The Latina A.R.M.Y. Announces New Board Members

Advances on Capacity Building Grant by Hispanics in Philanthropy Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities
By: Nancy Roldan Johnson
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April 13, 2011 - PRLog -- New Haven, CT – The Latina A.R.M.Y., Inc. proudly announces the recent appointment of the following officers at their March 12th anniversary gathering held at the University of Bridgeport:

Deborah Sabia, Hispanics Initiative Manager with Girl Scouts of Connecticut, has accepted the role of Board co-Chair.  Deborah joined the board in 2010.  In 2005 she was honored by GSUSA with the Innovation Award for her work on establishing a New England regional Inter-Council Hispanic Initiative Committee.  She travels nationally to share best practices for recruiting and serving the Latino community.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Services.    

Also joining us as Board co-Chair is Yolanda Caldera-Durant, Program Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  She previously worked for the Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) as Program Director for Economic Opportunity and Health and Human Services.  She has worked for over 15 years in the nonprofit and public sectors in New York, Hong Kong, and Connecticut - The Salvation Army of Greater New York, ASPIRA of Connecticut, Mother's Choice, Hong Kong Vocational Center and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.  She holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut and a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Milano the New School of Management and Urban Policy.    

Cynthia Toscano-Lopez, MBA and business manager at Pitney Bowes, continues to serve as Director.  

Dr. Carmen Marcano-Davis, Ph.D., co-founder of the organization and Clinical Psychologist practicing in Milford, CT had served on the board since its incorporation in 2008 and recently served as Board Chair.  She continues to serve as advisor to the board in the area of program development.  

As part of a two-year capacity building grant, each board member participated in a board retreat to identify key goals for the organization’s development.  The grant was awarded by Hispanics in Philanthropy Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities, a project of Hispanics in Philanthropy designed to strengthen the Latino civil sector.      

The Latina A.R.M.Y. is the first organization of its kind to offer free in-school empowerment workshops that promote self-awareness and encouraged girls to set healthy boundaries in their relationships, to identify their personal goals and develop concrete life plans.  The workshops are conducted by caring Latinas and non-Latinas who serve as role models to inner-city Latina girls between the ages of 9 and 18.  The volunteers are women who faced a difficult challenge in order to meet a goal that resulted in a better way of life and as a result of their determination and hard work, add value to society.  Given the changing demographics of Connecticut and other states, the organization feels it's crucial for women to become involved in guiding girls as they begin to navigate their middle school and high school years.  

“Being a part of the Latina A.R.M.Y. is exciting for me because I am able to give back to young girls and share my personal story of overcoming difficult challenges to attain personal and professional success. Many of our young Latinas do not have positive role models and I want them to know that if I can be successful it is also possible for them to achieve their dreams” stated Yolanda Caldera-Durant, Board Co-Chair.

Although the organization is all-inclusive, The Latina A.R.M.Y., Inc. was established in 2008 in response to the crisis state of young Latinas in the United States.  Current statistics tell us that young Latinas (the fastest growing U.S. demographic group) hold the highest rates of: attempted suicide –one in seven young Latinas attempts suicide; teen pregnancy-more than 53% are pregnant or become mothers at least once before the age of 20 (more than double the national average); female high school drop-outs in the country (nearly double the national average).  Most sociologists agree that this group finds itself between cultures and often cannot find positive role models who understand them.  The majority of girls who complete a Latina A.R.M.Y. program say they feel better about their future and benefit from higher self-esteem as a result of their participation.  To date, the organization has reached 750 girls throughout the state of Connecticut and in the metro New York region.    

The Latina A.R.M.Y., Inc., a national nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) organization, whose mission is to celebrate and empower young Latinas by providing inspirational role models and introducing powerful life skills for personal excellence.  Their goal is to empower 1 million young Latinas across the United States.  The organization is interested in recruiting board members.  For more information or to volunteer, please visit: email or call (203)812-9901.

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volunteer-driven, grassroots nonprofit whose mission is to celebrate and empower young Latinas by providing inspirational role models and introducing powerful life skills for personal excellence.
Source:Nancy Roldan Johnson
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Tags:The Latina Army, Self Esteem, Youth Development, New Haven Connecticut, Hispanics In Philanthropy
Location:New Haven - Connecticut - United States
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