latinaThe RBR Latina Girls Group will have a video showcased in the second annual International Day of the Girl Celebration, which takes place on October 11 at the United Nations.  Pictured left to right are (standing):  Cynthia Gaspar, Pamela Avila, Katherine Hurtado, Jasmine Garcia, (sitting): Karla Williams, RBR SOURCE Clinician and Latina Girls’ Group advisor Marisol Mondaca, Jennifer Gonzalez, Lizsete Santamaria, Lizbeth Menez. All the girls are from Red Bank. (click to enlarge)

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

The second annual International Day of the Girl occurs on October 11, 2013 at the United Nations in New York City, with this year’s theme of “Innovating for Girls’ Education.” Red Bank Regional (RBR) is delighted to be part of this year’s celebrations, which will feature a video (which can be viewed here on YouTube) created by the school’s Latina Girls’ Group.

RBR thus joins thousand of other girls from around the globe whose voices will be heard on empowering women to improve their lives through education. The Day of the Girl Summit is sponsored by 50 plus organizations, including UNICEF and UN Women.

The RBR Latina Group was founded six years ago through the school’s School Based Youth Services Program, the Source, to help Latina girls successfully transition from middle school to high school. It became so valuable to the girls, who found a safe place to support one another, that two groups now exist — one for freshman and one for upper classmen.

Junior Jennifer Gonzalez, who was interviewed by the NGO Working Group on Girls, a partner supporting the Day of the Girl Summit, remarked, “I explained that our group is about empowering women, that we are together and really trust each other.”

Jasmin Garcia adds, “I think it is great and so important that we all get to say what we feel and give each other advice.  We are all one happy family.  If someone cries, we all cry.”

Cynthia Gaspar adds, “The group is a safe place to come and talk about relationships, and family issues. And even though we are from many different places, like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, El Salvador, Chile etc, we find that we have the same interests and goals.”

One of those goals is higher education, which relates to the UN Day of the Girl Summit theme.  The girls have participated in a Brookdale summit on teenagers and support efforts to create scholarship opportunities to make higher education possible for their members.

Academy of International and Cultural Studies (AICS) lead teacher Rose Powers, who works with the group as a volunteer, submitted their application to the Working Group on Girls.

She states, “I knew they would be a good entry for the program since one of their important goals is to build self-confidence to pursue higher education and learn more about college pathways.”

Jennifer Gonzales, one of Mrs. Powers AICS students, aspires to become a reporter for Latinos Unidos, the Spanish language newspaper in Monmouth County and maybe ascend to working for Telemundo, the Spanish television network in America.

Karla Williams, who spends part of her school day at the county vocation program for dental assistants, plans to parlay those credits to Rutgers University in her quest to become a doctor. Jasmine Garcia, who is in RBR’s Early Child Development program, hopes to become a bilingual preschool teacher.

Source clinician Marisol Mondaca advises both high school groups, as well as two in the Red Bank middle school. She believes the popularity of the Girls’ Latina group relates to the unique place these girls occupy between two cultures — that of their heritage and their American home.

She states, “We are always encouraging the girls to become independent, to go on to college and live independently, while their immigrant families may prefer they pursue a more traditional extended family life. So we are helping them together to find a balance among these two worlds.”

She adds, “But you see they are hoping to go to college and they have big dreams.”

Theirs is a story similar to many other girls around the world who will speak out at the International Day of the Girl Summit, encouraged to improve their lives thorough education.

For more information on the upcoming United Nations Day of the girl, visit the Day of the Girl Summit website.