a club of something that really interests you. If you like running, take up track. If you’ve always imagined yourself on Broadway or in movies, try out for the school play. Even if it isn’t the coolest thing, as long as you enjoy it you’ll enjoy hanging out with the people that you meet. You might have a lot in common and you’ll be on your way to being great friends. If you and your friend drifted apart because you became interested in different things, then make the most of the bad situation. You don’t have to have everything in common with your BFF, but exploring things that you like is a good way to meet people you like.

Losing a friend is always hard, but blaming yourself and playing it over and over in your head won’t make you feel any better. Give yourself time to feel sad and forgive yourself and your friend. Once you begin to move on and focus on you, you will be able to look back on the friendship a little more clearly.

10 Latinas in History

It’s Women’s History Month and what better way to celebrate then to learn about some awesome Latinas that have made an impact in the world. From politics to sports to education, there is no shortage of chicas that have made a name for themselves and have proven to be some world-class women. Here is a list of 10 Latinas who have made an impact!

Rosie7Rosemary Casals

Rosemary “Rosie” Casals is a former American professional tennis player. Rosie is a daughter to immigrants from El Salvador. Her parents, discovering that they could not care for her or her sister, gave them up and she lived with her uncle, Manuel Casals, who became her first and only tennis coach. Rosie was known as rebellious and entered tournaments against women two or three years older than her. She was determined to prove herself despite her shorter stature and different background compared to the wealthy White players commonly seen. Rosie was known for fighting for rights of tennis players and women players. She fought for an arrangement for amateur – poorer and nonpaid players – and professional players to play in the same tournament. And most notably, she fought for the right of women to have the same amount of prize money compare to their male counterparts. Rosie and a group of women boycotted tournaments and created an all-female tournament that gained a lot of media attention. Her endeavors helped pave the way for female tennis athletes.

Sylvia Mendez

Sylvia Mendez was 9 years old when her and her sibling were denied enrollment into their local elementary school because they were Mexican. Interestingly enough, her cousins were allowed enrollment because they were half-Mexican, therefore had lighter skin and a French surname that allowed them admission into the “white school.” Mendez’s parents were appalled and filed suit against the school district, bringing forth one of the most groundbreaking cases in Civil Rights. The Mendez vs. Westminster outlawed segregation in California schools and is set as precedent for other cases, such as Brown v. Board of Education. Sylvia Mendez was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama and has received several Lifetime Achievement awards and Certificates of Recognition for her role in advocating education.

Rosario Dawson and Maria Theresa Kumar

Rosario Dawson and Maria Theresa Kumar are founders of the organization Voto Latino. Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that encourages Latinos to vote in elections.  The organization targets Latino Millennials and hopes to encourage them to take advantage and claim a better future for themselves and their community. Voto Latino’s goal is produce a positive change by engaging youth to be more proactive. This organization has received recognition for their endeavors toward Latinos.

Mari-Luci Jaramillo

Mari-Luci Jaramillo was a pioneer in Bilingual Education. She emphasized collaborative learning, whole language, bilingual/bicultural education, and taught children identity and a self-love for learning. She taught elementary school during the day and attended Masters program at night, as education is an important aspect through out her life. Her classroom, at one of the poorest schools in Albuquerque, became a demonstration site for people across the country. Jaramillo was known as a “master teacher.” In 1977, President Carter appointed her U.S Ambassador of Honduras and became the first Latina ambassador.

Mirabal Sisters

The Mirabal Sister were four Dominican sisters – Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Theresa – who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Minerva was the first of the sisters to become active in the overthrow of the dictator and eventually the rest of the sisters joined the efforts. They created a group called The Movement of the Fourteenth of June, which distributed pamphlets detailing of Trujillo’s horrendous actions and acquired bombs and guns for their impending revolt. They were called La Mariposas (The Butterflies). The sisters and their husbands faced multiple incarcerations but it did not discourage their efforts. They continued to oppose Trujillo until he became deeply troubled by their actions causing him to order an assassination. On November 25, 1960, Trujillo’s henchmen killed Patria, Minerva, and Maria– leaving Dede as the last remaining Mirabal sister.  On December 17, 1999 the United Nations General Assembly appointed November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in honor of the sisters.

