Poem: El Sol

El Sol by Celeste Ledesma

The garbage man,
Our country once called
Him a no one, a ghost
Of nothing that slipped
In through the night of our
Nation and wouldn’t dare
Leave the shadows.

Our country then called
Him a someone, finally,
A someone who didn’t belong
In civilian clothing,
And so he was shuffled
Into the light of the Vietnam War.

He reflects to anyone who will listen:
I fought for my America, not the one
That looks into the waters of the Rio
And sees the blue eyes of Jesus Christ
But doesn’t see the brown of the muddy tears
He cries…Sabes que , that’s not mud, it’s my sister
And her children crossing the battlefield
Of a different kind of war.

The garbage man,
Our neighbors eventually called
Him Antonio because when
The war was won, or lost,
Or who remembers… they were allowed
To know he was real in the small space
Between night and day.

The garbage man,
Our family called him el sol
Because we saw him through our windows every morning–
Smile shining so bright that you wouldn’t think
He lived in the night, but you would know by the way
He talked about the moon: She was the light he followed
Through his first American night,
And I wonder if anyone cares (I mean wonders)
If when he says moon he means wife.

The garbage man,
I call him grandpa
And he reflects to us: Niños,
Even though I did not know
That you would be mine, you
Were the stars I reached for
When I lived in the night.

DIY Vision Board

For many ambitious girls, there are plenty of goals that are waiting to be met. The struggle is staying focused and completing them. Whether it’s a short-term or long-term goal it can be done! Follow these DIY tips to create your own vision board to keep you on track to reach your goals.

Decide On Your Goals:
A long term goal can be to graduate with honors from your class, become a teacher, or even be organized. A short term goal can be to study for a test that week, exercising three times a week, or knowing your lines for the school play by the end of the week. Both short-term and long-term goals should be treated with equal importance because they are meant to be met no matter what. Once you have decided what your goals are, you can start focusing on making those goals a reality.

Create a Visualization Board:
A great way to begin brainstorming on what steps need to be taken in order to reach that goal is visualization. As the common term says, “Seeing is believing” its all you really need. Imagine seeing your goals every morning as you wake up as a reminder of what you want to accomplish.

Get Creative:
Create a board of pictures, words, drawings or quotes that represent what you want to achieve. Cutting out pictures and positive words from magazines help make your board be much more vivid. If your goal is to be more fit, cut out a picture of a woman exercising and print out a picture of your face and place it on the woman’s face. It looks funny, but it helps you see yourself in that position just like in any position.

Personalize It:
Don’t be afraid to use bright colors that will capture YOUR attention every day! You are personalizing your own goal board, so use your favorite colors or craft materials. It can also range in size, from a small board to a big poster board. The decision is up to the visionary, YOU.

Find the Right Spot:
When your masterpiece is complete place it somewhere where you will see it every day. Place it on your ceiling or on your door, a place where you know you’ll see it every morning when you wake up!

Reach Your Goals:
Everything takes time, but soon you’ll see your goals be accomplished and you’ll see your board with a sense of pride. Place stickers on the goals you have already completed to keep your board “alive”. The best thing about your board is that you can have as many as you want or change one every year, like a new year’s resolution with pictures!

Advice By Latinitas

As part of our Women’s History Month Blog-a-thon, we asked Latinitas to write their top words of wisdom. LatinitasHandsStarWhat advice would you like to share with younger girls?

“The best advice I can give young girls is to be your absolute self. Being who you are will help you find your true friends, give you opportunities, and the confidence you need to face anything and everything. AND you’ll be truly happy! Focus on yourself and your future. Prioritize because it will really benefit you in the long run. Above all just enjoy your life, don’t rush to grow up take it a step at a time and go with the flow!” – Ariana Ortega

“The advice I can give to younger girls is to always be yourself, because God made each and every one of us unique. Don’t pretend to be  someone else or try to be someone else. We have a lot to offer, and help others. We must always be kind and appreciate the people who love us and are there for us. I thank God simply for one more day to live and his great love for us. Be the best you can be, enjoy your youth years as much as possible. Don’t stress with school, take your time and be organized. We have to always believe in ourselves no matter the circumstances. God will always help us find a way through no matter what. Live life and enjoy it and cherish those who are always there when you need them, family and friends. I am so thankful to God for giving me the family that I have and my friends. I know we can all make a difference to help other teenagers like us to be confident and believe in themselves. I am also thankful to God because I have one more year of life today and because he is always there with us protecting us. Enjoy each day and be thankful to God in everything, and be glad because being a female is the best thing. We all have a lot of talents and a purpose in this life.” – Vanessa Ramirez

