Latinas Leading the Fight Against Human Trafficking

While Blockbuster films and news media portray human trafficking as a problem that takes place across our oceans, many Latinas are working to shatter that myth and inform Americans that this criminal act exists near their schools and on their playgrounds.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 300 thousand children – of various ages, genders, classes, races and ethnicities – are trafficked for sex in the United States every year. This figure doesn’t reflect those trafficked for labor or the number of adults also being trafficked within the U.S.

Recognizing this exploitation, Latinas – young and old – are taking a stand against this modern form of slavery.  They are joining forces with other people and organizations to spread awareness, instill programs and laws that prevent trafficking and consul victims of sex slavery.

In Washington D.C., Dr. Carolina De Los Rios is serving as the Director of Client Services for the Polaris Project, a non-profit anti-trafficking organization.

She supervises case managers, social workers and fellows who work directly with victims of human trafficking. Her team provides survivors with counseling, emergency housing and more specialized assistance all intended to help and to rebuild their lives.

“Seeing survivors after you have helped them in an emergency situation is so rewarding,” De Los Rios said. “You’ve seen one of the worst moments of their lives, and then you see them after you and the team worked so hard – smiling, getting their GED, going to college. You see them thriving with their life, and then I know it makes sense what I’m doing.”

Del Los Rios, a Colombian, believes that being a Latina has given her a unique lens in her fight against trafficking.

“Being Latina makes me more aware about the challenges that you experience as a Latina, and it makes me more sensitive to the different challenges that women and girls experience,” Del Los Rios said.

She also said that although all young people are vulnerable to being recruited, Latinas who just immigrated to the U.S., who don’t speak the language and who don’t know how the system works here, may be in an even more vulnerable position.

Public interest attorney Norma Ramos understands that vulnerability firsthand.

The now executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) was once a child in New York’s foster care system.

“I always felt a strong sensitivity about human beings who are being commercially and sexually exploited,” said Ramos. “I felt that that could have so easily been me – I still feel that way.”

At CATW, the world’s first organization to fight human trafficking internationally, Ramos raises awareness about human trafficking and promotes the Nordic model – laws that penalize the demand for commercial sex and decriminalize victims of the commercial sex industry – as an approach to combat human trafficking.

“When a country passes the Nordic model, I’m very happy,” said Ramos. “Norway passed the Nordic model, then Iceland followed. These were ‘break out the champagne’ moments for me.”

Ramos, who is Puerto Rican, also hopes to encourage young people and Latinas to take a stand against injustice.

“The world has too little political courage; it’s the No. 1 disappointment for me when I see people not risk something in order to change and end a social injustice.”

A few hundred miles east of Ramos is a young Latina in Connecticut whose political courage would make Ramos very proud.

Ana Alarcon is a high school senior and anti-human trafficking advocate.

The 17-year-old Colombian recently traveled to Washington D.C. for the National Youth Summit on Abolition, where she was a panelist alongside human trafficking experts like Wesleyan University professor Lois A. Brown, founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation Kenneth Morris Jr., and U.S. Ambassador in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking Luis CdeBaca.

As a young Latina, Alarcon’s voice and perspective was very unique at the event.

“It feels very empowering as a young person and as a female and as a Latina. There are generally a lot of men in this field,” Alarcon said. “I feel like I could give a voice to different groups, I feel honored, and I feel like I could give other people a sense of ‘you can do this, too.’”

The young Latina hopes to continue her advocacy beyond high school. She was recently accepted into Fordham University, where she will be studying international relations.

“Human trafficking is just a link to so many world issues – poverty, drugs, abuse – it’s all interconnected. If I can stop one thing, it will be a chain reaction to cause peace somewhere else,” Alarcon said.

Like Ramos, Alarcon also wants girls her age to be courageous.

“If you want to do anything, you could absolutely do it. Just because you’re a girl, a minority or you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t do something important or be someone important,” Alarcon said.

If interested in connecting with anti-human trafficking services near you or to obtain free training materials to help you with your advocacy, visit: http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/the-nhtrc/overview.

 

Five Fresh Summer Hairstyles

Summer – school is out and experimenting with hair styles is in. From messy braids to flower crowns, the key to fresh summer hair is to mix it up.

One thing about summer hair is clear:  The “ombre” hairstyle is out.

“You walk down the halls and everyone has hair that goes from brown to blonde,” says 17-year-old Destanee.

