LULAC and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Partnership

Posted on 11/16/2021 @ 01:15 PM

Tags: Health

By Jennifer Reyes, Health Program Coordinator

LULAC is dedicated to health equity among the Latino community. That is why we launched our Latinos Living Healthy initiative to discuss the health issues that impact our community including tobacco-use, obesity, HIV/AID, and lack of representation in clinical research. LULAC’s plan is to address these health inequalities by providing educational resources, hands-on training, bilingual guidance, and webinars.

This year, LULAC began partnering with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to address the impact tobacco use has on the Latino community. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Because ninety percent of adult smokers begin this deadly addiction as teenagers or earlier, youth are critical and powerful voices in the fight against tobacco. Through our partnership, LULAC hopes to inspire Hispanic youth and parents to learn more about the importance of being tobacco-free and aid families to build healthy habits to prolong their health.

LULAC and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids created a toolkit of curated guidance and resources for Latino youth and communities. The toolkit includes relevant background information on the tobacco industry’s targeting of Latino communities, tobacco products and use, health impacts of tobacco, scenarios on saying no, and messaging to encourage others to avoid tobacco. Check out the toolkit and learn more here: LULAC.org/livetobaccofree

Despite reductions in smoking prevalence achieved since the first Surgeon General’s report on the consequences of smoking in 1964, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year, and is a major risk factor for the four leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke. More than 43,000 Hispanics are diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer every year and more than 18,000 die from tobacco-related cancer each year. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanic men and the second leading cause among Hispanic women

 

Over 1.1 million middle and high school students still smoke. Nationwide, 5.8 percent of high school students and 2.3 percent of middle school students currently smoke. The most popular tobacco products among high schoolers are e-cigarettes. About 18.9% of Hispanic high school students reported using e-cigarettes and 23.3% report being current users of any tobacco product. Continuing a long tradition of designing products that appeal explicitly to new users, tobacco companies in recent years have significantly stepped up the introduction and marketing of flavored other tobacco products, particularly e-cigarettes and cigars, as well as smokeless tobacco and hookah.Tobacco companies market products in many kid-friendly flavors such as gummy bear, berry blend, chocolate, peach, cotton candy, strawberry, and grape. Flavored tobacco products play a key role in enticing new users, particularly kids, to a lifetime of addiction. This growing market for flavored tobacco products is undermining the nation’s overall progress in reducing youth tobacco use. 

 

Tobacco use and nicotine, found in commercial tobacco products, have serious impacts on mental and physical health.  Nicotine reaches the brain 10 seconds after entering your body and can have adverse effects on the developing brains of young people. Tobacco use can lead to memory and attention issues, stress, anxiety, and mood swings in young people. 

 
On October 14, 2021, LULAC hosted a virtual workshop with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Director of Youth Advocacy, Gustavo Torrez. During this session, Gustavo discussed the effects of tobacco use on the physical and emotional health of young people as well as the impacts of tobacco use in the Latino community. 
 

If you wish to learn more about tobacco and LULAC’s partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids please visit LULAC.org/livetobaccofree. Stay tuned for our future events!

 
Watch the Smoking, Vaping and Your Health webinar with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids on YouTube
 

The Economy After a Pandemic: Establishing Latina Entrepreneurs in America

Posted on 10/15/2021 @ 09:15 AM

Tags: Empowerment, Women, Coronavirus

By Priscilla Garcia, Economic Empowerment Program Coordinator

COVID-19 impacted industries and the economy differently and the effects are everlasting. According to UnidosUs, the unemployment rate amongst Latinas in April of 2020 was 20.2% and a 30% loss in Latina-Owned businesses compared to 20% amongst all overall businesses. Latinas were one of the hardest hit demographics by the pandemic, they were the ones most likely to face food and housing insecurities and income losses. In order to help Latina entrepreneurs become successful in their fields, they need the tools necessary on how to run successful and sustainable businesses.

In February 2021 it was reported that there are one million fewer Latinas back in the workforce even though jobs have been opening back up again. 37% of Latinas have reported that the pandemic had a tremendous impact on their finances and still have not been able to recover. Post-pandemic LULAC is aiding in helping Latinos across the country recover from the effects of COVID-19 and aid those who want to take this opportunity to establish their own businesses and aid in stimulating the economy.

