Healthy Chica Conference Gives Girls Tools To Create a Movement

Latinitas Uses Media, Tech and Musician/Health Enthusiast Suzette Quintanilla to Debunk Confusing Health Messages 

AUSTIN, TX- Media has such power and influence, directing mixed messages at teen girls about diet, esteem, body image, sexuality, happiness, achievement and much more.  Latinitas’ Healthy Chica Conference, Oct 24, 9am-4pm at ACC Eastview for any girl ages 9-18 puts the message-making in girls’ hands and is an opportunity to re-script confusing perspectives about what is and isn’t healthy .  Conference attendees will use video, photography, blogging and other digital media methods to explore nutrition, exercise and mental wellness.

Suzette Quintanilla, sister to the late Selena Quintanilla and drummer for the Los Dinos, will kick off the morning by sharing her journey to a fit lifestyle. Girls and teens at Latinitas’ Healthy Chica Conference will also be visited by nutritionists, doctors, dentists, acupuncturists, hospice workers, girls’ health experts and social workers who will share their career experiences during lunch.  Girls will also complete an exercise circuit sampling CrossFit, yoga and martial arts.

Latinitas is a non-profit organization focused on empowering girls and teens using media and technology. It also publishes the first and only magazine made for and by young Latinas. (

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services statistics report 73 percent of Mexican American women are overweight or obese, ten percent more than the general population. More than half of Mexican American women do not report any leisure exercise and are consequently at greater risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.  As the U.S.’s largest Latina population, statistics paint a dire picture about the fate of Latina female health, overall.   And, these numbers are only addressing physical health. One out of 7 young Latinas attempt suicide, a majority afraid to get help due to dated and cultural stigmas about depression. In many ways, Latina girls’ and teens’ health and wellness is in crisis.

“Media manipulates what ‘good health’ is photo-shopping bodies to an unreachable body ideal. Ad-driven, it’s also hard to know what is really good nutrition and what is a fad.” Said Laura Donnelly Gonzalez, Latinitas founder and COO.  “This event lets Latina and other girls define healthy living on their own terms, a point of view not covered well in mainstream media.”

Registration is $10 and includes lunch.  Girls and teens can register at or by calling 512.900.0304.  Scholarships are available upon request or girls can post a picture of a healthy habit (ex. lacing up tennis shoes for a run, grabbing an orange as a snack) to Latinitas social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) with the hashtag, #healthychica for free admission.

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Contact Laura Donnelly Gonzalez at 512.809.4618 or for an interview.     


Girls Aim High in STEM Conference

Aim High Conference Features Leadership & Career Workshops

WHAT: Aim High Conference: Girls are given the opportunity to explore career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math mentored by professionals in this leadership and career workshop.

WHEN: November 7, 2015 ( 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)

WHERE: 7000 Edgemere

WHO: Latinitas and the American Association will be hosting the Aim High Conference, a special career exploration workshop about empowering Latina youth. The Aim High conference is created especially for girls ages 10 and up with unique hands-on workshops, exhibits and panels.

WHY: The Aim High Conference is geared toward encouraging pre-teen and teen girls to aim high by setting high goals for themselves, achieving in academic realms and exploring professional opportunities for their future success. Girls are invited to imagine their future career and meet role models. Workshops are led by professional women who are excited about sharing their careers with participants. Aim High features unique hands-on workshops, activities and inspiring guest speakers. Aim High Conference is hosted by Latinitas and the American Association of University Women.

REGISTER: Pre-registration is encouraged. For more information, call 219.8554, email or visit

ABOUT LATINITAS: Latinitas is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of Latina youth. Through multimedia enrichment programs, Latinitas empowers local girls to express themselves and connects them with role models and mentors who guide them in building their confidence and self-esteem. Latinitas members publishes, a bilingual webzine focused on informing, entertaining and inspiring young Latinas to grow into healthy, confident and successful women.


Latinitas and Google Fiber Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Las Voces: Austin Latinas in Journalism

Local and National Journalist Panel Discuss Diverse Voices in Media

Women represent just 35 percent of newspaper supervisors according to the 2014 American Society of News Editors newsroom census.  Same goes for TV and radio, where women make up just 28 percent of news directors in the top 25 U.S. markets and 26 percent of radio news directors at stations with 1M listeners or more.

Shifting the lens to women of color, Latinos, overall, are just one percent of U.S. newsroom staff and national coverage of Latino issues in a country where 90 percent of American children under 5 are Hispanic is…wait for it…under one percent, with issues limited singularly to immigration and crime.