Even though fierce ladies from Ciara to Jennifer Lopez still rock the gradient hairstyle, here are some tips for fresh, new summer looks.

Twist and turn

Update braids for summer by aiming for less than perfection.  Here are some quick steps to get a unique, messy, side braid:

1.      Take all of your hair to one side and divide it into three parts

2.      Loosely braid the middle section and “mess-it-up” by gently pulling the hair to make the braid look loose

3.      Now take the other sections and begin braiding your side braid (the middle section will be the messy braid you just made)

4.      Now, “mess-up” your side braid by gently pulling the hair out of the braid. This will create the “messy” feel.

Viola!  In a few easy steps you have made a romantic, braid-within-a-braid look.

Take cover

Photo from keikolynn.com

Summer heat can mean harsh rays on new summer dos.  To protect hair from the summer sun, re-purpose fall scarves into colorful head wraps.

Here are a few steps on how to make a sassy bow with your head scarf:

1.      Place the middle of the scarf on your hairline, taking one end in each hand

2.      Wrap each end around your head, crossing each side at the back of the head

3.      Bring the ends back up to the front and make a bow to the right of the center of the hairline

4.      Tuck the ends under the bow and fluff to perfection

Hair illusions

Rubi, 13-years-old, and Fernanda, 14-years-old, nodded in agreement to short hair as an up-and-coming summer fad.  But for those who are not ready to commit to short hair, the faux bob is here to help.

Here are some steps to get the runway-ready faux bob:

1.      Divide you hair into a top and bottom section

2.      Braid the bottom section into two braids and pin them diagonally to the bottom of your head

3.      With the top section, make a low and loose low ponytail

4.      Tuck the ponytail under, pinning it to the braids underneath for security

 

Top it off

This look is a style that is chic in any season – the top bun.  The do-it-yourself internet community took this style to a new level of popularity with tutorials on how to create the top bun using only parts of a sock and an elastic band. Here’s how:

Photo from dxpnet.com

1.      Find a lonely sock, the thicker the better, that more or less matches your hair color

2.      With scissors, cut the foot off of the sock, leaving the sock straight and open at both ends

3.      From one end, roll the sock down making a donut shape

Now you have your own, hand-made, donut that you can use to make the perfect bun. Here’s how:

1.      Make a high ponytail and pull your hair through your sock donut

2.      Spread your hair evenly around the sock donut

3.      Tuck or pin the excess hair around the donut

Now you have your very own timeless top bun.

Flower power

“Flower crowns are the new trend,” says 17-year-old Janette.  “You can use real flowers or fake flowers.”

Whether you clip petals from your garden or find silk flowers at a local craft store like, flower crowns are the summer answer to winter headbands.  This youthful trend is blooming on runways, red carpets, and on do-it-yourself websites. Here’s what you will need:

1.      5-10 assorted silk flowers

2.      Wire

3.      Pliers and

4.     Scissors

5.      Tape (painter’s, masking, or packing tape)

Making your floral crown:

1.      Make a circle with the wire large enough to fit your head

2.      Cut the silk flowers, leaving around 1-2 inches of stem

3.      Using pliers or your hand, wrap the flower stems around the wire crown

4.      Tape the ends of any wires sticking out so you don’t poke your head or hands

In a few minutes you have made your very own, trendsetting, flower crown.

With personal takes on these looks, you are ready to make waves with your fresh, new summer styles.

Clardy Fox Club Leader Testimonial Spring 2013

I lead a club at Clardy Fox Public Library, I enjoyed leading this group of energetic girls. The girls never ran out of things to say and we had many funny and interesting conversations. We wrote journals and designed art posters for body image, college, mother’s day, and Women’s History Month. They have taken many photographs of each other holding up their empowerment posters and posing in different kinds of yoga moves for the healthy living lesson. They wrote letters to the fire department as part of their community service project. The healthy living lesson was my favorite activity because the girls enjoyed having some physical activity and practicing yoga moves. My favorite memory was when we did the healthy friendship lesson where I had two girls whom are best friends vent out their friendship issues. Through the lesson, they were able to hear each other out and put it behind them. In the club, the girls learned to respect each other and to help each other out. The club will help them become leaders and think for themselves and not let anyone else take charge of them. As a club leader, I have learned to become a better listener and motivator for the girls and for myself.

