April 21, 2008 at 2:04 am Leave a comment

Latinitas inspires future Latina journalists throughout the state

Lizette Romero / Adelante
Volume II, Issue 1 (Fall 2007)

Establishing Latinitas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to entertaining, empowering and inspiring young Latinas, is much like the way Alicia Rascon describes her experience at sky diving.

“It’s always the first plunge that’s the most difficult. But once you float down, it’s scenic and peaceful,” said Rascon, co-founder and executive director of Latinitas.

What began as a school project in her “Latinos and Media” class in Spring 2002 at the University of Texas has flourished into the statewide acclaimed organization it is today.

Rascon has two feet on the floor and can take a stable view of what she, co-founder Laura Donnelly, and more than 200 volunteers have accomplished. Annually, Latinitas magazine reaches 100,000 girls across the country and 1,000 through its media enrichment programs in Central Texas.

Latinitas’ organizational structure is a two-column effort concentrating on empowering Latina youth through media and technology. This is successful through a bilingual webzine, LatinitasMagazine.org, and several enrichment programs, Rascon said.

The webzine provides real-life stories and gives interns and young Latinas a chance to have their work published. Latinitas conducts girl-oriented camps, mentor projects and workshops aimed at cultivating the next generation of Latino reporters. It has after-school programs at six local sites and meets with girls on a weekly basis, teaching them about radio, video, photography, web design, writing and desktop publishing.

Latinitas also provides several ways for college students to gain hands-on experience. Students can intern for college credit or join the Latinitas College Council on campus.

“I love the work and volunteering. It’s inspired me to move toward a social work degree,” said Carmen Rodriguez, President of Latinitas College Council. “Latinitas took me under their wing and Laura and Alicia are incredible mentors who offer great support and encourage me.”

Awarded “The Best Aspiring Journalists” by the Austin Chronicle in 2004 and “La Luz de la Comunidad/The Light of the Community” by The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2005, it appears as though Latinitas is enjoying the view from atop.

Entry filed under: Fall 2007 issue. Tags: , , , .


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