“You are always so hard on yourself! Stop comparing your outfits, body, and personality to other people. You need to learn to love yourself. Don’t try to make others take on the role of loving you before you learn to love you. Be confident! Aim to be the best version of you. If someone else finds your quirks annoying, they can sod off because you are unique and delightful. Secondly, be wary of sketchy friends. It’s great to be a friendly girl, but if said friends have proven to be untrustworthy, please get away from them. This is for your own good! Find kinder friends! They’re not that hard to find! They are there! They want your friendship! Thirdly, please put a greater effort in to your school work. Yeah, math might be hard but, it’s even harder to bring up your GPA and/or learn how to discipline yourself academically if you don’t put the time in. You can do it! Please don’t get lazy! I know it’s easier to watch TV and avoid your obligations, but you’re screwing future-you in the long term.” – Vianey Reyes

“Please, think about your future!! I want to tell you that it won’t be easy. Getting low grades at school is not going to help you. Having too much fun is not going to help you at school.Start getting involved in things that are going to benefit your formation at school. Find new friends that can be helpful for you. Pay attention and respect your teachers because you never know if you will need them. Take care of yourself, respect every one and most important respect your body. Remember that you are becoming a strong women with different types of interests and that you are amazing.” – Ariadne Venegas

“Remember that it’s okay to feel things. It’s the one thing I wish I knew when I was growing up. Even to this day, I forget that feeling emotions is okay. So try not to ever forget that. If you’re sad because of a loss in the family or sad because a member of your favorite boy band quit, it’s okay. You have every right to feel any and all emotions that you feel. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you otherwise. It’s best to ignore when anyone says girls are too “sensitive.” Be proud of your sensitive side. Being able to understand someone else’s feelings and accept that they feel that way is a great thing and something more people in the world need to start doing.  Anger, happiness, fear, nervousness, and anything else. They’re all okay. Just make sure that you feel them 100% because holding them back isn’t going to help you out in the long run. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to laugh, laugh. You feel a certain way for a reason, so let it out. Learning feeling emotions is okay and it’s something that I’ve found so hard to accept after so many years of thinking a different way. It’s the only thing I wish I could tell my younger self.” – Gissel Gonzalez

“I would tell younger girls to study and take advantages of every opportunity they have in life. Do not waste time doing things that will not make you feel proud of yourself all the time. Also, do not let other people tell you, you cannot do something you want. Be brave all the time and fight for your dreams. Always follow your heart and do whatever makes you happy. Love your family, friends and life all the time. No matter how you feel, you are worth a lot more than you think. Remember to enjoy every second of life and spread love.” -Eunice Sanchez

Gril Talk: Friendship and Boyfriend Woes

JD-art-teenlove-20121229175333558035-300x0Have you ever had a friend in a bad relationship? Have you ever felt pressured into choosing between your best friend or your boyfriend? Or have you ever had to make a decision between your parents? Relationships are like a baby, you have to care, spend time with them, and love them; but you don’t want to lose a friendship over a boy, do you?Choosing between two people can also be a hard task because they’re people and they both somehow make you happy; the one that makes the decision is you, no one can pressure you into choosing something or someone you don’t want too. Listen to your heart!

 I have a friend that is going out with this boy. After a couple of weeks I start liking him, but I can’t say because she would get mad of me. I really like him, but she is my BFF. I don’t want to make a problem. What should I do? 

Well, hanging out with your ‘BFF’ and her boyfriend can cause you to get certain feelings towards him probably because she tells you a lot of great things about him, and probably more if her boyfriend is good looking.  Try to not hang out with them as much, or try talking to a different boy to get your mind off of your BFF’s boyfriend. A friendship and a relationship are two different things, and they shouldn’t be mixed. A boy should never come between a friendship or vice versa; don’t let just one boy ruin your friendship with your BFF.

A friend met a guy on Facebook and fell in love, but yet they still say I love you. They haven’t met in person, and then yesterday they broke up and they were yelling. Now my friend keeps crying and doesn’t want to meet new guys. What should I do?