-Bianca Castrejon

Latinitas Program Bulletin January 2013

JANUARY PROGRAMS & EVENTS
(EL PASO, TX)

CREATIVE CHICAS SATURDAY CAMPS
January 12 from 12:30-2:30pm
Judge Marquez Public Library (610 N. Yarbrough)
Girls Grades 4-8
Girls are invited to get in touch with their creative side in this series of creative expression classes. Girls in grades 4-8 will explore ways to express themselves creatively through photos, writing, arts & crafts and film. This creative expression series is hosted monthly at the Judge Marquez Public Library (610 N. Yarbrough). To register, call 915.219.8554, email latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com or register online at:

http://laslatinitas.com/programs/registration

CHICAS ADVANCING IN MEDIA PROJECT
January 19 from 12:30pm to 3:30pm
Main Public Library (501 N. Oregon)
Chicas Advancing in Media Project is a multimedia training program for teen girls with a focus on helping girls build confidence through multimedia expression. With bi-weekly meetings, teens will have an opportunity to get tips from the pros and learn about self-expression through writing, photography, audio production, poetry and film-making. The program includes hands-on media projects, publishing opportunities in our magazine and field trips to local media stations and community events. On January 19th, our team will participate in a photography workshop and take a photo field trip of the El Paso Downtown Cultural District. We will also tour the El Paso International Museum of Art and Holocaust Museum. To register, call 915.219.8554, email latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com or visit www.LatinitasMagazine.org

TEEN LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
Application Deadline: January 21
Kick-Off Conference: February 2
Teens are invited to discover their leadership talents through our semester-long leadership institute. A select group of high school girls from El Paso, Texas will be chosen to participate in monthly leadership workshops to learn how they can become a strong voice for their community. Members will commit to two meetings a month to learn about civic engagement, develop leadership techniques, build communication skills, connect with community leaders, attend field trips, create multimedia social justice projects and organize volunteer projects. The material fee for the semester-long program is $15 (scholarships available). Latinitas is currently recruiting new members for our next institute. The program kicks off on February 2nd at the Main Public Library Downtown. For more information, email latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com, call 915.219.8554 or visit http://laslatinitas.com/teen-leadership-institute

CINEMA CHICAS
January 26 from 10:00am to 1:00pm
La Fe Cultural & Technology Center (721 S. Ochoa – Rear building)
Have you ever watched a TV show wondering what goes on behind the scenes? Get ready for an audio-visual adventure. Latinitas will host a video workshop where girls can learn about film-making from script writing to video editing as a form of self-expression. Girls are invited to get an insider sneak peek with Latinitas to make their own video production. Create your own skit and make your video debut. The workshop fee is $5 and covers lunch and supplies. To register, call 915.219.8554, email latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com or register online at:

http://laslatinitas.com/programs/registration.

START A CLUB AT YOUR SCHOOL
Latinitas partners with local schools to offer girl empowerment programs aimed at helping local girls build confidence through creative multimedia expression. Contact Latinitas to start a girl empowerment club at your school. Latinitas is also hosting a series of Be YOUnique workshops for local partners with hands-on sessions on building a positive body image through media literacy. For more information about bringing Latinitas to your neighborhood, contact us at latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com.

YOUR VOICE – NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION CONTEST
This holiday season, Latinitas Magazine is sponsoring an essay contest for pre-teen and teen girls ages 11 to 18. The winner of the contest will win a back pack with prizes as well as having their winning work published in our magazine. Students are asked to write an essay between 300-750 words describing their New Year’s resolution, their hopes for this year or the goals they plan to accomplish this year. Submissions are due on January 15th. You may e-mail submissions at latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com, mail it to 1359 Lomaland #502, El Paso, TX 79935 or click on the link: http://laslatinitas.com/reporteritas-submission

TEEN VOLUNTEERS WANTED
Would you like to mentor younger girls? Gain leadership skills and earn community service hours. Latinitas is currently recruiting high school female volunteers to serve as mentors in our weekly girl empowerment clubs, Saturday workshops and special events You can serve as a positive role model to encourage, motive and educate middle school girls. To volunteer, contact Rossie Lopez at latinitasrossie@yahoo.com.