Adelfa Botello Callejo

Adelfa Botello Callejo is a former Dallas layer and civil rights leader. Callejo was the first Latina to graduate from law school at Southern Methodist University and was one of three women in her graduating class. After law school, this aspiring lawyer had to create her own private practice because she would only be hired as a legal secretary. Her actions included the protest against the fatal police shooting of a Mexican-American 12-year-old boy in 1973, protests against the deportation of immigrants, fighting for City Council redistricting, and frequent encounters with the Dallas school districts to push for better bilingual education. Callejo was sometimes called La Madrina (“The Godmother”).

Aida Alvarez

Aida Alvarez is the first Latina in a United States Cabinet-level position. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, in 1997, Alvarez was appointed as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Coming from humble roots, after leaving Puerto Rico, Alvarez attended high school in New York and participated in a program called “ASPIRA.” This program’s goal was to help disadvantage youth and instilled leadership skills and helped them in their endeavors to attend college. From a journalist at the New York Post, to TV news anchor for Metromedia Television, to venturing out into the banking business, Alvarez worked her way up in her career.

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta is well known for co-founding the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez. The organization is one of the largest and most successful farm workers unions and is currently active in ten states. This labor leader and civil rights activist has been incarcerated approximately twenty-two times for her non-violent civil disobedience, as well as been beaten by Sand Francisco police publicly in 1988 for a peaceful and lawful protest. Huerta has received many awards for her advocacy for women’s rights, worker’s rights, and immigrant’s rights, such as the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno hit the big screen in 1961 when she played the role of Anita in Westside Story. While she had smaller roles prior to this musical, this role is what gave her much recognition. Moreno is one of the few performers, and only Hispanic, to be awarded all four annual major American entertainment awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and the Tony award. Moreno is, also, the second Puerto Rican to receive an Oscar. This actress made a name in the entertainment business and paved the way for later Latina actresses.

Sonia Maria Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor was the first justice of Hispanic heritage, as well as one of the youngest. Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and earned her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. She is advocate for hiring more Latino faculty at both school, Princeton and Yale. After working as an assistant district attoenty and eneterning private practice, in 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009

 

Super Women On Screen

Super women are coming to a screen near you. Superheroes are really big right now. From Captain America and Spiderman on the big screen to Arrow and The Flash getting their own TV shows, these crime fighting men are everywhere. There’s clearly something missing though. Where are all of the women? Saving the world isn’t just for the guys.

Luckily, Hollywood is slowing getting the memo. There has been a recent upsurge of movies and shows featuring female superheroes coming to the big and small screen. Here is the rundown on these super women’s new films and where you can find them in the comic books. Because the book are always better than the movies anyway, right?

Captain Marvel

With no relation to Captain America, Captain Marvel is the alias of Carol Danvers—a NASA employee turned superhuman. Growing up, Carol dreamed of attending college to become an astronaut. Her father refused to pay for her education because she was a woman although she was the smartest of her siblings. She decided to prove him wrong. Carol joined the Air Force and quickly moved up the ranks until she was approached by NASA to become their head of security.

She lived her dream until an encounter with an alien race gave her superhuman strength, the ability to fly and shoot light beams out of her hands. She is a fan favorite and even goes on to lead The Avengers for some time. Her movie isn’t set to come out until 2018, so in the meantime, you can find her in her comic books. Start with issue #1 of the Captain Marvel 2012 series.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is a longtime symbol for female strength and empowerment in the pop culture universe. She is the daughter of an Amazon queen and the Greek god Zeus. Her story begins when she travels to America with a man that crash lands on her island. She decides to stay to protect all of love and humanity.

Wonder Woman is the definition of confidence and strength. You can see her heroics in the upcoming Wonder Woman film as well as the Justice League movie. Actress Gal Gadot will be donning her famous gold gauntlets and Lasso of Truth. Read about Wonder Woman’s exciting adventures in the New 52 version of the Wonder Woman series.