Have a girls night with her, take funny movies, buy ice cream and chocolates, and/or get her out of the social networks for the night. After she’s gotten her mind off of Facebook and what happened between them, ask her to get ready to go out– just you and her. And take her out somewhere where she won’t think about the guy on Facebook. Have a good time together and help convince her that everything happens for a reason and maybe they weren’t meant to be.  Try explaining to her that online dating is not the safest way to date because it can be dangerous since she doesn’t know that person physically.

 My parents are separating, but I don’t know where to go. Should I go with my dad or mom? My friends don’t want me to move and I don’t want to leave them. Please help me. 

You should go with whomever you feel more comfortable with. It’s always hard to choose between your parents, but think about the long run, who do you get more along with? Who do you talk to the most? It’s all up to you and your feelings towards them. No one can tell you who to choose because no one knows your parents how you do. Remember, wherever you go you will meet new people, make new friends, and still be friends with your old friends. Think about what YOU really want; don’t think of anyone else right now, it’s your decision.

 

Healthy Twist to Classic Dishes

dsc049361024x9331379667129290Does your mouth water every time you think of your mamá’s home cooked meals? Let me give you a second to reminisce on all the glorious meals and food comas you’ve survived thus far. Unfortunately, the ugly truth is that a lot of those delicious home cooked meals are filled with sodium and fats that are harmful to your growing body. Don’t fret just yet, chica! This doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to all your favorite meals. It just means that now is the perfect time to add a healthy twist to classic dishes that will transform them and your taste buds for the better.

Let’s start with the appetizer!

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Roma Tomato, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt

Directions:

1.     Peel the avocados and lightly mash and mix them with a fork. (It’s okay if there are small chunks, they taste great!)

2.     Add and mix the onion, garlic, lime juice and salt.

3.     Lastly, add the diced tomatoes and stir a few times. (Adding these ensures that your guacamole doesn’t come out mushy.)

Ready for the main course? This burrito bowl has everything you crave in a burrito.

Burrito Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz. Black Beans
  • 15.25 oz. Corn, whole kernel
  • Lime Juice
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes
  • 3 Cups Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Cup of Rice
  • Low Fat Sour Cream

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions, and set aside until cool.
  2. Add rice to serving bowl.
  3. Top with lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes.
  4. Add sour cream and lime juice for extra taste. (optional)

Compliment this bowl with the delicious guacamole you just made!

Chalupas

 Ingredients:

  • 2 Corn Tostadas
  • Low Fat Refried Beans
  • Shredded Cheese (The Weight Watchers brand is really good)
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • Shredded Lettuce

Directions:

  1. Heat refried beans according to the directions on the can.
  2. Spread the beans on the tostadas.
  3. Add the diced tomato and shredded lettuce.
  4. Sprinkle shredded cheese.

 Now for some yummy dessert!

Grapefruit Paletas

Ingredients:

  • Popsicle mold tray (found at your local Wal-Mart or Target!)
  • Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Directions:

1.     Pour your juice into the tray.

2.     Place the tray in the freezer and let it freeze for at least 3 hours.

*This recipe can easily be substituted with any flavor of juice, just make sure to read the nutritional facts. Some juices are packed with too much sugar!

All these recipes are simple and healthy alternatives to your traditional Mexican recipes. Feel free to substitute any ingredients to your preference. Now, dig in!

DIY Last Minute Holiday Gifts

christmas-gift1The happiest time of the year is right around the corner, and you’re eager to see your family and friends. For those looking for last minute DIY gifts, these gifts are quick and easy to make.

4 in 1 Mix and Match

For this project you will need:

  • A Wooden box (without a top and big enough to fit 4 jars)
  • 4 Jars (they can be different sizes, according to the size of your box)
  • Spray paint (preferably in a metallic color; look for one that is appropriate for wood or metal)
  • 1 Brush
  • Newspaper (to put on the floor, so you don’t stain anything)
  • Color ribbons different sizes

Instructions:

  1. Wash the jars with soap and water.
  2. Then, leave the jars in hot water so it’s easier for you to take the labels off.
  3. Air-dry the jars;  while you’re waiting put the newspaper on the floor.
  4. Go to where you placed the newspaper. Then, paint the lids of the jars and let them dry.
  5. Take the labels off the jars.
  6. Fill the jars with candies, a scarf, small candles, nail polish, or the ingredients of a cookie recipe.
  7. Place everything in the jars and put small ribbons around each one.
  8. Gift wrap the jars or give as is!