ABOUT LATINITAS
Latinitas is a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of Latina youth through media, art, culture and technology. This grassroots coalition of women leaders provides media enrichment programs focused on helping Hispanic girls build confidence through creative expression. Girls in our programs publish LatinitasMagazine.org, the first digital magazine by and for Latina youth. Our youth-produced on-line magazine is focused on informing, entertaining and inspiring young Latinas to succeed. We encourage local girls to express themselves and foster a positive self-esteem through multimedia enrichment lessons on writing, arts & crafts, photography, filmmaking and radio production. By hosting educational media outreach workshops, internships, camps, conferences, retreats and after-school programs, we connect girls with positive mentors who encourage them to build their self-esteem, confidence, cultural pride, body image, leadership skills, academic skills, efficacy and resiliency to at-risk behavior.

Contact Information
phone: (915) 219.8554
(915)282.5639
latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com
1359 Lomaland # 502
El Paso, TX 79935

http://www.LatinitasMagazine.org

January 2013 Volunteer Bulletin El Paso

LATINITAS SPECIAL EVENTS
Become a Latinitas Intern!
Latinitas is now accepting applications for candidates interested in becoming a part of our Spring 2013 Intern team! Latinitas offers exciting editorial, marketing & public relations, fundraising, video, photography, graphic design, event planning and multimedia internships. We also offer Educational Outreach Internships where interns lead girls and teens through creative multimedia expression activities during our after-school programs, workshops and camps. To apply for an internship with Latinitas, please submit your resume to latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com and fill out at http://laslatinitas.com/volunteer/internships

Teen Leadership Institute Planning Committee
Latinitas is looking volunteers interested in helping us plan for our next Teen Leadership Institute where local teen girls interested in learning more about leadership and volunteerism are encouraged to apply. Volunteers are needed to help with planning the leadership workshops, promoting this opportunity among teen girls, arranging guest speakers to speak at the kick off conference and acquiring donations such money,door prizes, supplies or food. We are also seeking Latina leaders to serve as guest speakers for our upcoming biweekly workshops.If you are interested in helping or would like more information, please email latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com or call and leave a message at 915.219.8554.

Creative Expression Saturday Camp
Saturday, January 12, 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Judge Marquez Library Branch (610 N. Yarbrough).
Volunteers are needed to serve as mentor and help guide girls in grades 4-8th with hands-on media arts activities in our Saturday Camps. These Saturday Camps occur monthly, so on-going mentoring is gladly accepted as well. If you are interested in helping, please email latinitasrossie@yahoo.com or call 915.282.5639.

Girl Talk Workshop for Juvenile Probation Department
Saturday, January 12, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Juvenile Probation Department (6400 Delta Drive El Paso, TX 79905).
Latinitas is partnering with the Juvenile Probation Department to host a Girl Talk workshop where Latinitas volunteers will guide youth completing probation in creating multimedia arts activities with the goal of boosting their self-esteem and discussing good decision making. Volunteers are needed to aid the workshop leader and assist youth.

Latinitas Volunteer Orientation
Tuesday, January 15 & January 29, 6-7pm at the Latinitas Office
(1359 Lomaland #502).
Latinitas will be hosting a volunteer orientation for new volunteers. The orientation will provide information about Latinitas and how to become involved in helping Latinitas with the various projects including girl empowerment programs, Alliance for Latinitas and the editorial and multimedia team. Come join us and feel free to bring a friend over to become part of Latinitas. To apply, fill out a volunteer application
here. If you are interested in attending, please email latinitasrossie@yahoo.com or call 915.282.5639.

Chicas Advancing in Media Project
Saturday, January 19 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Location: Latinitas Headquarters (1359 Lomaland).
Latinitas invites teen girls (ages 13-18) to participate in writing & multimedia workshops. Girls will be writing magazine stories and producing media projects to be published in our online magazine. Volunteers are needed to help mentor the teen participants during the scheduled workshops, help with the planning process, and serve as guest speakers with media related experience. If you are interested in helping or would like more information about attending the workshop, please email latinitasrossie@yahoo.com or call 915.282.5639.

Multimedia Workshop
Saturday, January 26 from 10:00 am-2 pm at La Fe Cultural and Technology Center ( 721 S. Ochoa St. Rear Building, El Paso, TX, 79901).
Latinitas will be providing free workshop where girls will be taught about different necessary multimedia skills. Volunteers are needed to serve as mentors and to guide the participants through different hands on activities. If you are interested in helping out, please email latinitasrossie@yahoo.com or call 915.282.5639.