Sue Storm

Sue Storm is one-fourth of the Fantastic Four. She’s the only woman on the team, but she does a good job of showing just how powerful she is. She wasn’t born The Invisible Woman. Sue had to raise her brother at a young age. One day she befriends a scientist who takes them both into outer space. There they are dosed with cosmic rays and gain powers. That’s how the Fantastic Four was formed.

Sue is definitely a team player. She uses her power of invisibility to save the world. But she has even needed to save her own team. In one story line, Reed Richards, the scientist, turns bad and she has to lead the Fantastic Four to save him from himself. She always looks out for the ones she cares about. The Fantastic Four Ultimate series is a great place to learn more about her.

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones isn’t coming to the big screen, but to the computer screen. Set to be a new Netflix series, Jessica Jones is a different kind of superhero. Jessica got her powers after her family was in a car accident with a truck carrying radioactive materials. After struggling to accept her superhuman strength as a teenager, she took comfort and gained confidence in knowing she could her power to do good in the world.

AKA Jessica Jones will pick up after she has hung up her superhero cape and opened a detective agency instead. She helps superheroes and normal humans solve crimes. You can check out Kristen Ritter’s performance of Jessica Jones later this spring. Until then, you can follow some of her cases in the Jessica Jones comic series.

Supergirl

Yes, she is related to Superman. Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin that crash lands on Earth after her home planet is destroyed. She hides her powers for some time but decides to embrace them as a young adult to protect the world.

Kara is set to face some pretty big villains from the comic book universe. While you’re waiting for Glee’s Melissa Benoist to bring the character to life on CBS, check out her in Showcase Presents Supergirl: Volume 1.

It’s about time these super women get some screen time. Comic books aren’t just for boys, and neither is saving the world. Hopefully Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel are only the first of many female superheroes we can get excited about. Until then, we have a few more powerful women paving the way for equality in Hollywood.

Girl Power Poems

What does girl power mean to you? Latinitas sound off to describe what it means to be a powerful chica with these acrostic poems.  Girl writing

Grateful
Intelligent
Respectful
Loyal
Powerful
Outstanding
Winner
Excellent
Remarkable
– Erica

 

Great
Intelligent
Respectful
Loyal
Positive
Obedient
Woman
Excellent
Responsible
- Angelina

 

Great
Independent
Respectful
Loving
Pretty
Opportunities
Wonder Woman
Excellent
Responsible
- Kiara

 

Gorgeous
Incredible
Respectful
Loving
Powerful
Outgoing
Winner
Eager
Rewarding
- Brianna

 

Girly
Intelligent
Respectful
Leaders
Proud
Outstanding
Winner
Extraordinary
Responsible
- Faith

 

Good People
I’m Respectful
Responsible
Loyal
Powerful
Optimistic
Wild
Energetic
Realistic
– Vianney

 

Grateful
Intelligent
Respectful
Loyal
Powerful
Outstanding
Winner
Excellent
Remarkable – Erica

 

Great
Intelligent
Respect
Love
Powerful
Out spoken
Wonderful
Education
Rights

 

Instagram & Your Self-Esteem

Is Instagram destroying girls’ self-esteem? Instagram, the newest social media to take the world by storm, is nothing but photos, with over 60 million new images uploaded everyday. Its popularity has ushered the era of the “selfie” into a whole new level of perfectionism. Before taking a selfie many girls spend a long time perfecting their hair, makeup and outfit. Then, they take dozens of photos of their own face, experimenting with different angles and lighting until they find an image to their liking. Then, they browse Instagram filters until deciding on the one that best flatters their features.

And those are just the regular girls. The Instagram “pros” as some call them take this art to a whole new level. Many are professional makeup artists who often utilize filters and airbrushing effects from apps outside of Instagram that will perfect skin and features even more. In fact, there are even apps out there that can change anything: eye color, size of eyes or nose, shape of cheekbones. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner are widely suspected of using such techniques to radically change their physical appearance in photos.

The “pros” that aren’t makeup artists are often professional fitness trainers, and they specialize in showing off their bodies. They too use body makeup and filters and the poses and lighting that most flatter their figure. Outside of Instagram most spend hours every day in the gym, and much of the rest of their time planning meals and eating accordingly.

