The Latina A.R.M.Y., Inc. was established as a volunteer based nonprofit organization in 2008 in response to the crisis state of young Latinas in the United States. According to statistics: Young Latinas have the highest attempted suicide rate of any US demographic – 1 in 7 tries to end her life and only 58% of Latinas graduate from high school. They have the highest female drop-out rate in the nation and 53% become pregnant or mothers before the age of 20.
Young Latinas are the fastest growing demographic in the US; according to the Pew Research Center* “the Latino population, already the nation's largest minority group, will triple in size and will account for most of the nation's population growth from 2005 through 2050. Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, compared with 14% in 2005.”
* U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050 by Jeffrey Passel and D'Vera John, Pew Research Center February 11, 2008
Shocked and disappointed that very little was being said or done to address these issues, founders Nancy Roldán Johnson and Carmen Marcano-Davis came together to create an effective program that helps young Latinas to make better choices and to become their own advocates. They realized that accomplished Latinas living in the United States are in a unique position to deliver a message of inspiration and hope to these young girls.
In 2012-2013, TLA received a generous 2-year grant from Hispanics in Philanthropy's Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities to strengthen our program model and ensure girls bond with school, develop pro-social norms and achieve a deeper sense of self. The result is our newly expanded program model, La Mariposa/The Butterfly. In June 2013, TLA delivered its first facilitator training to engage individuals to deliver our expanded workshop to girls throughout CT. The program is built on the foundational principals of effective programming for girls using a relational, trauma-informed, and strengths-based approach throughout the workshops. In addition, workshop facilitation methods and session activities were aligned with additional gender responsive, culturally competent and effective program elements. We also expanded the sessions offered to accommodate programmatic changes from the original two sessions to eight. This expansion allows girls more time to bond with one another, with the facilitators, and to naturally integrate the skills into their daily lives. The program is currently being evaluated to ensure facilitators were provided adequate training and the program is delivered as intended and with fidelity. This work will continue through the early part of 2014 and will be prepared for distribution thereafter.
In 2013, Eliana Nunez, who is employed at Cigna, joined our Board of Directors. She brings strong project management and health knowledge to our evolving organization. Rosalinda Garcia also joined our board in 2013. A native of the Texas-Mexico border region, Rosalinda is an Assistant Dean at Yale College and Director of Yale's Latino Cultural Center. Nancy Roldan Johnson, TLA's creator/executive director, transitioned from her role to serve as a board director. She supports the organization’s communications, technology/social media activities.
In February 2014, TLA hired a consultant to help develop a new strategic plan, to be completed in June.
The Latina A.R.M.Y. seeks support in the following areas:
The Latina A.R.M.Y. believes that all youth can succeed if they are given the support and the positive examples to help them make wise choices. As a volunteer and passion-driven organization, we want to make sure our youth have access to everyday role models they can learn from and aspire to be like.
Our La Mariposa/The Butterfly Program has a three-fold approach:
We introduce girls to caring, everyday role models for inspiration. Our facilitators are accomplished role models who play an important role in the effectiveness of our workshops. They are women who have powerful stories to share, as they themselves have decidedly faced difficult challenges - despite the odds- so that they may lead a better quality of life and add value to society. Stories are an effective way of connecting to others. Through our stories and exercises, our program can help address a current issue or an unhealthy trend a group may be experiencing. Because our creative approach is delivered by women who represent our participant's culture, there is a connection that helps girls relate to and internalize the lessons.
The Latina A.R.M.Y. is currently on a growth trajectory. However, we have several challenges to address including building our organization in order to have paid staff to effectively carry out our mission. Given the challenging economic climate, we are being creative in the way that we raise funding to deliver our program by eliminating smaller scale fundraising efforts and concentrating our time and energy on signature events and targeted fundraisers to engage current donors and attract new supporters.
Nancy has gained success in the fields of operations planning and business process management often becoming among the youngest and first Latinas to climb the corporate ranks in organizations such as: BIC Corporation, Playtex Apparel, and Warnaco, Inc. After thirteen dedicated years in the corporate world, Nancy decided to stay home to raise her children.
Ready to give back to her community, it was during her time at home that she created The Latina A.R.M.Y., Inc., (Accomplished Role models Motivating Young Latina). For her work with The Latina A.R.M.Y., Inc., Nancy has been honored as a 2008 Woman of Distinction by the Connecticut Girl Scouts of the USA, she was featured in the November 2008 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine as a winner of their first-ever Women Rule! leadership contest as a future leader who is changing the world, and she was named winner of the 2009 New England Region Soroptimist International “Woman Making a Difference” award, an honor given at the international level to women such as Princess Diana, former child actor and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, and Philippines President Corazon Aquino.
Nancy is passionate about her work as an activist and travels extensively to introduce The Latina A.R.M.Y. to other communities and to teach people how they can begin to effect positive change.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Educate a child and you change a community. For the child, a good education means better career opportunities and higher lifetime earnings. College graduates enjoy better health and are more inclined to volunteer and vote. For the community, supporting our youths’ educational goals results in a stronger society.
When families, schools and communities take the view that children and youth are valued and respected assets to society, they necessarily support environments that nurture youth development. Children raised to embrace positive social values, to seek self-understanding, and to value their self-worth grow to become community-minded young adults with a sense of belonging and a belief in their resiliency. See how you can help our community's children grow into tomorrow's leaders.
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