Mark your calendars for Tiara Tuesday on February 5 Latinitas will be hosting the ultimate ladies’ night out, Tiara Tuesday to fund raise money for Latinitas. Volunteers will be needed to help with setting up for the event, helping out at the information table, registering and greeting guests, directing guests at the manicure tables, and photographing the event. We also need help with breaking down and packaging supplies which would be at the end of the event. If you are interested in helping or would like more information, please email latinitasrossie@yahoo.com or call 915.282.5639

LATINITAS COMMUNITY OUTREACH EVENTS
Latinitas will host an information and activity booth at several upcoming community events. Volunteers are needed to help distribute information about our organization, to host hands-on craft activities for youth, to promote Latinitas’ mission and to distribute Latinitas literature. To help, contact us at:
latinitasrossie@yahoo.com or call us at 915-219-8554 or 915-282-5639.

Nuetra Belleza El Paso
Friday, January 18, from 6:30-9:30 pm at El Camino Real Hotel (101 South El Paso Street, El Paso, TX 79901).

SISD Mother/Daughter Conference
Saturday, January 26, from 7:45 am-4:00pm at Socorro High School (10150 Alameda Avenue El Paso, TX 79927).

LATINITAS ON-GOING OPPORTUNITIES
Marketing and PR Wanted
We are seeking volunteers to help us develop personal relationships with potential clients through phone calls, emails and internet marketing. Also, we need assistance in maintaining contact with television, radio, print and online media outlets in order to secure coverage for events. If you have strong communications and internet research skills, and would like to volunteer, please email latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com or call and leave a message at 915.219.8554.

Graphic Design Help Wanted
We are seeking volunteers to help design fliers and promotional materials for our upcoming events. If you have experience in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, please lend your graphic design skills. Volunteers are needed to work on one design project a month. Contact us at 219.8554 or latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com.

Video Editing Help Wanted
We are seeking volunteers with experience in video production to edit short videos created by youth in our programs. If you can commit 2 per week, contact us at 219.8554 or latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com.

Photographers Wanted
Volunteers are needed to help take photos at our programs and events. If you can help at special events, contact us at 219.8554 or latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com

Office Help
Latinitas is looking for office help with data entry, filing and organizing our program supplies. If you are interested in volunteering, contact us at 915.219.8554 or latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com.

Become a Latinitas Intern!

CONTACT US:
Rossie Lopez
(915) 219.8554
(915)282.5639
latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com
latinitasrossie@yahoo.com
1359 Lomaland # 502
El Paso, TX 79935

http://www.LatinitasMagazine.org

Scholarship Testimonial Fall 2012

My name is Courtney Francisco and I am so thrilled about getting this scholarship for my education! I am a student at UTEP and studying to get a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Spanish and Communication Studies. I have worked so hard and now I am three semesters away from graduating as the first ever in my family. My education means more to me than just the money or success that I will potentially make but it also means exceeding my own expectations and making my family proud of me. My main motivation is to see the world and I think that education could help me get there.

In the future, I want to go to NYU and get my Masters degree in Spanish education. I plan to study abroad for at least a semester and eventually teach abroad English as a second language. I also want to get my Ph. D. from an Ivy League school because it is something that once seemed so far out of my reach. I am inspired to reach so high for my goals partly because of moving here to El Paso and getting involved with Latinitas. I have become more confident to reach for my goals by being a role model to the girls in the clubs I led. Coming from a poverty background myself, I think that it was good to give back now that I have the resources to do so.

This scholarship will DEFINITELY help me out because it will give me more time to buy my books. As a student operating totally from loans and without the money to pay for anything out of my pocket the scholarship will buy my books for me without having to wait for my loan refund money. It is a long process and as a nerd that I am, I love being able to have my books a couple of weeks earlier so I can read them ahead of time before class starts. :)

I hope that there are many sponsors that support us because Latinitas is really doing some great things with the community. We are set apart from the rest of the NPOs in El paso because while many people help out the community temporarily, we build lasting relationships with the girls and are more immersed into the community. I feel like I am participating with something in something much larger than myself. :) Go Latinitas!!

Ysleta Club Leader Testimonial Fall 2012

Hello! I am Courtney Francisco and I was the lucky club leader to have the Ysleta library club. After Thanksgiving, it was sad to say goodbye to them! The first few weeks I spent promoting the club by going to various schools around the area and getting teachers and librarians excited about Latinitas. I gave them flyers and book marks and told them what we represent. I had expected a large group with all of the promoting I had done; but I actually came out having just a few special girls. While this might be discouraging to others, it was a great blessing to me. By having a smaller group, it made the discussion easier and more open. I was able to get to know these girls a lot easier and the trust seemed to be higher between them. Total, I had five girls. Something that I remember is the two girls that came every time who were both artists and although they are four years apart in age, they seem to have really built a friendship. Because of Latinitas, these girls made new friends!

