ojovivo

PR Karma Points: Creating a space where youth can flourish!

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2009 at 2:11 am
Jazmin, 26, Professional Bellydancer and Teacher

Jazmin, 26, Professional Bellydancer and Teacher

After a busy spring term, I planned on having a relaxing summer; however, the frustration and disappointment of a fellow journalism student, Briselda Molina, changed my plans. I listened to her story and without thinking twice, I offered her my help, so she wouldn’t quit her dream of becoming a journalist.

Briselda Molina's picture

Briselda Molina's picture

Molina, a 26 year-old woman from Acapulco, Guerrero, is the oldest sibling of a humble family of four children and the first generation to attend college. As many Latino children immigrants, when Molina was enrolled in high school she hardly spoke any English. Nonetheless, her desire to acquire higher education was strong.

For the last four years, Molina has been a full-time employee at Sprint and a part-time journalism student at the University of Oregon. However, this summer everything changed when the Sprint store she managed went out of business. She lost her job, she doesn’t have enough money to pay for her last three terms of college.

Historically, education has been considered the path that empowers individuals to an upward occupation and economic and social stability in this country and in any country. But in truth, Hispanic youth in the U.S. are much more likely to drop out of high school and complete college at much lower rates than other ethnic groups.

According to the U.S. Census of 2008, the estimated number of Hispanic individuals living in the United States has increased to 46.9 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. However, the “New Report Highlights HIS Presidential Perspectives” written by Angela Provitera McGlynn, a retired professor of psychology at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, New Jersey, reveals that “the distressing factor related to higher education is the Hispanic lag in degree complementation. Less than 10 percent of 25-to 29 year old Latinos have earned a bachelor’s degree.”

Thousands of faces came to my mind and supporting her cause became my flag. Not willing to let Molina be another drop out, an initiative of organizing three cultural fundraising events was born. A wrinkled piece of paper that held all our ideas was my material to create a media kit. Thanks to my J440 class, this was not the first one I had to do.

Armed with faith, we sent bilingual media kits of our first event “Tropical Thunder” to local organizations, businesses and media outlets. The Tropical Thunder experience featured an international potluck, live music, a fashion show by local designers and a fire dancing performance.

Adelante Latino Release Party

Adelante Latino Release Party

A week later, we began to feel the support and collaboration from friends and family. They liked the idea, but we didn’t have sponsors. Two weeks later we received calls from some Latino business leaders including the Chair of the Latino Business Network, Nelson Rosales, the Spanish Radio station La X. Even the article I wort for for the event’t media kit was published  in the Adelante LatinoMagazine, which is the first monthly bilingual magazine Lane County, published our story.  Three weeks later , young local artists and designers from Saturday Market and other Latino organizations and small-entrepreneurial ventures including el  Huerto de la Familia, la Plaza Latina, Duo Piel Canela, Sisa Achik Jewelry Art Medicine, All together Now and Vedura  have joined to support Molina’s cause.

Firedancer

Firedancer

It was great! Not only because we raised $600 –already deposited into her account at the University of Oregon– but also because unconsciously we have created a space where young local artists, performers and entrepreneurs can promote their work.

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Huerto de la Familia

Amazingly, helping Molina’s case has fulfilled me in different aspects because it has given me confidence and the opportunity to unite my local community through my personal and professional efforts to relieve Molina’s individual chaotic efforts.

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Briselda Molina and Erika Lincango at the "Tropical Thunder"

Today, we are still far from our economic goals, but with the love and support of our contributors, we are hosting our second event on Nov. 1, 2009, at Danebo Elementary School.

The “Not Too Spooky Halloween: A ‘Dia de los Muertos’ Celebration” is a family fundraising event focused on creating a space for a cultural encounter to happen. It is an open invitation to our community to get together and honor our loved ones. This bilingual experience will reunite prayers, music, traditional day of the dead food, dance and oral traditions of diverse cultures that have been carried on through legends, myths and tales since the time of the Aztecs, Mayas, Toltecs, Incas, Celts and Ancient North American tribes.

There are many ways to support Molina’s cause. If you are interested in supporting her, please contact me at elincang@uoregon.edu

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