WHAT:           Bringing together Latina journalistic voices in print, radio and television, Latinitas and Google Fiber present for the first time Las Voces: Austin Latinas in Journalism, a panel discussion on cultivating diverse voices in media and the shifting American narrative. 

 WHO:             Las Voces Panelists include:

Josefina Casati, Editor in Chief, Ahora  Si

Gissela Santacruz, Editorial, Austin American Statesman

Alexa Ura, Politics and Demographics Reporter, Texas Tribune

Veronica Zaragovia, News Reporter, KUT-FM

Moderator: Leslie Montoya, Univision and Alejandra Charre Otero, Latinitas

 WHEN:          Wednesday, Sept 30, 5:30 pm doors open, event goes until 7:30

 WHERE:        Google Fiber (201 Colorado).  Food and drink served.


“Representation is key in a providing authentic narratives in media.  We thank Google Fiber for providing the forum and space discussion strategies for cultivating more diverse voices in media and also a platform to celebrate women in the trenches doing it right now.” Said Latinitas founder Laura Donnelly.

About Latinitas

Latinitas is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to empower young Latinas through media and technology.  Founded in a class at UT Austin in 2002, Latinitas is also the first and only digital magazine made for and by young Latinas ( Twenty five thousand readers per month and thousands of articles later with 20,000 served through the magazine’s outreach programming that includes digital media education camps, clubs and workshops, Latinitas continues to grow with new chapters in El Paso, TX and programs in Las Cruces/Silver City, New Mexico.  

About Google Fiber

Google Fiber is an Internet and TV service that is available in Austin. Fiber customers get access to a range of products from Gigabit Internet to Google Fiber TV to the Basic Internet product. Go to to learn more. 

Business Chica Conference Motivates Future Business Leaders

Business Chica Conference Encourages Girls to Reach Their Business Dreams

WHO: The Business Chica workshop is presented by Latinitas, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering local girls, in partnership with Southwest University. The workshop is open to girls ages 10-17.

WHAT: The Business Chica workshop is focused on encouraging local girls to discover their entrepreneurial spirit, to learn about careers in the business sector and to prepare as the leaders of the 21st Century.

WHERE: Southwest University Auditorium

WHEN: September 26 from 10am-3:30pm

WHY: Girls will connect with female business leaders as they develop business skills, receive financial literacy training, learn about entrepreneurship and foster work-readiness skills. Girls will be able to work in teams to develop their own entrepreneur venture ideas, create a business plan and design their own marketing campaign. By meeting inspirational professional mentors, girls will be inspired to dream big and reach their full potential. Local girls are invited to explore their future careers and meet inspirational female leaders. The Business Chica Conference is created especially for pre-teen and teen girls. It will feature girl-friendly, unique hands-on workshops, motivational speeches, interactive activities, exhibits and inspiring career presentations. At the conference, girls will get a chance to meet role models in different fields and learn more about careers in those fields.

Tickets are available at: 


Blackbaud Inc. Partners with Latinitas to Get more Girls of Color Coding

AUSTIN, TX (DATE) – Engineer Lina Nilsson shared her woes about the low numbers of females working in engineering in a recent New York Times Opinion piece[NM1] .  She cites legitimate issues of workplace discrimination and a lack of female role models, but also points out what attracts women towards STEM careers is different than their male peers.  That difference is starting to change the numbers of female enrollment in STEM classes.

Nilsson said when societal causes are attached to collegiate classes on engineering tech and science – women enroll.

At the interdisciplinary D-Lab at M.I.T., which focuses on developing “technologies that improve the lives of people living in poverty,” 74 percent of over 230 enrolled students this past year were women.  She also cited Arizona State University as a school whose humanitarian engineering courses and study options have twice as many women as its traditional engineering classes.

Capitalizing on this important trend is Austin-based Latinitas, a nonprofit focused on empowering Latina and other girls and teens using media and technology and local software supplier, Blackbaud.

Latinitas will visit Blackbaud for a 10 hour coding boot-camp July 30-31.  Girls ages 9-14 will meet Blackbaud engineers, designers, testers and programmers, and work in teams to create an app that helps community.  Community is defined as the girls themselves, their families, neighborhoods, cultures or the world.  Blackbaud staff will assist with coding lessons and will then test guide girls through testing, documentation and product marketing.

“We polled our Latinitas about what motivates them overall and the general consensus is ‘helping others.’  Blackbaud’s engineers, programmers and other technology professionals are going to help us connect girls’ passions for change with the development of an actual piece of technology innovation,” said Laura Donnelly Gonzalez, Latinitas founder and COO.