Some of the lessons we worked on were Hispanic Heritage, Dia de los Muertos, Body Image, “What if?” college lesson, Presidential campagn lesson, and Domestic Violence Awareness. I think the girls enjoyed most the “Love yourself” body image lesson. It was a great discussion and they really got into the video that we made about photoshop. The letters they wrote to themselves were so inspiring to me that I even started to think about my own body image and reflected on how I can be a better role model to them by having higher self esteem myself. This group had an eccentric and unique personality and I think they fit in so well with each other. It seemed as though these girls are a little different from other girls their age in that a majority of them were very involved and serious about school and very talented in their artistic abilities

The main thing that I take away from Ysleta and from the Latinitas experience overall is that to be a model for these girls I should consider the lessons myself and think of how I can be the best I can be for myself and for them. I feel that in the Ysleta club, these girls really just wanted someone to listen to them. After the club, I remember waiting for their rides with them and we would have the best conversations about so many things.

Career: Army Commander

Career Spotlight on Catalina Rosales

Position & Title: Air Defense Battery Commander

Employer:
United States Army

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I am a Captain in the U.S. Army; specifically my title is “Commander.” As Commander I am in charge of the training, morale, welfare and readiness to deploy of 91 Soldiers tasked to operate a medium to high altitude Patriot missile system in defense of critical assets to American national security. As the Commander, I am responsible for making decisions on a daily basis that affect my Soldiers’ lives as well as their families and am overall responsible for the successes and failures or my organization.

How did you find your current job?
I actually stumbled upon this. I never thought I’d be a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army; much less make it a career. All of my life growing up I wanted to be a doctor, so I prepared myself for this throughout school; taking advanced science classes and focusing in that area. I was accepted to a 6 year medical program in the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.

However, after a few short weeks, I realized that that was not my calling. I changed my major to International Business and ended up graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2003. I now had a different goal: to be in business for myself. Simultaneously, I was very attracted to the area of international business that dealt with forming and bridging relationships across different countries; the international “relations” piece of things. This would play a bigger role in my future. But for the mean time, I set my sights on becoming my own boss. So I tried my luck at opening up my own small business. With the right planning and resourcing, the business actually thrived. Meanwhile, I was continuing to prepare myself because I knew that the business world would be competitive. So while I owned my business I also went to the University of Texas-Tyler full-time as an graduate student pursuing a Master of Business Administration.

While studying my MBA I discovered I had a passion for business law; particularly business law and business formations and transactions. The more educated I became, the more the world opened up itself to me and I learned that there are a great deal of choices out there! After being my own boss and getting an MBA by 2005, I decided, “why not merge business and law?” So I went after the Law Schools Admission Test (LSAT). I decided I would sell my small business and pursue a degree in law.

However, one night, as I was reflecting on all of the great opportunities I have had as an immigrant in this country, I realized that I felt like I had not contributed enough. With Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom at their height, I felt that as an American I needed to contribute more; to something bigger than myself. I figured that since I had already taken the LSAT and scored well, law school could wait a few years so that I could serve my country.

I knew I wanted to be a leader and I wanted to use my skills and talents for something great while at the same time volunteering to support our country in a time of struggle. I applied to become a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army and was accepted in 2006. After initial training and being assigned to my first unit in Air Defense, I realized that this was my true calling. Being a leader and mentor for young Soldiers and earning the satisfaction of knowing your hard work goes into the greater good of society is a feeling that I will never want to give up. After seven years, I am still serving my country and plan to continue serving for as long as I am allowed.

I had an interest in international relations in college and by being part of the Air and Missile Defense community I gained exposure to many national security challenges that I chose to explore in my independent studies. Wanting to know more and how I could best serve my branch, my Army and my country, I enrolled in a Graduate Certificate Program in Advanced International Affairs from Texas A&M University. After completing the program, I went on to apply many of the things I learned in my studies. Some of that work in conjunction with my operational work was noticed and I was offered three opportunities: to earn a Master of Leadership from Columbia University with a follow-on assignment to West Point; to earn a Master in Public Policy from Georgetown with a follow-on assignment at the Pentagon Army Staff and Joint Chiefs of Staff or a Master in Public Administration from George Washington University with a follow-on 2-year assignment as an Army Congressional Fellow. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do, but I know whatever I choose, I will excell because I am confident and I have worked hard all of my life for these opportunities!

