Internet Safety and Digital Literacy in Latino Youth

Posted on 08/10/2022 @ 04:00 AM

Tags: Technology

By Priscilla Garcia

The Conexiones program came to life in 2019 when LULAC wanted to address the barriers that low-income youth come across with technology in their communities. The program provides youth between the ages of 14 to 18 with basic computer literacy skills and teaches them how to manage the internet in a safe and ethical way while developing their digital skills. In today’s world students are using the internet everyday, no matter their age, to complete their school work, participate in classes, or just for fun. Internet safety and digital literacy skills are essential now more than ever so students can know how to protect themselves online and how to safely navigate the internet.

LULAC knows just how important internet safety is in our community. Young students who are not familiar with safety are more open to sharing confidential information such as health, identity, and bank information. LULAC has been at the forefront for technology access through LULAC’s technology centers and programs that has serviced over 250,000 people across the country and Puerto Rico since 2007.

For their second year of their partnership with T-Mobile, LULAC is welcoming six sites in DC, California, Texas, and Virginia for the 2022 Conexiones program cycle. LULAC and T-Mobile’s commitment to address the digital divide, expand awareness of internet safety, and highlight the benefits and opportunities to connect to the internet will empower students to create positive technology habits that will be used in everyday activities.

According to a 2020 Student Research Foundation Report, despite having similar STEM interests and aspirations as their non-Hispanic white and Asian peers, Hispanic high school students were less likely to have internet access and digital preparation. Due to this, they also enrolled in fewer STEM classes, received lower grades, had lower confidence levels, and planned to attend community college, as opposed to a four-year school, at higher rates. The Conexiones program will also promote exposure to STEM fields of study and careers in an effort to increase students' interest in occupations related to STEM. Some of the topics that will be covered in the curriculum include privacy and security, digital footprints and reputation, self image and identity, copyright, relationships and communication, information literacy, combating cyber bullying, and internet safety.

Our 2022 Conexiones Awardees:

Council 4614-Richmond, VA

Council 4614 has partnered with Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, VA to bring the Conexiones program to their Robotics Program. The Richmond Region LULAC Council 4614 is strategically aligned and purposefully driven to be a strong catalyst in regional efforts to improve the lives of students by developing and implementing high-quality, workforce-relevant STEM+C (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics + computer science) programs, curricula, and resources  which spark interest in students and develop competencies they need for STEM+C studies and careers.

Council 11125-Washington, DC

Council 11125 will conduct programming for Conexiones at E.L Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, DC. They plan on using Conexiones to help their students learn more about STEM careers and other opportunities in the technology sector that they may not be aware of. Their council has extensive experience working with local nonprofits and federal government agencies through past events and initiatives that they have hosted for their youth council members.

Council 2848- Huntington Beach, CA

Council 2848 in Huntington Beach, CA will be providing the Conexiones program for the students at Gilbert High School. They will implement the curriculum and introduce the digital world to the students in safe and ethical ways. They hope to increase their positive technology habits that are used in everyday activities and expand awareness of internet safety.

Council 22424- College Station, TX

Council 22424 is hopeful that the quality of education that many Bryan ISD families rely on can not only be improved, but maintained at the higher standard of excellence that has been striven for over the past decade and more. They also believe Conexiones will set up a strong foundation for their LULAC council to establish itself in their community to continue bringing these opportunities to their fellow community members and key stakeholders.

Council 4297- Killeen, TX

Council 4297 hopes the Conexiones program will support their mission by ensuring their future generation is exposed to resources to help them move  forward on their educational path. Unlike the other grant recipients, the program will strive to make an impact while the students are still in middle school. Their council can help shape the educational path of these students by exposing them to STEM education, digital skills, and internet safety early on in their academic career.

Mi Familia Vota Education Fund- Houston, TX

The Mi Familia Vota Education Fund has partnered with Dr. Sonia Noyola, a teacher at Northside High School, in Houston, TX to bring this program to her students. She has participated in the 2021 cycle and is hopeful that their second year will help  engage more of her youth community and expose them to more opportunities. She plans on teaching her students the curriculum and having them engage with the younger middle school students by teaching them internet safety through their own words.