In 2021, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), in partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded 6 new sites in the first phase of the Latina Entrepreneur Academy (LEA). LEA provides disadvantaged women the skills and resources necessary to be successful entrepreneurs. The academy will provide a series of informational sessions on various topics related to establishing and sustaining a small business: how to build a business plan, budgeting, marketing, networking, enhancing investor strategies, etc, that will better prepare women entering the business arena. Through this initiative, LULAC hopes to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and provide support to driven Latinas who seek to launch and/or expand business endeavors.

LEA is currently in its third year of programming.Since its inception, LEA has grown tremendously. With so many young Latina entrepreneurs wanting to participate, the program has had to introduce a second phase to meet the needs of so many willing contenders that will take new applications in the Spring of 2022.

A total of 655 Latina entrepreneurs have participated in its 14 academies. At the end of the academy the participants are given the opportunity to compete in a competition amongst their peers for a chance to win some seed money to establish their small businesses. The following businesses have been awarded a total of $6,000 in 2020 to help them succeed as a small business.

Nancy Flores- Austin, TX-
At the end of the academy Nancy’s goal was to open her own digital media company offering representation and coverage of Latinx community news and culture in the Austin, TX area. She wanted a digital media company that would create a community and sense of belonging to allow for those represented to become engaged and involved in local issues and community.

Aura I. Aráuz- Germantown, MD-
House Delikatessen House Delikatessen is a family owned and operated business focused on offering delicatessen products that are high quality, hand crafted and have exceptional flavors. Aura is dedicated to keeping up with the demand fromtheir customers and was planning on expanding her business to offer more products from specialized suppliers.

Trina Price- Austin, TX 3rd place $500-
PEB Trina’s business is PEBSKY Staffing Services, (PSS) a Professional Employer Organization that acts as a co-employer in the hiring process for small/mid-size companies and remote workers. PEBSKY Staffing Services came into existence when Trina was a full-time college student, full-time worker, full-time single parent.

To learn more about Coca-Cola and LULAC’s partnership visit www.lulac.org/academy.

Latina LEADS Empowers Latinas to Pursue STEAM Education and Careers

Posted on 08/25/2021 @ 11:45 AM

Tags: Technology, Education

By Melissa Cossio

LULAC recognizes that it is critical to empower youth and create a pipeline for Latinas to pursue STEAM college degrees and careers to reduce the economic and educational disparities that are all too prevalent in our communities.

STEM workers are enjoying significantly higher median annual wages than others in non-STEM occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in STEM occupations were earning a median annual wage of $89,780, as compared to workers in non-STEM occupations earning $40,020 in 2020. Not only are STEM occupations amongst the highest paid jobs, they are also some of the fastest growing industries. STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8% from 2019 to 2029, as compared to 3.4% for non-STEM occupations.

Although women across the United States have made significant strides in education and economic security, statistics show that Hispanic women still lag behind compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts. Even within the STEM fields, research finds significant pay gaps across gender and racial and ethnic lines. According to a report published in 2021 by the Pew Research Center, the median earnings of women in STEM occupations are about 74% of men’s median earnings in STEM. Hispanic women’s median annual earnings stand at $57,000 as compared to White men’s median annual earnings of $90,600. Furthermore, the National Science Foundation found that while women comprise 25% of the science and technology workforce, Hispanic women represent only 3% of this workforce.

In order to prepare our young women to break into in-demand careers, we must start early. This means promoting better career opportunities through education and mentoring at a young age.

Adding the “Arts” to STEM education is creating new opportunities by connecting the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics together with arts practices and elements. STEAM education is an approach to learning that helps solve real-world problems and drive innovation. STEAM teaches students to take thoughtful risks, think critically about how to solve a problem, embrace teamwork and collaboration, and be creative.

LULAC and Spectrum, part of Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR), a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator, developed the Latina LEADS (Leadership Entrepreneurship Academia Development Series) program. This robust and impactful program for Hispanic middle school-aged girls aims to increase their exposure to STEAM fields through workshops, interactive STEAM activities, keynote speakers, job shadowing, academic and career guidance, and more. The program curriculum features lessons in technology, engineering, cybersecurity, and broadcasting.