What is your favorite part of your job?
I love leading Soldiers and making a positive impact in their lives. When Soldiers tell me that I made a positive influence in their lives, it makes my job worthwhile. Knowing that I am contributing to making people better and making this country safer, is all of the personal satisfaction I need in life.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Hmmm….I face challenges on a daily basis. I think challenges are fun because they really test my abilities, will, problem solving skills, tenacity, and everything else. Sometimes challenges can be because there’s not enough resources to do the things I need to prepare my Soldiers for war. This is where I have to be creative to provide those resources to complete the mission at hand. Sometimes challenges are tactical and technical and I really have to roll up my sleeves to come up with a solution that meets the mission given by my higher Commanders. Sometimes it’s just a challenge getting out of bed at 4:30 every morning. I am not a morning person, believe it or not!

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
Be confident! Be a leader! Take charge! Be mentally and physically tough. Always be the standard setter. Don’t let anyone set it for you. Be proud to be an American and confident in everything that you can contribute to the greater good for our nation and society.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
I love to work out and run and stay physically fit. I am on the Women’s Army Ten Miler Team representing Fort Bliss. I do Crossfit and also train small groups in circuit-based endurance training. I compete in Marathons, Half-Marathons, local races, mud races (like the Tough Mudder and the Super Spartan Race) as well as adventure races (if you don’t know what an adventure race is, look it up online. They are so much fun!!).

I also like to read and stay current with current events and I also like hanging out with my friends and having fun. Having a balanced lifestyle is very important to me.

5 señales de un novio tóxico

Escrito por Bethany Ward
Traducido por Marivel Ramirez

Salir con alguien puede ser divertido, excitante, y es usualmente una experiencia agradable, pero algunas veces puede ser  totalmente lo opuesto. Puedes decirte a ti misma, “Sólo es que me ama” si tu novio se convierte en alguien posesivo o celoso. Tal vez un día te empuje y te diga “Fue un accidente, no volverá a ocurrir otra vez.” Algunas veces puede ser muy controlador, como cuando te dice qué ropa usar o a donde ir, pero en otras ocasiones es realmente dulce. Esto puede ser realmente confuso, y te preguntas si la manera en la que él está actuando es algo que sólo “ocurrirá en una ocasión“, o  si esto se pondrá peor. Entonces, cómo sabes cuándo es tiempo de salirte de la relación, o aún mejor, cómo puedes identificar la violencia aún antes de que empezaras a salir con alguien?

1. Tiene mal carácter
Si empiezas a notar que tu novio se enoja por todo y pierde los estribos rápidamente no lo ignores. Si, todos tenemos  momentos en los que podemos estar muy enojados, pero si tu novio se está enojando por cualquier cosa que tu haces y te lastima o amenaza con lastimarte, es tiempo de obtener ayuda! No permitas que su mal carácter te atemorice  de seguir en contacto con los demás. Habla con algún hermano(a) mayor, un amigo cercano en quien confíes, o un adulto. Mientras mas pronto hables acerca de este problema con alguien más será más probable que puedas salir de esa relación de una manera segura.

2.  Es extremadamente celoso
Un chico que es un amigo te dice “hola” en el pasillo. Para ti es un simple “hola”, pero tu novio piensa que es mucho más. El se ha vuelto extremadamente celoso, hasta empieza a revisar tu teléfono, tu página de facebook, y twitter diariamente. Te prohíbe hablar con otros chicos y hasta se ha vuelto celoso si te reúnes con tus amigos el fin de semana. De acuerdo con la Coalición Contra Violencia Domestica de Alabama, muchas jóvenes piensan que  lo celoso y posesivo de sus novios es “romántico”, pero eso NO es “romántico” de ninguna manera. Si puedes, confróntalo acerca de esto, pero si no te sientes segura haciéndolo, díselo a alguien. Apártate del camino de sus celos antes de que te lastime.

