The first week of July, we held a day camp for the Circle de Luz girls. Our goal was to give them an experience that would be new and exciting for them and that would introduce them to concepts and activities that would help them to live healthy, meaningful lives. The week was a wonderful success– the girls had a great time as did all of the volunteers (thank you, volunteers!), and we all enjoyed being together. Some of the more touching parts of the week for me were watching the girls unwind with yoga and repeatedly declare the love for it and seeing the more shy girls in the group slowly come into themselves, more confident and sure. Seventh grade is such a tender time. I remember it well. And it’s nice to be a part of giving these girls memories from these years that are meaningful and joyful.
We created Circle de Luz with this mission in mind: to radically empower young Latinas by supporting and inspiring them in the pursuit of their possibilities through extensive mentoring, programming, and scholarship funds for further education.
We launched last spring, received our national non-profit status last May, signed on the women to support our first class– the Class of 2014 who just completed camp- last summer, and selected and began working with those girls last fall. The women who support the Class of 2014, we call them M’ijas, hail from Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana,Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York. They number 55 and with their combined resources over six years, eight girls will graduate from high school each with over $5,000 in scholarship support to pursue the educational ambition of their choice. Along the way, the M’ijas serve as phone mentors, pen pals, camp counselors, career panelists, ropes course partners, hiking guides, dinner dates, etc. as we provide experiences for these girls to become the women that they dream of being. M’ijas do not need to live in the same state as the latest school in the program to have an impact– we have m’ijas from Rhode Island, California, Oregon, Louisiana, etc serving as phone mentors and pen pals.
Our long term dream is to have Circle de Luz be in cities all over the country in a few short years. Our short term goal is to grow just a little bit this coming year. We have 55 women in the Class of 2014 who are providing mentoring, programming, and scholarship support to 8 wonderful girls. We want more than anything to be able to do this for 10 girls in our Class of 2015 come this September but time is running out. Our goal is to get 30 more women signed up, and at least 4 more scholarships covered, by the end of July. There are just 10 more days. Can you be one of 30 women to download the letter of commitment today and mail it in to us?
As a Circle de Luz m’ija, you commit to donating $90 a year for each of 6 years in honor of our Class of 2015. Your donation is not due at this time and it is not even due in full this calendar year. Our calendar runs June to May and we ask that our donors contribute each year’s commitment in 2 payment– $45 by September 15th (we send a reminder to you by August 15th) and $45 by March 15. We keep you up to date with the public general blog, a private class blog, and periodic Mija emails. You can be as involved with the organization as you would like or choose to just be a financial donor. Every woman who signs up to be a part of Circle de Luz is investing directly and powerfully into the lives of girls who have not been given much of a chance. When they learn that they have this cadre of women standing behind them, a group of women who choose to believe in them simply because we should and because they deserve it, their hearts are overtaken by wonder, hope, and possibility.