Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Latino Empowerment Project 2012

There were a couple reasons why I chose to live in Lancaster after my time abroad in Bolivia-
  1. Proximity to my lovely partner
Well, if I am being completely honest, that was my main and only reason.  The things you do for love after being abroad for a year! 

I had some friends in the Harrisburg/Lebanon area that I would be close to but I was fairly unfamiliar with Lancaster, PA. Despite this reality, I was excited to get to know the city and the culture.

I always knew somewhat that there is a large Latino community within Lancaster city but I wasn't fully aware of how prominently the culture is represented here. As my father puts it, "It is like little Puerto Rico here." But not only are there many Puerto Ricans that live in Lancaster, but also Mexicans, Central Americans, Dominicans, Cubans, and so on. And it would be ignorant of me to not make mention of the growing Nepali and Bhutanese population.  Lancaster is quite a diverse place for such a little city.  I also have to give a shout out to my hipster buddies who also populate the city!

Anyway, this is a place where I see myself staying and raising a family. I currently work within a community that reflects so much of my personal story and background.  And I hope to continue to work within that community.  

In order to be an effective leader, I am always looking for ways to continue informally educating myself by engaging with others from different backgrounds/perspectives, reading a book, or watching a documentary.  

Recently, I have the opportunity of being accepted into the Latino Empowerment Project of 2012 this spring.  There are eight sessions within this project where a small group of Latinos/Latinas will be meeting. The sessions start this Saturday and will occur every Saturday morning until April 21. We will be covering various topics of discussion while fulfilling the vision which is-

"While cultivating collaboration among Latinos, our vision is to inspire members to embrace their identity in developing habits of leadership so they can go forth in creating a platform for social change by engaging the broader community"

Not only I am exciting for my personal journey in what I will learn from these sessions, but also in networking and getting to know others from the community who have similar goals. 

I will definitely update on these sessions and on all that I am learning and exploring.  

Cheers to empowerment, leadership, and becoming an agent of change!

Friday, February 17, 2012

El se portó bien hoy!

Sometimes when I am frustrated with a project at work or stressing out about an upcoming deadline, I think about why I do the work I do- it is all for the kids! 

And then I start thinking about all of the cutest things kids say that often make me laugh hard so unexpectedly. One of my favorite kids in the program (I know- I shouldn't have favorites... but honestly,who doesn't?) is so comical.  Not only with what he says but his facial expressions that go along with it. 

He knows he is a comedy show-

One night when the kids were getting picked up after dinner, this particular student was sitting at his table right by the door. A mom had come in to pick up her two rambunctious sons.  This student stood up (mind you, he is only 6 years old), pointed at her son and with a really serious face said "El se portó bien hoy!" (Translation: He behaved well today!).  She just stared at him for a second and then started to laugh out loud. I think he might have tried to wink at her (although, I may just be thinking that in my head because it would have been hilarious). Anyway, it is the little events like that, that keeps you going when you forget why you do the work you do.

On another note- I got my modem and router this week in the mail so it is only a matter of time until I have internet at home again!