Between the makeup artists and the professional gym rats it’s virtually impossible for a regular girl to emerge from the depths of Instagram feeling secure about her own appearance. After speaking to teenage girls about how Instagram affects their own self-esteem, the negative results are obvious. Most girls log off Instagram feeling discouraged about their own bodies, agonizing over perceived flaws and wondering how to ‘fix’ themselves, so that they can feel as beautiful as the Instagram “pros” with their hoards of fawning fans.

In fact, a study from University of Michigan that collected data about social media users found that those who spent more time browsing the virtual world were less happy than those who limited their exposure to social media. A similar study published in the research journal Cyberpsychology found that women who regularly post photos of themselves online feel the urge to compete for attention based on physical appearance. As a result, lack of ‘likes’ or comments on a photo causes self-esteem to plummet instantly.

“Instagram causes me a lot of anxiety sometimes,” Viridiana, age 15, says. “I’m always comparing myself to other girls wondering why they look so much better than me. Wishing I were more in shape. Or sad that I don’t have enough money to dress cooler.”

Laura, 17, echoes a similar sentiment. “Mostly I just wonder: why can’t I look like her?!”

Clearly unhappiness caused by social media is a common occurrence. So what’s a girl to do in a world dominated by social networks?

Follow people that you admire for their character.
There are three ways to keep self-esteem intact in an online world where people are presenting ‘perfected’ versions of themselves. One way is to limit time on social media and unfollow accounts that cause you to feel depressed or insecure. Instead of following accounts that make you doubt your self-worth look for those that inspire you to become the best version of yourself. Follow people that you admire for their character instead of their pretty face or fashionable clothes.

Remember no one looks as good in real life as they do online.
The second way to ward off self-esteem attacks is to keep in mind that no one looks as good in real life as they do online. At the end of the day no matter how much money we have or are how good we are with a makeup brush, we are all imperfect humans with skin problems and bad-hair days. The images on social media and in magazines are art, not reality.

Don’t just focus on outer beauty and focus on the importance of inner beauty.
Lastly, remember that appearance is but one aspect of who we are as humans. There are many ways to be beautiful. A toned stomach is attractive, but intelligence and kindness and passion are more so. The most beautiful people are able to endure and overcome hardship, and are compassionate towards others. While looks fade with age, those qualities will never lose their beauty. Laura says that when she starts to feel discouraged by images online or in a magazine, “I count my blessings and remember that I am surrounded by loving family and friends. I try hard every day to be a good person and work towards my dreams.” Now that’s beautiful!

My Journey to the U.S.

Game Board PictureA board game created for young Latinos and Latinas who have traveled from their home country to the United States at a young age sounds kind of interesting, right? It’s real, too!

Vilma Matos, writer and creator of “My Journey to the United States,” or “Mis Pasos A Los Estados Unidos,” made this board game for people ages eight and older, and it is meant to help the players feel more comfortable talking about their journey out of their home country.

Because this game can lead to the upbringing of many emotions, it is preferred that the game is facilitated by an adult such as a teacher or counselor. The game can be used as an ice breaker to help get the students more comfortable with talking to each other.

Although there are ways to win the game, that isn’t the object of it. Matos’ hope is that the players feel as though they are traveling back to the United States once again and can get reacquainted with feelings they felt during that journey. Matos even made sure to keep some of the game fun and uplifting by adding in cards that ask the players questions about their country and culture.

This board game is a new and innovative way to get children and teens to feel better about their travels to the United States, and to get them to realize they are not alone in their experiences. Each player will have a different story to tell, but everyone should be able to relate to each other in one way or another.

And if someone is playing the game who has never had to leave their home country, this is a good way for them to sit and learn about their fellow players and classmates – if, of course, the people telling their story is comfortable with that person being there, listening in.

The instructions book comes with information for all involved: the objective, the rules, information for facilitators, players, teens, and background information as well. In it, Matos tells anyone reading it about how she came to wanting to create this game. As a social worker, she had the chance to meet with many patients who met the description of people this board game reaches out to. Eventually, she realized there wasn’t a game that targeted this group of people, so she decided to create this game as an “ice breaker” to get people talking.