Chalk Mug

For this project you will need:

  • An entirely white mug
  • Masking tape
  • Blackboard paint
  • Chalk
  • 1 Brush

Instructions:

  1. Start by sticking tape on the top and bottom borders of the mug. This will allow the paint to only stay in the middle of the cup.
  2. With the brush, paint the cup using the blackboard paint.
  3. Let the cup dry; once it is dried, take off the tape.
    * If there are any mistakes, correct them with nail polish remover and cotton.
  4. Add drawings to the cup with chalk.
  5. Fill the cup with candy!

Wooden Heart
For this project you will need:

  • Yarn of your favorite color.
  • Wooden board (Width 1.5 – 2 inches)
  • Slim little Nails
  • Hammer
  • 1 paper sheet

Instructions:

  1. On a paper sheet, draw a mold of what you want to form with the yarn.
    For example: Draw a heart and cut it so you can use it as a mold.
  2. Draw points to use as a guide  on the borders of the heart with a separation of .7 inches.
  3. Once the mold it’s all marked, place it on the wooden board and draw aligned points to the ones in the heart.
  4. Nail down the mark points with the hammer.
  5. Knot the worsted yarn around one nail and start to zig-zag it around all the nails, do it again from the other side and keep passing it through all the nails.
  6. Push down the yarn to fill all the heart (This way the nails won’t show as much).
  7. Once you’re finished, make another knot in a nail and cut off the rest.

Eternal Flowers

For this project you will need:

  • Big Styrofoam ball.
  • Synthetic flowers
  • Strong White glue or Silicone Adhesive.
  • 1 Ribbon
  • A flower vase with a small top

Instructions:

  1. Cut the stem of the flowers, leaving a little part of the stem.
  2. Plug the leftover of the stem in the Styrofoam ball with glue.
  3. Repeat the steps for the rest of the flowers until you cover the ball.
  4. Make sure you don’t leave any white space, except for the spot where you’re going to paste the ball to the vase.
  5. Paste the ball to the vase with abundant glue.
  6. Make a bow with the ribbon around the vase.

Pistachio Necklace

For this project you will need:

  • A bunch of pistachio shells
  • Paint (preferably matching colors like red, pink and purple)
  • 1 paperboard sheet
  • Silicone adhesive
  • A chain (it can be from an old necklace that you don’t use anymore)
  • Necklace connector rings
  • Small Pliers

Instructions:

  1. Start by cutting the sheet in a half- moon shape.
  2. Make two little holes in the corners of the sheet.
  3. Embed 2 connectors into the holes, 1 in each one.
  4. Insert the chain into those holes with help of the pliers.
  5. Place the pistachio shells onto the sheet, to see how many you will need.
  6. Set them apart and start painting as much as you need for each section of the necklace.
    *For ex: Paint 25 red, 20 pink and 15 purple.
  1. Once the shells are painted, let them dry.
  2. Glue the dry painted shells onto the paperboard sheet.
  3. Put one layer over the another, until you fill the sheet
  4. If you have leftover space, just cut it.

Poem: Room

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Written by Stephanie Hernandez
It’s just an empty room
A naked window and wooden floors
Beige walls and red doors
The shadows of falling leafs reflect on the window
While the sun rays leak through
With golden light that sways with winter scents
Their smells are lingering content
The wind whispers stories in the walls
Of romantic downfalls
When seasons can’t help but change
Your desires become strange.
For you rather be the scar
Than admit who you are
Now my heart is breaking
For what has been forsaking
Let us breathe through the seas
Of shuttered memories
And watch us fall like the yellow leaf
That covers the concrete of gray disbelief
With the wrong steps, we’ve lost our chances
Missed words and lost romances
That sunk through the wood of our floor
The mistakes that paint our red door
Was I a fool to assume?
That after all we’ve been through;
We’d be more than an empty room

Poem: I Am A Puerto Rican Woman

Flag_of_Puerto_Rico.svgby Sandra Diaz

I Am A Puerto Rican Woman
And You Will Not Experiment On Me.