The 2019 program pilot cycle featured three (3) sites in Austin, TX who served 100 students. After completing the program, students reported 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. After participating, 100% of students now feel it is important to graduate from high school, and 95% now believe it is important for women to be in the STEAM fields.

LULAC and Spectrum are welcoming eight (8) sites for the 2021-2022 Latina LEADS program cycle. Learn more about each site below:

San Benito County LULAC Council #2890 - Hollister, CA
San Benito County LULAC Council #2890 believes it is highly imperative that young Latinas are supported with the opportunity to advance their knowledge in STEAM. These next generational leaders must know how important they are to our community and the country. They seek to serve Latinas with 21st century skills in growing demand and hope to encourage academic achievement, strategic and critical thinking, and an understanding of the digital world.

LULAC Women’s Council of Florida #7269- Bartow, FL
LULAC Women’s Council of Florida #7269 identified a great need for STEM education programming within the Polk County Schools and community in Florida. The Latina LEADS program will open their minds and the doors to numerous avenues for young girls, allowing them the opportunity to grow and foster their future careers both academically and professionally. Their vision for this program is not only to educate, but inspire. A key ingredient in their own council’s mission.

LULAC Council #39000 - Dayton, OH
LULAC Council #39000 wants to ensure Hispanic students in Ohio have access to quality and enriching STEAM opportunities to help them dream big and reach high for their own future and career goals. They are highlighting the importance of early academic intervention to support the development of lifelong learners and the future STEAM labor force of Ohio.

Latinitas - Austin, TX
Latinitas is dedicated to empowering all girls to innovate using media and technology, providing direct digital media and technology training and esteem-boosting services to 3,000 girls and teens across Texas annually. Their goal of cultivating a pipeline from the classroom to the technology workspace is achieved through Latinitas’ digital media+tech+culture formula that builds community and inclusivity.

SMU LULAC Council #4277 - Dallas, TX
Southern Methodist University (SMU) LULAC Council #4277 is empowering the next generation of Latina STEAM leaders by increasing their exposure to college and the STEAM fields. They believe that by providing students with experiences in STEAM they can spark an interest that a student may have not discovered otherwise. This exposure lets students discover new fields beyond the traditional career paths they are accustomed to hearing about.

Fab Lab El Paso - El Paso, TX
Fab Lab El Paso is providing Latina students in the El Paso and Greater El Paso area with workshops in critical 21st-century skills such as 3D printing, virtual reality, robotics, computer coding, and more through a PBL (project-based learning) model. They are an important education innovation advocate in the El Paso region and play a critical role in helping El Paso students access career pathways in technology fields.

LULAC Herencia Council #4297 - Killeen, TX
LULAC Herencia Council #4297’s mission is to inspire, nurture, and support the educational attainment of members of the Hispanic community and elevate those in need while fostering leadership to do the same for future generations. They are providing quality, meaningful programming for students in the Killeen area. The Latina LEADS program’s curriculum will reach at-risk Latinas who would normally not have access to STEAM programming outside of school instruction.

LULAC Concilio Zapatista #4383 - San Antonio, TX
LULAC Concilio Zapatista #4383 has partnered with the Brentwood STEAM School of Innovation with the mission “to build capacity in their students and staff, the next generation of leaders and explorers, using innovative STEAM practices to spark their learning to ensure they are globally competitive and armed with the tools and confidence to own their futures.”

Learn more about the Latina LEADS program at LULAC.org/LatinaLEADS.

Sources [i] www.bls.gov/emp/tables/stem-employment.htm
[ii] www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/04/14/6-facts-about-americas-stem-workforce-and-those-training-for-it/

Increasing Digital Literacy Skills & Internet Safety for Latino Students

Posted on 08/17/2021 @ 12:15 PM

Tags: Technology, Education

By Melissa Cossio and Priscilla Garcia

With technology becoming more present in our lives, Latinos must know how to take advantage of its benefits. In 2019, a study found Latinos are behind the national average at internet adoption compared to their white counterparts. Only 61% of Hispanics reported having a broadband connection at home, compared to 79% of their white counterparts. A lack of internet access can result in the loss of employment opportunities and educational success. During the past year, a significant number of Latino students across the country attended classes virtually, and those without access to the internet or internet literacy skills have suffered academically.