3. Te menosprecia

Notas que tu novio te empieza a menospreciar cuando empieza a insultarte, te dice que no eres bonita, o hasta insulta a tus amigos y familia. Empiezas a pensar que tal vez él está en lo correcto, que tal vez tu no eres bonita, inteligente, graciosa y única. ALTO! Nunca permitas que un chico te trate de esta manera. Tu eres hermosa, eres inteligente, graciosas y eres única. Nunca permitas que un chico te menosprecie e influya en como te miras a ti misma.  Si lo hace, pues termina con él, que no hay razón para quedarse con alguien que te menosprecia y no te ama por quien eres !

4. Es Controlador

Un día decides ir al cine con tus amigos, pero a tu novio no le gusta eso. Él te dice que no puedes ir y que deberías dejar de salir con tus amigos. Además de decidir con quien  te puedes reunir, él empieza a insistir en que cambies tu manera de actuar y de vestir. Empieza a controlar tu vida mientras tú pierdes contacto con tus amigos cercanos y tal vez hasta con alguna parte de tu familia. De acuerdo con loveisrespect.org. “1 de 4 adolecentes, quienes han estado en una relación seria, dicen que su pareja ha tratado de  impedirles que dediquen tiempo  a sus amigos o familia.” En el momento en el que empieza a controlarte, es el momento en que deberías terminar la relación.

5. Te presiona

Si notas que tu novio empieza a presionarte para hacer algunas cosas, algo está mal. Si empieza a presionarte para que no vayas a la escuela o te presiona para que consumas drogas o bebas alcohol, es tiempo de obtener ayuda. De acuerdo a lo reportado por loveisrespect.org   “Practicamente1 de 4 chicas quienes han estado en una relación, han declarado  ir mas allá en lo sexual de lo que ellas hubieran querido como resultado de la presión.” Nunca le permitas a un chico presionarte para hacer algo que tu NO quieres hacer. No temas hablar. Cuéntale lo que está sucediendo  a tu  mama, a un amigo, o a alguien de confianza, para que puedan ayudarte con la situación en la que te encuentras.

Si tú o alguien que conoces están experimentando o ha experimentado violencia de pareja visita  http://www.loveisrespect.org/ para más información.

TECHchica: Latinitas Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with the 1st Latina Girls Conference in Austin

AUSTIN, TX – Ask Hispanic women achieving what they lacked on their path to success and you might be surprised that the challenge of academics and economics takes a back seat to the absence of needed Latina role models – the examples of those who “made it.”  Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15)  by bringing mentors and young Latinas together, Latinitas is hosting Austin’s 1st ever Latina Girls Conference, TECHchica, Sat., Oct 6, from 9am-4pm in a partnership with Time Warner Cable and Austin Community College’s Eastview campus. Cost: $15 per girl. Register:  512.447.4440 x13 or at Latinitas Magazine.

Girls will engage in a “hackathon” like atmosphere developing a social media campaign to “change the world” and then implement it using blogs, video and podcasts.

“When we asked Hispanic girls in Latinitas’ programs what motivates them, they unanimously agree they want to help others.”  said Laura Donnelly Gonzalez, Latinitas,
Founder, COO. “We are pairing their love of technology and media production with the desire to create a social media campaign that will do just that.”

Female bloggers, IT professionals and video producers from all over the city will walk girls ages 9-18 through these activities.. During lunch, girls will be visited by a panel of women leading and succeeding in technology including local journalists, bloggers and technology executives from area businesses which will be filmed for a national web stream/simulcast to Latinitas’ El Paso chapter.

Latinos are still significantly less likely than whites to have a home internet connection (55% vs. 75) due to several socio-economic factors including low levels of  education and limited English ability.  That lack of access reflects heavily in Latinitas where 95% of club attendees do not have a computer at home.

“Ten years teaching digital media education and publishing the only magazine made for and by young Latinas, Latinitas has seen a lot of technology innovation come from girls as young as 8 and we wanted to create a fun, supported, competitive environment where they could work collaboratively with a concentrated group of educators, technophiles and mentors.” Said founder Laura Donnelly Gonzalez.

Established in 2002, Latinitas, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to empower young Latinas through media and technology, has been a vital part of young Latinas’ lives through after school programs, teen internships, Saturday and summer camps, special events, and the
very first online e-zine for young Latinas—www.latinitasmagazine.org. The bilingual magazine, written for and by young Latinas, provides a vehicle whereby these girls and young women not only see themselves positively reflected, but are also a part of the production.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) campaign is a five-year, $100 million cash and in-kind philanthropic initiative to address America’s declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which puts our children at risk of not competing  successfully in a global economy.

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