“I never did find a therapeutic game that would help provide support and break the emotional silence of these children,” Matos said in the instructions book. “I decided it was time to develop the game myself and as the saying goes, ‘The rest is history.’”

The website for the game (ELLgames.com) contains information about Matos’ background, testimonials about the game, and ways to purchase the board game if someone wanted to facilitate it themselves.

At-Home Workouts for Busy Chicas

Being a student can definitely make it hard to fit in time for a workout. However, it is definitely something that will benefit you in the long run to have the energy to do your best at school and work. When you are stressed out because of an upcoming exam or maybe just a bad day, you can relieve stress in a healthy way that also makes you feel great.Having an active and healthy lifestyle can not only boost energy and improve your mood, but it can be a fun way to maintain healthy. There are lots of ways to stay active without having to leave your home. Here are a couple of personal favorites.

1. Jumping Lunge

a) Get in a lunge position with one foot in front and one foot behind with your hips dropped into a squat. (Keep your chest upright throughout complete movement.)

b) Begin with normal lunge, with front leg at an angle in the squat position and back leg behind you.

c) Squat body up into a jump.

d) Replace your feet in the air, moving back leg in front, and front leg in back.

e) Go straight into lunge with opposite legs.

f) Repeat on other leg. Perform 10 reps on one side, and then the other. This counts as one set. Do this four times.

2. Curtsy Lunge

a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips.

b) Take a large step back with your left leg, crossing it behind your right.

c) Bend your knees and lower your hips until your right thigh is practically corresponding to the floor.

d) Keep your chest upright and your hips and shoulders as straight as possible.

e) Return to start.

f) Repeat on other leg. Perform 10 reps on one side, and then the other. This counts as one set. Do this four times. (Feel free to add weight once you master the form.)

3. Jumping Squat

 

a) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms hanging at your sides.

b) Squat down until your knees are bent. (As if you are sitting on a chair)

c) Immediately sway your arms over your head and jump up as high as you can

d) When landing, gently bend your knees and fall back down into the squat position.

e) Repeat 10 reps per set, do four sets. (Swaying your arms will give you momentum so you can catch more air!)

4. One-Leg Squat (with back leg elevated)

-This exercise requires a bench or chair(around one or two feet high).

a) Place your working foot a couple feet away from the chair and place the balance keeping foot flat on the chair.

b) The frontward knee should be inline with the toe of the working foot as you drop down into a squat.

c) Repeat on other leg. Perform 10 reps on one side, and then the other. This counts as one set. Do four sets. (Brace your core a all times.)

5. Skateboard Abs

-This exercise requires a skateboard.

a) Getting into a push-up position, carefully place the skateboard at the tips of your feet and place your hands up in front of you on the floor, shoulder’s width apart.

b) Pull in the skateboard using your core muscles.

c) Pull out the skateboard using core muscles.

d) Repeat 10 reps per set, do four sets.

Latina in the Art World

ArtSuppliesIris Cahill is the Coordinator of Docents and Tours at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. The museum is well known for its collections of European and Latin American Art, and Iris, who has studied art for most of her life, is well versed in its artwork. She has become a prominent figure at the well-established art institution.

However, her rise to career and personal success was not an easy one. She faced doubts and struggles from the time she was small. She was raised in Puerto Rico by her single mother. Iris’s father had left the family when her little sister was just a few months old. She would never see or speak to him again.

Nonetheless her youth was not an unhappy one. Her mother and grandparents were dedicated to her upbringing, and they encouraged creativity from the time she was small, giving her art supplies like clay and colored pencils and also buying her violin and classical guitar lessons.

As a teen, she moved with her mother and sister to Hawaii, where she volunteered with the local community arts program, helping to design materials and organize events. At 17, while still in high school, she took introductory art classes at a junior college.

Thinking back on those years she says, “high school is about figuring out who you are and building those tools accordingly. I fell in love with being creative. Art is timeless. Art connects all cultures throughout history.”

Cultivating her love for art in her Introduction to Painting and Introduction to Sculpture classes, she decided to pursue a Bachelor in Fine Arts at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She then returned to Puerto Rico as an entrepreneur. There she started her own freelance graphic design business, designing book covers and websites among other things. Though she enjoyed her work, she felt instinctively that she was not yet finished pursuing her love of art. She followed her gut and decided to pursue a Masters in Art History at the prestigious Boston University.

