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Purpose & Goals

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As you may know, Latinas are the least likely of any group of women in the U.S. to complete a bachelor’s degree. As psychologists who provide therapy to CSUDH students, we often hear first-hand about the specific and unique challenges experienced by the Latina student that can interfere with educational success.  These include family and gender role conflicts, lack of role models, personal insecurities, and a lack of connection to the campus culture.  Many of our Latina students are the first in their families to attend college, which can contribute to feelings of isolation and social exclusion.  As Latinas ourselves, we can identify with the challenges of Latina students, and have made it our mission to provide supportive programs to address their needs.

In 2002, we attended the Latina Connection Conference, at CSU Long Beach.  The program, developed by Rosa Carrillo and Dr. Rosa Moreno-Alcaraz, was designed to offer support and encourage connections between Latina students and Latina faculty.   We left feeling inspired from our experience and eager to develop a similar event for our students.  In 2003, we developed Latinas Juntas (Spanish for “Latinas Together”), a day-long program that takes into consideration the cultural characteristics, values, and realities of the Latina student while promoting networking, mentoring and relationship-building to enhance their college experience.
Through fun and creative small and large group exercises, creative activities, and honest dialogue, Latinas Juntas creates a supportive community among Latina students, faculty and staff.  This is an annual program held every fall semester that hosts 50-85 Latina student participants and 15-20 Latina faculty and staff.  Our goals are to

  • Establish a supportive network of Latina students, faculty and staff to improve the students’ sense of connectedness to the campus
  • Provide support and validation of the Latina students’ life experience through exploring the role of culture and family in academic careers
  • Facilitate a dialogue about the obstacles and barriers to personal, social and academic success 
  • Empower and inspire Latina students by introducing them to Latina professionals, faculty and staff who can offer strategies and solutions to common challenges
  • Experience a day of cultural pride and celebrate the diversity of the Latina community  

To maintain the supportive network among students, we offer a weekly psychotherapy support group called Nosotras.  In addition, we hold mentoring mixers every spring semester.

 

 

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