Latinitas

Location:
El Paso, TX

Latinitas is dedicated to empowering Hispanic girls through media, art, culture and technology. We publish LatinitasMagazine.org, the first digital magazine for Hispanic girls and teens. The bilingual digital magazine is geared towards informing, entertaining and inspiring young Latinas to succeed. A truly innovative aspect of Latinitas is that it serves as an online forum for girls to express themselves and publish their work. By hosting bilingual, bicultural, educational media outreach workshops, camps, internships, retreats, conferences and after-school programs, Latinitas is inspiring and cultivating the next generation of Latina media makers. We focus on empowering Latina youth to build confidence and express themselves through lessons on writing, graphic art, desktop publishing, web design, photography, film-making, and radio production. We serve a primary audience of low-income, at-risk Latina youth.

Project Description: 

Latinitas currently serves approximately 3,000 girls a year through staff-led initiatives. Paid staff operate after-school enrichment programs, workshops, summer camps and conferences. Most programs are concentrated in El Paso serving an audience of low-income girls. While this model works well in urban areas, potential growth in the rurual surround region is limited by staff size and budget.

During the last strategic planning session of the board of directors, Latinitas prioritized expanding its programming to serve some of the poorest girls along the border. Latinitas identified an opportunity to replicate the Club Latinitas program by engaging volunteers.

Latinitas envisions developing a series of volunteer-led media clubs for low-income girls it the rural outlying colonias near El Paso. According to the 2005 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, El Paso county tied with the Bronx as the third-poorest large county in the nation. Many low-income families reside in colonias, unincorporated Texas-Mexico border communities that lack adequate water and sewer, paved roads, and safe, sanitary housing. These colonias are outside city limits and have a very limited property tax base for basic city infrastructure and resources.

By recruiting, screening, training and supervising community volunteers to serve as club leaders, Latinitas will be able to replicate its existing programs in the surrounding region. Club Latinitas will incorporate multi-language learning, culturally-based curriculum and multidisciplinary techniques in the fields of journalism, film, photography, audio production, graphic design and web publishing to teach girls who face economic disadvantages and who otherwise have limited awareness and access to media and technology. The program celebrates traditional journalism, cultural arts as well as cutting-edge multimedia technology. Providing avenues for expression among Latina girls allows them to take ownership of media, putting young females at the helm of their journalistic and intellectual portrayals. Latinitas will emphasize the importance of literacy, life-skills development, academic achievement, social justice, civic engagement and critical thinking skills. The Club Latinitas will provide a space where media preserves culture, family traditions, ethnic history and community outlook as a foundation for explorations of our world today. Club Latinitas will engage students in critical dialogue about issues relevant to youth in our community and work together with girls on how to translate and coalesce their ideas into potent multimedia projects. The effect is viral. Girls producing multimedia art feel empowered by what they are producing and their audiences benefit by a broader representation of voices.

A key goal of this project is to increase community engagement by recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to expand Latinitas’ reach by implementing programming in the surrounding El Paso regions. To maximize community engagement, a VISTA Member will assist Latinitas in developing the procedures, framework, partnerships and infrastructure to successfully build volunteer-led, community-based multimedia clubs. Latinitas already has an extensive library of media-based enrichment activities for Hispanic girls. With the help of a VISTA Member, Latinitas will formalize a comprehensive curriculum guide building on, adding to and refining existing curriculum. Additionally, this project will produce volunteer procedures and training manuals that will serve as the basis for future Club Leader trainings. Also, the project will help in developing an organizational structure, Advisory Committee and Leadership Team that will play a key role in on-going volunteer recruitment, trainings and supervision. Furthermore, the VISTA Member may assist with the development of a marketing plan which will be utilized to recruit volunteer club leaders and members.

As part of the CTC VISTA Project, Latinitas would recruit a VISTA member to serve as an Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator. This position would assist with:

Primary Goals:

- organizing an advisory board that will develop a comprehensive curriculum guide with a series of media-based, enrichment activities for girls.