“Blackbaud is interested in promoting methods that encourage more women to study and work in technology, so we are excited to help the girls in Latinitas leverage that desire to help others into a technology product that causes societal change,” said Sally Ehrenfried, manager of philanthropy and volunteer engagement at Blackbaud.

Founded in 2002 by Alicia Rascon and Laura Donnelly, then-journalism students at UT Austin, fed up with the misrepresentation of Latinas in media, Latinitas has served over 20,000 girls and teens through after-school clubs, weekend workshops, camps and conferences at 112 schools, libraries, community centers. The organization also publishes, the first and only magazine made for and by young Latinas.  Latinitas has evolved with Austin and its evolution as a tech sector, first by providing digital media training to students who lacked that access and now as a source of coding, app development, video game design and robotics education programs for Hispanic and other youth and their families.

Blackbaud is a leading global provider of  software and services specifically designed for nonprofit organizations. Its products focus on fundraising, website management, CRM, analytics, financial management, ticketing, and education administration.

Contact Laura Donnelly Gonzalez at 512.809.4618 or for an interview.       

Laura Donnelly Gonzalez

Founder, COO Latinitas

( o ) 512.900.0304

( c ) 512.809.4618

Empowering young Latinas using media and technology


 [NM1]I would hyperlink to the article

Alamo Drafthouse Announces 2015 Summer Kids Camp Lineup

Austin, TX –– August 2015 - Alamo Drafthouse is happy to announce the return of its annual Summer Kids Camp screenings – now 100% better, stronger and fun-er! Programmed specifically for families, Summer Kids Camp is affordable fun for all with a mix of new favorites and classic kid-friendly films.

New for this year is a “choose-your-own-ticket price” model ranging from $1 to $3 per person – you choose the amount! This new model not only allows for tickets to be purchased online, in advance with reserved seating – parents, take a moment to rejoice here – but also 100% of ticket sales will be donated to local nonprofits helping families. Now, families can have summer fun while also helping their communities.

“Kids Camp reaches almost 100,000 kids and parents during the summer, providing affordable and fun movies for everyone,” says Director of Family & Community Engagement Amy Averett.  “We are excited to grow this program to support great local nonprofits through ticket sales donations.”

Some of our inaugural nonprofit beneficiaries include: Latinitas (Austin, TX), The South Plains Food Bank (Lubbock, TX), Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes (Kalamazoo, MI), and the YMCA (Houston, TX).


“We’re also excited about the variety of titles being offered this summer,” says Averett. From classics like MARY POPPINS and the original PARENT TRAP, to literary inspirations like MATILDA and CHARLOTTE’S WEB, there is a wide range of choices for families.  Also, we know that summer’s hottest new releases like JURASSIC WORLD may not work for our younger guests.  Kids Camp provides age-appropriate alternatives like THE LAND BEFORE TIME and NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM.”

Check your local webpage for showtimes and keep an eye out for special Kids Camp menu discounts.  Let the summer fun begin!

Join the Alamo Drafthouse Family Facebook page to keep up with all the family events at the Alamo Drafthouse:

















Kids Camp screenings are open to ages 3 and up. Please, no infants (parents, check out Baby Day screenings instead). All children must be accompanied by an adult. Our regular “No Talking” policy is still in effect, so noisy families may be asked to leave.


Press Materials Available Here:
Kids Camp Video:
Kids Camp Poster:

Kids Camp Series Webpage:


For Alamo Drafthouse Media Inquiries:

CONTACT:   Brandy Fons

PHONE:        310.809.8882



About Alamo Drafthouse

Tim and Karrie League founded Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in 1997 as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin. 17 years later, the now 19-location chain has been named “the best theater in America” by Entertainment Weekly and “the best theater in the world” by Wired. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover’s oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed “The Geek Telluride” by Variety. Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of genre cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood studios. The Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible art gallery, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including Drafthouse Films, which has garnered two Academy Award nominations in its short three-year existence, and Birth.Movies.Death., an entertainment news blog curated by veteran journalist Devin Faraci.




Young Austin Girls Learning to Code at Latinitas Tech Camp

Young Austin Girls Learning to Code at Latinitas Tech Camp

A group of young Latina girls are taking part in coding boot-camp at an Austin software company.

Girls ages 9-14 have met engineers, designers and programmers at Blackbaud and are getting lessons in basic computer coding, as well as some good advice for life.

“Don’t let anything stop you from your dreams, whether you’re a girl or a boy or you’ve got black hair or blond hair, doesn’t matter, you can all do it, OK?” Blackbaud Quality Assurance Tester David Dauber told the group.

The 10 hour coding boot-camp runs from July 30-31.

The campers will also work in teams to create a mobile application that can help their communities.