But not everyone was as excited about her decision as she was. Friends and family discouraged her from pursuing a master’s degree. “What are you going to do with a Master’s in Art History?” She was often asked.  Iris entered the program nonetheless. She knew what she loved to do. Looking back she says: “If you are passionate and curious about something you can make it work for you.”

While in school, she worked at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts as a Gallery Lecturer. Once she graduated she secured the position of Coordinator of Docents and Tours at the Blanton Museum of Art where she still works today. She says her favorite part of her job is teaching people about the artwork: creating a personal connection between the viewer and the work, and changing people’s minds about art.

Still Iris dreams about the future, and how to evolve in her pursuit of art. She says that she would like to further explore art’s role in psychology and counseling. She also wants to work to expose more teenagers to art. She has a message for young girls interested in learning more about their own passions: “Opportunity is out there for teenagers.” The Blanton Museum itself welcomes volunteers of all ages. The museum is open free to the public and stays open late with dance and music performances, Spanish tours, and even yoga in the galleries on the third Thursday of the month!

This summer, the museum opens a new exhibition entitled “Impressionism in the Caribbean”, featuring Puerto Rican painter Francisco Oller. Iris encourages Latinitas in the area to check out the exhibit or to just come by and say hello! For those Latinitas outside of Austin, she encourages them to check out art exhibits in their area. Most of all she wants to remind girls of the importance of exploring their passions.

Latinas to Know in the World Cup

Women’s soccer is a growing sport. soccer photo 2The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930. But it wasn’t until 1991 that women got the chance to participate. This year, Canada will host the seventh FIFA Women’s World Cup. Women from all over the world will show off their skills including some very talented Latina players. Here are some of the women creating buzz and names you are sure to hear a lot.

 

Marta Vieira da Silva – Brazil

This 5 time FIFA World Player of the Year has played for the Brazil national team since 2002.  Marta plays as forward and is at the top of the Women’s World Cup goal scorer list. She was drafted to play for a professional league at the age of 14 and has managed to make herself internationally renowned since then.

Charlyn Corral – Mexico

Charlyn will be playing for the Mexican national team in her second World Cup. She is relatively new to the cup scene, but she no stranger to soccer. She began playing for the Mexico Under-21 team at the age of 14. The striker was recently signed to a Finnish senior team in 2014.

Cecilia Santiago – Mexico

Celcilia is only 20, but is already working on her second World Cup. She made her debut during the 2011 World Cup as the youngest goalkeeper ever. Speaking of new faces, Cecilia just began her senior club career in 2010 and has played for two club teams since. Her success at record-breaking young ages has caused sports fans to take notice, and she still has room for several more World Cups.

Cristiane Rozeira – Brazil

Cristiane began playing as a forward for the Brazil national team in 2006. This will be the 29-year-olds fourth World Cup. At the club level, she has played for six different countries. She has scored over 70 goals during her career and holds the record as the woman to score the fastest hat trick in Olympic history.

Yoreli Rincon – Colombia

Yoreli joined the Colombian national team in 2010 and is working on her second World Cup. No stranger to competition the midfielder has played for six club teams since age 12.  She impressed soccer fans recently with her performance at the 2014 Copa America by coming out as their top goal scorer.

Gloriana Villalobos – Costa Rica

This Costa Rican midfielder is only 15, but has been playing for a club team since 2012. Last year, was a big one for Gloriana. She joined the senior national team and scored a goal that helped Costa Rica’s national team move up the qualification ranks to the World Cup.

Vanessa Arauz – Ecuador

Vanessa isn’t actually a player, but she is the coach of Ecuador’s women’s national team. At only 26 years old, she spent the last few years quickly working her way up the coaching ladder. She is the first woman to graduate with a coaching degree in Ecuador.  She is outspoken about the lack of respect for women in soccer in Ecuador and how that only feeds her desire to succeed.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup starts in June, so you still have time to find your favorite team. No matter who you root for, you’ll be supporting some very talented women.

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