 To learn more about the Conexiones program visit

Men, It’s Time to Take Charge of Your Health

Posted on 05/27/2022 @ 08:17 AM

Tags: Health

By All of Us Research Program

It’s obvious that men face challenges from the health conditions that can affect everyone because health varies from person to person and across genders. Around the world, men die younger than women and have higher rates of heart disease, cancer, HIV, and obesity. Health inequalities like these are further increased among men of color.

But why? There are some preventable factors that contribute to poor health. Compared to women, men are more likely to have unhealthy behaviors, like having a poor diet, and are less likely to seek medical care. According to a recent survey, only 50% of men reported getting regular checkups. Nearly two-thirds of the male respondents said they avoid going to the doctor for as long as possible and 37% said they have withheld information from their doctors.

Differences in behavior like these are increased among men of color due to challenges such as accessing quality health care and lack of trust in the healthcare system as a result of past medical racism. Factors like these suggest why many men of color have been left out of the health research used to create prevention and treatment strategies for many diseases. As a result, we know less about their health and ways to provide them with the best care.

The All of Us Research Program wants to change this.

Created by Congress in 1994, Men’s Health Week aims to increase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment in men. Getting regular checkups, as well as screenings for things like cholesterol and prostate or colorectal cancer, can help catch small problems before they become bigger. It’s never too late to start taking charge of your health. A simple way you can do so is by participating in the All of Us Research Program.

The All of Us Research Program aims to build a health database with information from one million or more people who reflect the rich diversity of the United States. By studying things like our lifestyle and environment, researchers can learn more about why certain people stay healthy and others, like men of color, have an increased risk of illnesses. What they learn may lead to new discoveries like better tools for detecting health conditions and encouraging healthy habits.

Learn more about how the All of Us Research Program is building a better future of health for all of us and how you can take part at

Breaking News! Latina LEADS students take a behind-the-scenes look at the world of broadcasting

Posted on 05/27/2022 @ 08:04 AM

Tags: Empowerment, Women, Technology

By Melissa Cossio, LULAC Community & Workforce Development Programs Manager

People rely on news broadcasts each and every day and oftentimes plan their lives around the information they receive. They may select their outfit for the day based on a meteorologists’ report of the weather, take wellbeing advice from a healthcare professional being interviewed by an anchor, or plan a visit to a new restaurant or business being reported on by a journalist. News broadcasting also plays a pivotal role in helping communities stay up-to-date with important local, national, and international events.

But how do these news stories reach you and your families to keep you informed? Hispanic middle school-aged girls in the Latina LEADS program are learning all about the world of broadcasting.

The Latina LEADS program initiative provides middle school-aged girls with a STEAM-focused curriculum with educational lessons, interactive activities, keynote speakers, leadership development, academic and career guidance, and more! The rigorous and engaging curriculum introduces students to the important role of the arts in STEM and delves deeper into lessons focusing on the fields of technology, engineering, broadcasting, and cybersecurity. Through this initiative, LULAC and Charter Communications work closely to empower students and support efforts to increase female, Hispanic representation in STEAM fields of study and careers.

In March 2022, Charter Communications, (NASDAQ:CHTR) a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 32 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand, generously hosted students from California, Florida, Ohio, and Texas for a virtual field trip where they joined Alex Stockwell, an anchor at the Spectrum News 1 location in Austin, TX for a behind-the-scenes tour around the studio. Students heard from professionals who work in front of and behind the cameras to make our newscasts possible every day. They learned about the important roles of meteorologists, broadcast engineers, producers, and senior managing editors.

After the tour, Emily Borchard, a meteorologist and traffic anchor with Spectrum News Austin and San Antonio, engaged students in a Q&A session where they learned more about her professional experience and role. Students asked thoughtful questions that gave them insight into how professionals collaborate as a team, work under pressure to meet tight deadlines, conduct reliable research and data collection, and use the latest technology in their roles. As an extension of this event, students engaged with a panel of broadcasting industry professionals during a second virtual field trip.

“I have learned a lot about STEAM and what it really means. Many speakers talk to us about our future and about interesting STEAM-related jobs they have,” states Katherine, a student from California, “before I joined the Latina LEADS program I was very unsure about my plans for the future. Hearing other Latinas really inspired me.”

