How to Become a Community Leader
When women enroll in our Adult Education Program at Adelante Mujeres, each woman comes in with a certain goal in mind. Maybe she wants to get her GED. Maybe she wants to learn English. Or maybe she wants more education so that she can better help her children with their homework.
What we provide women with, it’s more than GED classes. It’s more than ESL classes. It’s more than parenting classes and ESPERE forgiveness classes. While our Adult Education program provides all of that, there’s something else that our team continually teaches the women — and it’s vital to what Adelante Mujeres is all about: leadership training.
While leadership might not be at the top of her mind when a woman enrolls in our program, it is guaranteed that she will graduate the program as a strong community leader.
While more than 18% of the U.S. population is Latino, they are underrepresented in decision-making roles in our society. And Latina voices are missing from the discussion even more so.
These discussions that guide policies and legislation directly impact everyone’s lives, including Latinas. We want to give power to the Latina voice so that she can be part of the decision-making process that so greatly affects her, her family, and her community.
So, how are we tackling this? Leadership training. We are giving Latina women, who come from families facing economic disparities, the leadership training they need in order to become strong leaders in their community.
Our staff carefully intertwines leadership training into every activity and every class. Many of the women have never spoken in front of a group of people, so we start there. By taking a topic and going around the room, giving every woman a chance to speak in front of everyone, confidence is gradually built.
THE FAIR SANAMENTE
Twice each year, the women are assigned a project to practice and hone their leadership skills: the Family Service Learning Project. The women are tasked with researching, planning, coordinating, and executing a service-learning project.
This year, the women were so inspired by their experience with ESPERE, our class on forgiveness and peaceful reconciliation, that they were interested in providing similar resources for the entire community.
“We chose the theme democratically,” explains Alexandra Nahill, Adelante's Family Engagement Coordinator. “We investigated, presented the themes and voted for the best.”
The theme would be “Fair Sanamente”, which is a play on words in Spanish and translates to “Healthy Mind and Body Fair”. The women and their families came together and organized a community event to be remembered.
While it poured rain outside, the school gymnasium filled with families. The space was lined with vibrant and interactive tables which drew in adults and children….
The kids had a blast…
There was even ZUMBA thanks to our stellar teacher, Hortensia!
And the exciting raffle was enjoyed by all…
The women proved that they have the power to lead. In fact, on top of organizing a stellar community event, the women collected $500 at the event that they donated to the Adelante Mujeres Capital Campaign. Families learned about healthy eating, mental health, and fun was had by all. The room radiated with that warm fuzzy feeling of “community”.
For the women in our Adult Education program, this community event is just the beginning. After they graduate from our program, each woman embarks on her own path. She makes it her own. Some women get involved with the school board. Others become activists or community organizers. The possibilities are many. And that’s what empowerment does — it opens endless amounts of doors.
You can give the gift of life-changing support to women in our Adult Education program.
Every gift provides empowerment through education, enterprise, and leadership training.