Latinitas Helps Latina Teens Become Agents of Change (El Paso, TX)

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El Paso, TX- To inspire the next generation of Latina leaders, Latinitas will host a leadership institute where Latina teens can learn how to develop their leadership skills while helping their community. Latinitas will kick off a Teen Leadership Institute on January 28, 2012, at the Jose Cisneros Public Library from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The kickoff ceremony will consist of a full day conference where teenage high school girls will discover how their abilities and strengths can make a difference in the community. The program requires that all participants attend monthly meetings to learn about various leadership methods, decision making skills, goal setting, public speaking, civic engagement and volunteerism. Participants are asked to organize two community events and to complete a minimum of 20 volunteer hours. As part of the program, the teens are able to meet local Latina leaders who will give presentations to the girls on a variety of issues. Upon successful completion of the program, the teens will celebrate their accomplishments in a graduation ceremony to be held in May.

Latinitas launched the Teen Leadership Institute in reaction to the growing number of teenage Latina girls who are more likely to be at risk of dropping out of high school, getting pregnant, and committing suicide. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.8 percent of Latina girls between the ages of 15-19 gave birth to a child in 2008 as compared to only 1.7 percent of Anglo girls in the same age range. Through after-school programs, camps, conferences and internships, Latinitas aims to transform these kind of figures.

“Through the Teen Leadership Institute, Latinitas hopes to empower and encourage girls to challenge themselves to reverse these negative trends,” said Alicia Rascon, Executive Director of Latinitas. “We want Latina teenagers to discover their own strengths and develop their leadership skills all while actively engaging themselves in the community.”

Rascon brought Latinitas to the El Paso community from Austin, TX in 2008. Since then, Latinitas has hosted after-school programs, offered summer camps and provided empowerment workshops where young Latinas can build confidence, discover their voice, develop cultural pride, and learn about creative self-expression. Latinitas has also recruited and motivated young teenage girls to express themselves through their online magazine, www.LatinitasMagazine.org, the first digital magazine by and for U.S. Latina youth.

Latinitas is currently accepting applications from Latinas in grades 9-12 interested in enrolling in the Teen Leadership Institute and attending the kick off event. The deadline to apply is January 20th. For more information on enrolling contact Latinitas at (915)219-8554, latinitaselpaso@yahoo.com or submit an online application.

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