Saturday, May 16, 2015 – Pasadena, CA
C/I Team Interactive Manager, Lidia Garcia was honored to present and speak at the 2015 Adelante Mujer Latina annual conference hosted by Pasadena City College.
Since 1995 the Adelante Youth Alliance (AYA) has served youth in the Los Angeles area by providing academic, leadership and professional development opportunities to Latino youth. In response to increased local youth violence and high school dropout rates, the AYA established the Adelante Academy and the Adelante! Mujer Latina and Adelante! Young Men College and Career Conferences. The mission of the AYA is to improve academic achievement, access to higher education, career readiness, and preparing youth to become leaders and role models for their families and communities. Each Adelante! conference serves over 2,000 students from over 65 local middle and high schools. The Adelante! conference is the only one of it’s kind in the United States and is making a tremendous impact on the academic opportunities and professional advancements of Latina youth.
Development Manager, Lidia Garcia attended her first Adelante! conference fourteen years ago as a freshman in highschool. This weekend she returned to the conference as a workshop presenter and closing ceremony Alumnae speaker. Lidia led a hands-on computer science workshop for 50 students, guiding them through a discussion of innovations in tech, technology and the community, and ways to address the issues of diversity in tech. All workshop participants completed the Hour of Code course and started the Codecademy HTML module.
During a guided brainstorm of way to use tech to solve community problems, our young women chose to address water conservation and litter/empty lots. As solutions, the young women wanted to design a product that could measure the amount of water used during activities such as showers and household chores. This way they could raise awareness within the community about water waste and help other become more cognisant of water usage. To address empty lots and litter, a photo GPS system tied to community activation and legislative attention was proposed. Empty lots could be cleaned up and serve as community gardens to additionally address issues of access to healthy foods and natural spaces.
In the afternoon, at the request of the AYA and Youth Advisory Board, Lidia addressed the entire Adelante! audience as a conference Alum. She spoke about her experience as an Adelante! student and the ways Adelante has made an impact on her current journey.
Lidia’s address is below:
Good Afternoon Ladies!
I hope you all had a very exciting, entertaining, and informative day!
Fourteen years ago, as a freshman at Pasadena High School and a student of the Puente program, I attended my very first Adelante Mujer Latina conference.
This conference not only inspired me, it also inspired my Mom to be involved with the conference and its growth.
In high school, I knew I’d go to college. I thought I knew what I’d study but like many college students will tell you, your major tends to change as we get to know ourselves.
I went to UC Riverside for undergrad and studied Psychology, ran track, was a personal trainer, and in a Sorority. Go Highlanders!
After graduation I took classes at Pasadena City College and ran track as a Lady Lancer and took extra classes to prepare myself for graduate school.
A year ago, I graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work, specializing in Social Enterprise Administration. Go Lions!!
I now live and work in New York City where I continue to run track and manage charity fundraising for a non-profit that introduces high school students to computer science education.
But all of that is just a small piece of who I am.
Adelante was incredibly important through my development but reached BEYOND academic and professional choices.
This conference has had a tremendous effect on my personal development and identity as a Latina. It has increased my sense of value and helped me to embrace my culture and worth, in work and academic spaces that CONTINUE to lack diversity and undervalue intelligent Latina leaders.
This conference showed me that there are other Latinas out there who fearlessly “walked the walk” and felt the same cultural isolation that I feel sometimes as a West Coast Chicana living in the Big Apple. Their perseverance and fearlessness gives me the power to keep growing and never give up.
I hope you will all walk fearlessly and continue to make a difference as the next generation of Latina Leaders!!
Gracias! Y sigue Adelante!
It was an honor to participate in the Adelante! Mujer Latina Conference and represent C/I in the process. It is incredibly important to encourage diversity in the tech sphere and increasingly important to inspire young Latinos- a group that is very quickly becoming the ethnic majority within the United States.
Espero que sigimos Adelante!
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