Now more than ever, internet safety and digital literacy skills are essential to be a responsible digital citizen and protect your privacy online. LULAC acknowledges the critical role that internet safety has in protecting the community. Latinos who are not familiar with safety are vulnerable 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.

In 2019, LULAC created the Conexiones program 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. Workshops focus on topics such as technology, digital citizenship, how to use the internet for career readiness, privacy and security, and cyberbullying.

During the pilot cycle, 95 students participated in the program of which 73% stated they were able to take the lessons learned in the workshops and apply them to their everyday lives, and 92% were interested in pursuing a STEM career after graduating from high school. Youth familiar with technology will have safer internet habits and be less likely to fall behind in school.

In partnership with T-Mobile, LULAC is welcoming five sites in Arizona, Florida, New York, Texas, and Virginia for the 2021 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.

The Conexiones program will also promote exposure to STEM fields of study and careers in an effort to increase the pipeline for students pursuing STEM-related occupations. According to a Pew Research Center report published in April 2021, Latinos are underrepresented among both STEM college degree graduates and STEM workers. Hispanic workers account for 17% of the total workforce across all occupations but only 8% of the STEM workforce, compared to their White counterparts who make up 63% of the total workforce and 67% of the STEM workforce. To increase the representation of Latinos in STEM industries, Conexiones is connecting students with STEM professionals who are serving as role models.

2021 Conexiones Awardees

Richmond Region LULAC Council #4614 - Richmond, VA

Richmond Region LULAC Council #4614 serves the Latino community in their city as well as the surrounding counties in the region. They focus their work on improving the education of Latino students and this year they are focusing on increasing Latino representation in local and state leadership roles while also organizing child center activities that encourage Latino students to continue their education. They have partnered with the Tuckahoe Middle School of Henrico County Public schools to be a strong catalyst in regional efforts to improve the lives of students by developing and implementing high level, futuristic STEM courses, curricula, programs and resources for students which spark interest and develop competencies needed for STEM studies and careers.

Northside High School - Houston, TX

Northside High School’s mission is to promote student creativity, problem solving, resiliency and employability skills through real world, hands-on, college and career readiness community service projects. Their sponsor is also the media club sponsor who has spearheaded and/or assisted the school with grant writing efforts (and included students in the grant writing and implementation process). Allowing students to proactively research grants applicable to their projects and in turn not only apply but to build social capital. They plan on incorporating the topics that students are already learning about with the curriculum for Conexiones.

LULAC WOMEN'S COUNCIL OF FLORIDA #7269 - Bartow, FL

LULAC Women's Council of Florida #7269 caters to the needs of women within their community. Their purpose is to help advance in women’s issues and see their progress. Their vision for this initiative is based solely on the needs lacking within the Polk County Schools and community for young aspiring Latinas. The Conexiones Program will not only open minds, but doors to numerous avenues for these young boys and girls allowing them the opportunity to grow and foster their future careers both academically and professionally. Their vision for this program is not only educational but inspirational. A key ingredient in their council’s mission.

LULAC Council #23101-New York, New York

LULAC Council #23101 in New York will provide each student participating in the Conexiones program with guidance, knowledge, and confidence to work in the STEM/STEAM fields. With staff, resources and connections, the council will offer lessons on all 8 pillars of internet safety and digital literacy.

LNESC El Paso - El Paso, TX

The mission of LNESC El Paso serves low income families within their community and has had 10 years of experience with Technology Educational Programs. Their mission is to create lifelong learners and leaders within the Hispanic community. LNESC strives to provide the highest quality educational opportunities possible and seeks to develop America’s future workforce by effectively preparing young people for the jobs of the new economy. This will be their second year participating in the Conexiones program as they were one of the two sites in our 2020 pilot cycle.

Learn more about the Conexiones program at LULAC.org/Conexiones.

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