Gone are the days of eradicating our babies
Sterilization of our population
No consent castration
Making us an empty shell of our former self

Maria’s and Jose’s…
Vanished from Our wombs
Brown Castano skin
Pupils of wonder,
Innocence ripped from within
Our rights strip away with wire hanger abortions
Performed with Pulled the life from us operations

A Boriquen Women
Concentration Elimination
Tidal wave to exterminate the unfortunate subjects
Transplanting Cancer cells on Our Men is no exception
Abuse and torture poison radiation
Social worker house to house
Face to face Discrimination

Thousands of Sisters and Mothers
Told and convinced
That they should no longer conceive
Threatening,
Scaring and Scarring the life out of me

Silent about the Experimental Birth control test trial
Birth place Induced abuse
Couldn’t stop me from coming
My spirit just wouldn’t be stopped
I’m here to speak
Yeah
Now what.
Back to Back Fertility control
Racist attitude Policy must go
In a Civilized Society this should never take place
Contraception Mis-information
Nevermore will be accepted
By the Beautiful Taino Race

Misleading propaganda was taught in schools
White Picket Fence Promises
Builds mistrust, Are we alliances?

“La Operacion”

Had naive daughters fooled
100 percent; Child bearing age
Two doctors to check if tubes were tied
They’re natural born experts on deceit and lies

Irreversible mistakes
Fifty a Day.
Does not a good decision make
National Intended Genocide
Cannot bring the unborn back

Curvy, intelligent, Feministas
Will not permit; anyone instill
That educated decisions are too complicated
That we don’t have…. Free will does not exist
To just take the Magic Pill

Were here to stay
Our Cultura is Strong
We’ve come a long way
Women of Color, Coming together
We carry on
Where there’s courage, we cant go wrong
We’ve progress with Pride intact
We’ve been quiet for far too long

Too many side effects to be acceptable
So with a shout and a heart felt scream
Were taking Authority on our God Given Dream.
Compliance is not our Grandmothers Option
The unwilling Pioneer found A Solution
Our Resolute is our Revolution

A Puerto Rican Female
Who Believes In
YES WE CAN!
And like I said
You Will Never Experiment On Us
Again!

Poetry: Drifting Thoughts

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Drifting Thoughts  by Andrea Barreto

I keep my heart where blue kisses gold,
near sand that sparkles like the facets of a diamond.
Sunlight beats down, reflecting off the constant waves.
These waves gleam golden for the day, then fade to an incandescent glow in the silver light of night.
With every splash against the shore, another doubt slips away.

The night brings darkness, a comforting shadow over droning worries made harsh by the day.
Bright moon and faint light soothe lingering thoughts of uncertainty and self-doubt.
In the dark my senses are heightened,
each grain of sand delightfully coarse against my skin,
and each wave lapping gently against my feet as they wash away the troubles of my soul and mend the wounds in my heart.
The sun will return as night gives way to day, but in this moment I am alone in the dark,
and, with the moon, my uneasiness wanes away.

Early College Program: Worth It?

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Written by Joella Methola

 My experience with the early college life is remarkable. I attend the El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an early college student. As an early college student, this means that I go to both high school and college. It is a unique campus environment where I earn college credits, a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation. It is a great educational program, plus it is free.

Enrolling in an Early College Program
Applying for an early college program takes a lot of work and effort. Applicants need to have one available in their city, complete an application (submit by the priority deadline), write an essay (why you want to go an early college), meet the compliance with state attendance policy, have an GPA of 90 in core subjects during the student’s 8th grade year, submit 7th grade STARR scores, and, finally, submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Benefits of Being an Early College Student
The transition from middle school to an early college is not that easy and it took me a while to get used to it. After all, going to an early college after middle school is a great jump but a grand opportunity. Being enrolled in an early college program has helped me grow academically and personally. For example, I have learned how to manage my time, how to use and improve my strengths, open my mind to new ideas, and how to be aware of my surroundings.

It is rewarding process because you learn to be a more mature, responsible and successful college student. I personally believe the hard work is worth it because you have the opportunity to learn in a college setting with other EPCC students. This type of environment helps you decide which route to take when you  continue your education to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Myth VS Reality: Is It Worth It?

The early college is not all work though. There are a lot of rumors saying that when you attend an early college you miss out on a high school experience; however, you do not. There are clubs and activities you can participate in. For example: Mock Trial, Science Bowl, High Q, Piano, Moot Court, Fashion Club, Community Service, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Spanish Club, and more! Plus, we have scrimmages against each other on sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. One other cool thing is that all students (freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) can go to prom and homecoming! We also have a lot of school spirit.

Being in an early college has been the best choice I have made so far. I believe that others should follow the same path. It is very fun but also challenging, which is a good thing. It challenges you to be a better student.

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