Ana Luz Hernández, Board Member

Ana Luz Hernández
Director of Policy and Programs
Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce
El Paso, Texas

What is your volunteer position? I currently serve as a Board Member for the organization.

What volunteer projects have you helped with? I helped on a regular basis with the Teen Leadership Institute and provided assistance at other events as needed (e.g. event planning, promotional events, fundraising events, chalk blocking, etc.)

How long have you’ve been volunteering with Latinitas? Since January 2010.

How did you become interested in volunteering for Latinitas? I was familiar with Latinitas when I lived in Austin, but never got involved with the organization. When I relocated to El Paso and graduated from NMSU I decided it was time to become actively involved within the El Paso community. I believe in the value of civic service and cultivating leadership skills in young girls. Having always enjoyed volunteering and being actively involved in organizations whose cause I truly believed in, I was excited when I learned Latinitas had an office in El Paso and on-going volunteering opportunities.

What has been your most rewarding experience as a volunteer? Being given the opportunity to provide assistance to an organization that is committed to a sector of the population that is often underserved, but faces great need and many challenges. When I see these young girls I see myself. At that age I was looking for role models and guidance, anyone willing to point me in the right direction. I think it’s something we continually search for, even as adults.

What do you like most about being a volunteer for Latinitas? Interacting with the girls who participated in the first round of the Teen Leadership Institute and hearing them share their point of view on a variety of issues. I think youth are often discredited due to their age. I think they have a lot of valuable insight to offer and we just have to listen. My goal for 2011 is to become more familiar with the multitude of activities the organization hosts.

Why do you think an organization like Latinitas is important? It provides a safe place for young girls during a challenging and difficult time in their development. Adolescence is a trying time; I think all of us remember those awkward moments. When you are a Latina growing up in a society that does not particularly value your culture, traditions, language, etc. you question your identity. Though Austin is much more diverse today, this was not particularly the case during the late 80s and early 90s. The majority of my peers were white and from much more affluent backgrounds, which made me, feel quite out of place for a long time. I know I would have benefitted tremendously from being surrounded by Latina role models providing me with the guidance and support I needed during that developmental period in my life. I feel blessed to have had a mother who acted as my personal cheerleader, in addition to coming across amazing mentors as a young adult.

Describe your other volunteer experiences and/or civic involvement: I currently serve as the Class of 2009 Representative to the Board of Directors for the Senator Gregory Luna Alumni Association. In the past, I’ve volunteered for NMSU’s Government Graduate Student Organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, PODER, Southwestern Alumni Association and the National Hispanic Institute.

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