We love stories that inspire our nation’s groups – especially those that are catered to our Latina youth. What can we say? Our empowered community is a gift that keeps on giving.
This time, we’re highlighting a free mentoring program – for Latinas in sixth to twelfth grade – that’s positively serving its community. We’re talking about Ella Rises, a Latina-focused nonprofit located in Provo, Utah. Ella Rises was founded by Tijuana, B.C.-born Nadia Cates.
In a recent profile with a local media outlet, the program’s managing director, Claudia Barillas, talked about the inspiration behind the mentorship that’s reportedly grown almost twice its size since its initiation in October 2020.
“For all girls, for all teenagers, these years are crazy. They’re trying to figure out who they are. But as Latina girls — a lot of them are first or second generation — it’s even harder,” Barillas told KSL.com.
Why This Mentoring Program is Important
She continued talking about the extra challenges Latinas face on a daily basis. “They’re navigating the school system on their own, and a lot of the parents in our community don’t speak English, and so they can’t really help our girls.”
In the past two years, the program has added to its innovative curriculum. Currently, the nonprofit includes workshops on topics of art, where the program’s artists “develop workshops to foster confidence, hope, and self-esteem by strengthening the participants’ ties to their cultural heritage;” STEM workshops to “ develop and guide participant inquiry, discussion, and critical thinking;” mental health, where they provide workshops with licensed professionals to teach their clients about emotional resilience skills; and even mariachi, which aims to “strengthen personal identity and creates generational and cultural connections,” per their official website.
The organization’s mission statement aims to inspire Latina youth with “hope, confidence, and purpose; to continue their education, become community leaders, and preserve their cultural heritage.”
How to Participate
How do they strive to do this? They create virtual and in-person workshops influenced by Hispanic/Latino heritage and administered by skilled Latina mentors and other role models.
“We believe Ella Rises will impact the lives of our participants, their families, and our communities with unity, bridging cultural differences, and an empowering cycle of progress,” the written statement reads.
For those interested in the program, registration for the 2022-2023 season is now open for applicants.