- coordinating a volunteer leadership team that will assist with future club leader recruitment, trainings and management

- developing training procedures and volunteer manuals to empower volunteer club leaders to guide girl empowerment
 activities

Secondary Goals

- creating a marketing plan to outline strategies for effectively recruiting volunteers, identifying strategic community partners and sponsors and beginning the initial phase of volunteer recruitment.

Project Tangibles: 
Throughout the project, the VISTA member will work directly with an advisory board and volunteers to develop a curriculum guides, club leader training manual, volunteer procedures and volunteer recruitment marketing plan. These tangible products will enable Latinitas to replicate our media-based, culturally-relevant, bilingual, girl enrichment programs into additional communities. Latinos make up about 15 percent of the U.S. population and are the largest and fastest growing population. Despite the growth and size of this population, very few programs exist nationally that focus specifically on this population. The tools developed in this project may serve as a model framework and curriculum to share with the field of Latina-focused girl empowerment programs nationally.

Supported Projects



Program Development Coordinator

Marisol Guzman
9/20109/2011

The Corps member will help develop a model for volunteer-led media clubs for low-income girls in the rural outlying areas near El Paso.

The Corps member would manage a pilot test of the volunteer-led module, provide trainings and technical support to volunteer club leaders, gather feedback from club leaders, revise club leader manuals and procedures, build on our curriculum to add advanced lessons for high school students, recruit new leadership team members, and build the infrastructure for our leadership team.

Our VISTA member played an instrumental role in collaborating with our team in developing a curriculum guide for teen programs, recruiting and training a Girl Empowerment Team of program leaders and advisory board members, refining our club leader training program, and implementing a pilot test of volunteer-led clubs. As a result of her service, we now have new curriculum, a strong leadership committee, new volunteer recruits and updated volunteer procedures. Our VISTA Member has played a key role in helping us refine our volunteer structure, procedures and roles. Our VISTA Member helped develop and kick-off our Girl Empowerment Team to take on leadership roles to serve as a program advisory committee. The Girl Empowerment Team assists with the development of media curriculum for our media enrichment programs for girls and serve as leaders in training new volunteer Club Leaders. She has recruited and oriented new members for the Girl Empowerment Team. She developed a lesson plan template to provide a standardized format for all program curriculum development. She also created a guide for media curriculum development which serves as a tool for the entire team to create new curriculum aligned with our key program objectives in mind. In collaboration with our Girl Empowerment Team, our VISTA member has added to our existing curriculum of media enrichment lessons for middle school girls with new advanced lessons for high school students as well. The new activities build upon our existing lessons for middle school girls customized for a teen audience. These lessons are focused on teaching young Latinas in grades 9-12 about how they can use media as a tool for confidence building and creative self-expression. These lessons are bilingual and bi-cultural and focused on journalism writing, art, photography, audio production, film making, desktop publishing and web design. The Girl Empowerment Team will continue to play a key role in future improvements and advancements expansion for this initiative. Our VISTA Member also assisted our volunteer recruitment efforts by developing marketing strategies, creating volunteer promotional materials and advertising our volunteer opportunities. She has brought in numerous new volunteers to assist in various aspects of our organization. She has organzed volunteer information sessions and oriented new volunteers. She has recruited volunteers to take on leadership roles in our Girl Empowerment Team. She has also aided our efforts to recruit volunteers to serve as Club Leaders to lead our weekly media enrichment clubs. Thanks to her efforts, we have launched a pilot test of 8 after-school clubs led by our Volunteer Club Leaders. We recruited volunteer Club Leaders, hosted a training session, kicked off new clubs and hosted on-going training and provided technical support for the clubs. Our VISTA member was instrumental in guiding this process. Through our pilot group of volunteer Club Leaders, we are discovering areas for improvements and elaborating on our Volunteer Club Leader manual and training module. This pilot test helped us identify areas for future improvements and establishing the framework for future expansion. Thanks to the support of the Transmission Project and our VISTA member, we are continuing a series of volunteer-led media clubs for young Latinas and we are better prepared to expand the number of programs we offer in the near future using this volunteer model. Our VISTA Member has made tremendous strides in ensuring the sustainability of our project by cultivating a volunteer group that has taken on leadership roles in our Girl Empowerment Team to ensure the longevity of the project. The Latinitas team is prepared with the proper tools to streamline the training process, implement efficient and effective procedures, and properly equip future volunteers in taking on leadership roles. Our VISTA member has created tangible materials which will continue to be utilized as future resources. She has developed tools such as recruitment materials for our volunteers and updated training materials for our club leaders.






Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

Claudia Escobar Lopez
9/20099/2010

As part of the CTC VISTA Project, Latinitas would recruit a VISTA member to serve as an Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator. This position would assist with:
Primary Goals:
-organizing an advisory board that will develop a comprehensive curriculum guide with a series of media-based, enrichment activities for girls.
-coordinating a volunteer leadership team that will assist with future club leader recruitment, trainings and management
-developing training procedures and volunteer manuals to empower volunteer club leaders to guide girl empowerment activities
Secondary Goals
-creating a marketing plan to outline strategies for effectively recruiting volunteers, identifying strategic community partners and sponsors and beginning the initial phase of volunteer recruitment.

Throughout the project, the VISTA member will work directly with an advisory board and volunteers to develop a curriculum guides, club leader training manual, volunteer procedures and volunteer recruitment marketing plan. These tangible products will enable Latinitas to replicate our media-based, culturally-relevant, bilingual, girl enrichment programs into additional communities. Latinos make up about 15 percent of the U.S. population and are the largest and fastest growing population. Despite the growth and size of this population, very few programs exist nationally that focus specifically on this population. The tools developed in this project may serve as a model framework and curriculum to share with the field of Latina-focused girl empowerment programs nationally.

Claudia has organized recruitment efforts, orientation sessions and meetings to help build our advisory board. She has been instrumental in developing and documenting the procedures for effective volunteer training and management. She has developed an orientation and training module which we will utilize in preparing future volunteer club leaders for their role in leading multimedia clubs for girls. In addition, she has developed a comprehensive volunteer leader manual which clearly outlines the role, responsibilities, procedures and policies in the management of volunteer led clubs. The manual includes club leader job descriptions, club meeting outlines, attendance policies, dress code, code of behavior, classroom management tips, mentoring tips, recruitment tips, Internet safety guidelines, material checklists, equipment checkout procedures, attendance sheets, volunteer hour logs, club member evaluations, club fact sheets and other valuable tips on managing a media club for girls. Furthermore, our VISTA member has worked collaboratively with a team of volunteers to develop a new Club Leader Curriculum Guide building on our library of club lesson plans. Thanks to support from our VISTA Member, we now have over 100 multimedia lesson plans developed that we can implement in our multimedia clubs. These lessons are focused on teaching young Latinas in grades 4-8 about how they can use media as a tool for creative self-expression. These lessons are bilingual and bi-cultural and focused on writing, art, photography, audio production, film making, desktop publishing and web design. Our VISTA has also initiated a pilot test program training 4 volunteers to lead volunteer media clubs. She has recruited the volunteer club leaders, implemented and tested a club leader training session and provided technical support to our club leaders. The volunteer training module and curriculum guide has proven to work successfully with this group and our VISTA member is helping us lay the foundation to implement this program on a larger scale in the future.

Since our VISTA member is perfectly fluent in Spanish and English, she was able to assist us in translating numerous documents in our volunteer training manual as well as other materials for the public. We work with a largely Spanish-speaking population of recent immigrants, so her assistance in creating bilingual materials was a great asset in preparing all the needed documents for our volunteers to go out into the community to serve Spanish-speaking girls and families. In addition, our VISTA member developed a volunteer recognition procedures to assist in our volunteer retention efforts including creating volunteer certificates and awards, organizing volunteer appreciation events and developing a system for recognizing volunteers in our newsletter and special events.




Transmission Project