Throughout the remainder of the program cycle, students will continue to participate in upcoming virtual field trip opportunities where they’ll hear from more role models and industry professionals in tech, engineering, and cybersecurity.

“I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity. I've learned a variety of topics and it’s helped me realize how many doors it can open for me and my future. Through the Latina LEADS program, I learned to grow in the path of engineering and gain more knowledge and comfortability with it. In addition to that, I've been opening doors for myself and getting more involved in engineering. I've been intrigued to even join my school's Robotics Team. This program has prepared me for my future because I've begun to speak with my parents and think about the career I want to have and what school I want to attend,” shares Aleyza, a student in the program.

To date, over 200 students across four states have been impacted by the Latina LEADS program. After completing the program, students report feeling more supported by the adults in their lives and demonstrated an increased interest in succeeding academically, attending college, and pursuing an education and career in the STEAM fields.

Learn more at

Latino Millennials Need to Get Smart on Social Security Benefits

Posted on 12/23/2021 @ 05:36 PM

Tags: Social Security

By Sindy Benavides, LULAC National CEO

It’s that time of the year where we start to worry about money. The year is ending with high credit card bills because of holiday spending and travel, and in four short months it will be tax time. As an immigrant mother, and Millennial, I understand my generation’s obsession with the daunting financial issues immediately before us, like paying monthly bills on top of high college debt, or trying to save for a first home.

However, in all the focus of now, younger adults often forget to plan for our long-term financial security, and this is especially important for US Hispanics who are often the generation navigating our parents' financial decisions. They are retiring soon, if they haven’t already, and there is a lot of critical information that our parents need to know about Social Security that we can help them understand.

Younger Latino adults need to get smart on programs like Social Security, and fast. The more education we have on how Social Security works, the more helpful we can be in enrolling our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and even ourselves, in this vital program. For Hispanics there is even more urgency because we outlive non-Hispanic whites but have lower income and education levels. This means that our families have less retirement savings, and are more at risk for living in poverty later in life.

A study by the Social Security Agency shows that Hispanics’ self-assessed knowledge of retirement-related financial issues is significantly lower than that of non-Hispanic whites. They feel less knowledgeable about how inflation affects retirement, how much to save for retirement based on longevity, how to invest their retirement money, and how to manage retirement spending. Not surprising, Spanish-speaking Hispanics feel even less knowledgeable than English-speaking Hispanics.

The same study showed that Latinos might have awareness that Social Security exists but they have less knowledge of how Social Security benefits work, which can hurt them if they do not make informed decisions. For example, if my mom doesn’t know that benefits are inflation-indexed and increase with delayed claiming, she could claim her benefits now but will lose a lot of money that she would have earned had she waited to do so. This decision could translate into her not having enough money later down the road in retirement, when she probably needs it most.

If the older members of our families are not empowered with the knowledge on how Social Security works to make optimal decisions, including our disabled family members who get Social Security, the burden of taking care of them will fall on us.

However, we have to get smart first and LULAC urges our community to use AARP’s simple online tools in English and Spanish to learn more. In AARP’s Social Security Resource Center, you can access tools and resources to estimate your family members’ retirement benefits, assess the financial impact of claiming benefits based on age, stay up-to-date on changes to benefits, and get answers to your questions.

I will admit that as a younger worker, I used to cringe when I looked at my Social Security contributions on my pay stub. This is because I, like many new members of the workforce, was not aware of the immediate benefit of the program in life right now. Many young workers do not realize that it is their grandparents’ and parents’ current Social Security checks that might be keeping the household afloat.

Social Security is not a government handout, it is our family member’s hard-earned money and its benefits are felt in our communities every day. If this program did not exist, the onus of taking care of the many needs of the older members of our families would be on us, and that is an expensive, and often impossible, task.

The research on financial literacy tells us that providing Hispanics with information on Social Security benefits will affect their benefit-claiming decisions in retirement planning. But before we put the burden of understanding how the program’s benefits work on the elderly members of our families, Latino Millennials owe it to our families who once took care of us, to get smart on Social Security so we can help them navigate the program, make optimal financial decisions, and in turn, empower ourselves as we plan our own retirement.


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