At our August Circle de Luz board meeting, we discovered that we are just 6 donors away from being able to offer 7 scholarships this fall to young Latinas. If you’ve been considering joining in the Circle de Luz effort, now is a perfect time to do it as we have to let the school know soon how many girls to nominate and we REALLY want to be able to support 7 girls.
Here’s the background on Circle de Luz:
Latinos have the highest drop out rate of all racial and ethnic groups in this country. A third of Latinas who dropped out cited pregnancy or marriage as the reason. Fifty-three percent of Latinas will become pregnant at least once by the time they are twenty. Adolescent girls who had a serious school failure- like dropping out- are significantly more likely to suffer a serious bout of depression. In fact, thirty-three percent of girls who drop out of school later become depressed. Researchers believe that this might be because girls more acutely suffer the worst consequences after dropping out: higher poverty rates, higher rates of being on public assistance, and lower rates of job stability. Sadly, Latinas between the ages of 12 and 17 are more likely to try to take their lives than any other racial or ethnic group their age. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, twenty-five percent say they’ve thought about it and fifteen percent have attempted suicide.
Today’s young Latinas are crying out for help, and they deserve to be empowered to reach their fullest potential. Your investment in Circle de Luz, a national scholarship giving network with a heartfelt mission to provide scholarship funds and support to young Latinas in order to radically empower them to graduate from high school and pursue further education, can help to positively address the many challenges Latinas face today.
Here is how the program works: Latina girls are selected in the seventh grade to become recipients of a minimum scholarship of $5,000 upon graduation from high school. Circle de Luz not only gives these girls the financial means to pursue any educational program of their choice after graduation, it also follows them throughout the six year program with programming that includes book discussions, cultural events, educational events, and reflection groups. To better understand the urgency of our mission, please watch the video, Our Daughters’ Voices.
Women can be a part of our scholarship efforts by becoming a member of our Class of 2014 giving circle. The Class of 2014 giving circle specifically provides funds for the scholarships the girls receive after high school graduation. Donors make a commitment to invest a minimum of $90 a year for six years to the scholarship fund that will support the Class of 2014 scholarship recipients. Donors can come from anywhere in the country and combine efforts with another person or a group for their commitment if they would like. As of today, we have 47 donors from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, and North Carolina, and have secured enough support to select 6 scholarship winners this fall from James Martin Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our goal is to have at least 55 M’ijas in our inaugural circle, and we’d love for you to join with us. All we need right now is your Letter of Commitment. We then ask that ½ of your year’s commitment be paid by September 15 and the other half by March 15, 2009 (don’t worry, we’ll send you a reminder when the time comes!). All scholarship donations are placed in an interest bearing account designated for our Class of 2014 Hijas to provide them with an even more robust scholarship at graduation.
Another way to become involved with Circle de Luz’s efforts is through the Circle de Posibilidad. Our efforts to provide meaningful programming and support for the Hijas throughout the six years they are a part of Circle de Luz are dependent upon the investments made in our Circle de Posibilidad. Donors in our Circle de Posibilidad can hail from anywhere in the country, be male or female, or even represent a group or business. Donations made through the Circle de Posibilidad do not require a six year commitment. The Circle de Posibilidad investment form can be found here.
You can also invest in our efforts by purchasing a Circle de Luz necklace for yourself or a friend. Artist Mary Alice Mitchell has conceived three beautiful, handmade sterling silver necklace designs to celebrate our effort. Each necklace is a unique piece of art and all proceeds go to support the Circle. They are the perfect gift for the girls and women of your life!
Thank you so much for your interest in radically empowering the lives of young Latinas!