The coding camp is organized by the nonprofit group Latinitas.

Blackbaud is a leading global provider of software and services specifically designed for nonprofit organizations.

KTSM Special Report

KTSM Special Report


(KTSM) El Paso, Texas

“I like to put my earrings on like the dangly ones and I don’t really like to wear dresses because I don’t think they are very comfortable,” said Giana Quezada.

Confidence, Intelligence and happiness; words to describe a more realistic definition of beauty. With a young mind and a heart full of love, these young girls set out to find their place in the world.

“What you see on a magazine cover isn’t necessarily real,” says Alicia Rascon, Executive director of Latinitas.

A message that can be easily buried beneath photo shopped images and over-sexualized celebrities.

That is where “The Latinitas” step in.

Latinitas is a non-profit focused on empowering young Latinas through media and technology.  An all-girls diva summer camp where the ages range from 9 to 14 years old.

“Our first week of camp is called ‘Fashionista,’ and it’s all about getting girls to express themselves through fashion and to be creative with their style so the girls are going to be creating their own fashion magazine,” says Alicia Rascon.

Activities highlighting not just the girl’s strengths, but also setting a better path for their future.

“I think especially for Hispanic girls, when you look at some of the statistics young Latinas have the highest high school dropout rate, compared to our Caucasian and African American peers. Hispanic girls right now have the highest teen suicide rate and we also have the highest teen pregnancy rate, so we want girls to know that these aren’t the only options for them that they can break these stereotypes, that they can change these statistics around,” says Rascon.

What inspired the name Latinitas?

“We kind of wanted to create a label, a new label where girls could really could embrace something that’s unique about them,” says Rascon.

The camp also features presentations by community leaders and college driven women that can inspire a once shy girl, into a smiling confident 10-year old.

“I was a little shy the first week because I didn’t really know anybody there, like a couple of days we got to know each other and we got to socialize and it was pretty fun,” says Quezada.

“We feel like that’s a big area where a lot of them have grown. A lot of them are boosting their confidence, boosting their self-esteem,” says Rascon.

Characteristics that could help shape tomorrow’s leaders.

“I want to be a veterinarian or a veterinarian assistant to take care of animals help them if they are sick, and I love animals so yeah,” said  Quezada.

Giana’s mom says she’s seen a difference in her daughter

“What’s great is wherever we go she’s picked up on so many friends and she’s just so outgoing,” says Patricia Quezada, Giana’s mother.

This is Giana’s second time at the camp, and she’s already planning her next visit.

“If I had a time machine that it would be here, the camp would be here, I would go back in time to be here in the camp,” says Giana,  “but if it didn’t exist I would be really sad because I wouldn’t have the friends I have.”

A time machine that can launch these girls not into the past, but into a future of confident, strong and driven “Latinitas.”

Girls Become Media Producers at Camp

Local Girls Produce Their Own Media This Summer
Who: Girls ages 9-13 are invited to develop their media skills in this camp hosted by Latinitas and led by local media makers.
What: The Latinitas Media Divas Summer Camp is a series of week-long camps where girls learn how to create their own multimedia arts projects through  photography, writing, art, design, radio production and film-making.
Where: 7000 Edgemere, El Paso, TX
When:  July 7 –August 7, Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm
  • Fashionista Camp – July 6-10
  • Hollywood Camp – July 13-17
  • Multimedia Arts Camp – July 20-24
  • Be YOUnique Camp – July 27-31
  • Tech Chica Camp – August 3-7
Why: This summer, girls in grades 4-8th are invited to find their creative expression outlet by producing original media arts projects in the Latinitas Media Divas Summer Camp.  The camp features hands-on workshops led by local multimedia makers as well as tours of local TV and radio stations. Campers will create daily creative expression projects such as an art mural, poetry, photo essays and short films. Girls will explore careers in media, take field to media stations, connect with professional media mentors and create their own original media projects.  The camp is aimed at encouraging girls to build confidence, discover their voice and learn how the can get their voice heard and make an impact through media.

How: To register, call 915.219.8554, email or visit  Participants can register for the full day or half day. Military and sibling discounts are available. A limited number of scholarships are available.

Latinitas Paving the Way for Latina Makers

Latinitas was featured in the School LIbrary Journal…

Latinitas and DIY Girls: Paving the Way for Latina Makers

By Shelley Diaz on May 20, 2015 Leave a Comment

The rise of maker culture and new media focused initiatives has not gone unnoticed in the Latino community. Two nonprofit organizations, Latinitas and DIY Girls, are working with Latina teens and tweens to promote tech- and media-related skills.

Luz Rivas, founder of DIY (“Do-It-Yourself”) Girls, was inspired to start an organization aiming “to increase girls’ interest and success in technology, engineering, and making through innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships,” she says, when she revisited her elementary school in Los Angeles and noticed the lack of technology programs for girls.

“I became interested in technology when I was in elementary school,” she says. “It was hard to see that 30 years later, nothing has progressed. I thought, why don’t I combine aspects of the growing maker movement, activities, and equipment that is accessible to everybody and create a program for girls?”

DIY Girls develops and implements educational programs and events designed to encourage engagement with technology, promote self-confidence, and support aspiration to technical careers among tween girls in L.A.’s northeast San Fernando Valley, where the majority of students are Latino. Now in its fourth year, DIY Girls offers afterschool programs to fifth grade girls in five area schools, bringing equipment and materials for projects, such as coding and creating video games and a controller, and using the 3-D printer.

It has also branched out to middle school students, offering monthly programs and summer camps that have taken place at the Los Angeles Public Library. “Our goal is to keep connected with the girls as they grow older, offering a mentorship that we hope continues until they graduate high school,” Rivas adds.

Since its inception, DIY Girls has worked with 400 girls. Its staff is made up of Latina women with degrees in engineering, toy design, psychology, and an aspiring maker/STEM librarian, in addition to volunteers and mentors. The organization is currently is fund-raising for a two-week maker-themed summer camp on Indiegogo with the goal of reaching $8,000 within the next 15 days.


Photos courtesy of Latinitas.

Latinitas is another nonprofit organization that is focused on inspiring young Latinas to develop technology skills, with an added emphasis on media. Latinitas was founded by Laura Donnelly and Alicia Rascon in 2002. Originally conceived as a class project at the University of Texas Austin, where they first met as graduate students, as a way to address the misrepresentation and lack of positive portrayals of Latinas in media and technology, it began as a digital magazine made for and by young Latinas.

“Young women are always struggling with issues of identity and self-esteem, but most Latina girls don’t often find themselves in magazines. And so we started Latinitas, says Donnelly. “It became a space where teens could receive lessons in writing, photography, and then digital publishing as media evolved. Since Austin is tech-centered, coding was the next natural step.”

Latinitas has expanded to include a nonprofit that hosts programs, clubs, workshops, and summer camps in Austin and El Paso, TX. With an audience of 12–17-year-old girls, Latinitas aims to provide a creative outlet for expression, help participants learn about their culture, and foster career exploration in STEM fields.

The organization has served over 20,000 elementary, middle, and high school Latinas with afterschool enrichment programs focused on media, technology, and cultural literacy. As the participants grow older, they serve as models for their younger counterparts in the program. Ninety-two percent of Latinitas alumni reported that they had graduated from high school within four years. Latinitas has four full-time staff members and 20 volunteers.

The group has partnered with 12 libraries in Austin and El Paso to host events that are open to entire families, not just girls. A recent library workshop, Code Chica, which focused on video game design, took place at the Southeast Austin branch. Families came from as far as an hour away to attend. The projects and ideas are usually generated by the participants themselves, and they often tie it back to their culture. One girl created Piñata zombie video game. Another tied her game to the Llorona legend,” says Donnelly.

The family connection is a big part of what makes DIY Girls have a long-lasting impact on attendees, Rivas believes. “When they do things with electronics at our programs, they get to take [their creations] home and share [them] with their families. It creates a special bond with their dads, who [often] have always been tinkerers. The fathers are surprised that their daughters could make projects like that.”


Paola Ferate-Soto, a librarian at the Austin Public Library who has hosted several Latinitas programs at her branch, has a daughter who attended the summer workshops held by the group. “It’s a great opportunity to offer tech-related programs to girls. We have wonderful male librarians and they attract a lot of boys for computer-focused programs. But we noticed that there weren’t that many girls wanting to use the computers,” says Ferate-Soto. She has since seen less resistance to tech programs from young female patrons. “It’s a great away to expose them to tech in a non-threatening and exciting, accessible way,” she says.

DIY Girls and Latinitas have each received financial and in-kind sponsorships from companies and organizations as varied as Microsoft, the L.A. Lakers, the United Latino Fund, Evil Mad Scientist, Target, and IKEA.

They both aim to inspire at-risk young Latinas to pursue STEM-related fields—and to impart confidence and creativity in their mentees. “We are allowing them to create; we’re not giving them step-by-step instructions,” says Rivas. “We provide opportunities for them to learn by troubleshooting a project. Our goal is for them to be excited and enthusiastic about creating technology, rather than just using technology.”


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