Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Exercising every day has many advantages, the main ones are living a healthy lifestyle as well as having a healthy body weight. In reality though there are so many more reasons why you should exercise daily, and many of them relate to making you a better person inside and out by gaining confidence and inner strength. Below I have compiled my top 5 reasons why exercise builds confidence and inner-strength in teens.

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1. Learn how to set and follow SMART goals: Everyone knows how to set a goal, however setting one and following it are two separate things. A goal without a road map is essentially just a dream, it will be very hard to attain. Using the SMART goal philosophy will help you realize your goals much easier and much quicker. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result specific, Time bound.

2. Learning to fail: You will fail in life, it’s a fact, and you might fail at the goal you set. The most important part is learning from these failures and turning them into successes. By doing this you will gain confidence and inner-strength, even through failure.

3. Building good work ethic: If you have no other commitments, exercising daily would be a cinch. Unfortunately not all of us are so fortunate, we have work or school, homework, families, friend etc. Making exercise a priority in your life will help you determine what is most important and how you should spend your time, making you smarter and stronger.

4. Waiting to see results: This one follows #3, not many people have all day to exercise, and no one can exercise once and see the results. In order to achieve your SMART goals you will have to continue to work day after day for weeks or months. This type of dedication helps strengthen you, builds your confidence and makes you patient.

5. Improve your physical control: Some of the best athletes in the world got to where they are not because they only did that sport, but because they did many sports. This helped them gain better body control and the confidence to succeed. By exercising you are teaching your body how to move, which in turn will help you be more coordinated, confident and strong, both inside and out.

Mike Dellemann has spent the last 10 years as both an athlete and a coach and has seen firsthand what happened to those who make SMART goals, stuck to them and worked hard. Although there can be days that are difficult, the end results always outweigh those small hiccups.
Coach Mike is a former Team USA Skeleton athlete who has competed internationally in 4 different countries and won many medals. He is an avid hiker and backpacker, fisherman, hunter and water skier. An ex collegiate All-American Decathlete in college he now enjoys coaching high school track and field and teaching grades K-12. Mike has a BA in Business Administration with a minor in Adventure Education and is pursuing his MBA.

About Kurbo:

The experts at Kurbo, a new fitness/weight management mobile-based app designed just for kids, comes complete with personalized coaching. It is unlike adult fitness apps, which focus solely on food tracking and calorie counting. Instead, it offers games, in-app chats and video sessions with a personalized coach, and an easy “traffic light system” breaking down food categories into three easily identifiable colors.

See whether Kurbo is right for your child, try a Kurbo coaching plan for free today!

Developed by Joanna Strober, whose middle child struggled with his weight, she teamed up with co-founder, Thea Runyan, who spent over a decade doing research at Stanford on childhood obesity. Together they recreated a virtual version of the expensive and demanding hospital weight programs designed specifically for adolescents. www.kurbo.com

Prior to co-founding Kurbo, Thea spent 12 years as the lead behavior coach for the Pediatric Weight Control Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, where her expertise in this field has helped hundreds of kids, teens, and families manage weight and lead healthier lifestyles. Known as “The Stoplight Lady,” Thea is a frequent guest speaker on topics related to pediatric obesity, and writes about health and weight management on the Kurbo blog and for many other publications. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MPH from San Jose State University.

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Yup, you’ll look at these pics and think it’s hilarious because of my glasses (I was often called four eyes as a kid), my chubby cheeks that I sported, my crooked/stained teeth and GOD knows for how many other reasons. Now I can look back and see those moments of my life as “had to live” stepping stones to get me where I am today, but let me tell you that the road I traveled was not the most enjoyable one. This is not a victim post nor do I want anyone to feel sorry for me, but I share it because I know there’s a young crowd following me and one person or another may see this post as a light to all that they may be going through. I pray for you! Let me tell you: LIFE gets better. Sometimes you kind of need to go through hell to value the golden days.
I came to the U.S. when I was four years old, and although I looked “white” or part of the majority back then, my strong Mexican accent threw people off guard and even so when they heard my name being called during roll call by teachers. I recall being in middle school and getting bullied for being Mexican, but then again bullied by peers of my own race for looking “too white”. Goes to show how messed up our society is. I would argue that I was a victim of racism, clearly. And what is a kid supposed to do at that age? Get confused I would imagine.
I started wearing glasses at a very young age and I was called names for that, something you all probably have gone through if your vision was not 20/20. To top it off I was a geek, I was not the smartest geek, but I was a library kid and was made fun of for that. It was in middle school where I put on some extra pounds. And go figure I was bullied for that too. In middle school I was transferred to a new school because my family had moved to another city and that’s exactly when the lower photo was taken. I was a pretty miserable kid (you can tell by the pic) growing up because I didn’t have many close friends, honestly I always felt like I didn’t fit in with others.
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4th Grade, 8th Grade and 28 years old!

High school came around and while I was so involved with my education and furthering myself I still didn’t manage to get out of my comfort zone many times and was caught up in a world of constant bullying, name-calling and made fun of. Yes, I have always been an introvert, I think. I really never spoke up or told family and friends about that stage of my life, but it was for the reasons mentioned above and added to that the fact that I didn’t play sports, was an immigrant, came from a low-income family and my opportunities to succeed in life were very slim that I was intimidated by others.
It was the end of junior year and throughout senior where I was bullied the most and I would have to admit that those were the most miserable days of my life. Sometimes I dreaded going to high school because I knew how unhappy I was there. Not exactly sure what caused people to call me senseless things, make assumptions and simply make my life pretty depressing. (Though some friends did make high school worthwhile and fun!) I wish I knew back then that only I had control of my emotions and that others opinions wouldn’t define me. I wish I knew back then what I know now and I wish I could tell that young kid that I’d be in a better place in the future and that things would work out for the best.
College arrived before I knew it and I feel like my life turned 360 degrees for the BEST. I met some of the most amazing human beings I have ever encountered and which I still keep in touch with and I made some exciting memories.
Not being the most fit person, wearing glasses, not being social, not playing sports, being a geek, poor, a 4.0 student, senseless and hurtful comments that have absolutely no value in bringing up all contributed to how miserable I felt and the lack of self-esteem I had growing up.
As an adult I was involved in romantic relationships where I felt I was not appreciated or loved for the person that I am. I let them make me feel small. Worst decision ever! And of course that contributed to the negative spiral I saw myself in. But, it was 2 years ago that I committed to re-building myself into a stronger man (spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally) even more than before and decided to live a healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t until a year ago that I took things to a whole different level and I blocked the miserable, challenging and rough past I had because of others. Yes, I was a victim of verbal bullying. I am not saying I went through anything catastrophic, but often times words can hurt a lot because they stick with you forever until you are ready to fully let go. And I have!!! I didn’t only forget, but I forgave those that made it miserable and wish them well. God wants us to do that.
Now I feel like my life is not where I would wish for it to be, but I know I am on the right track and I feel extremely happy in my own physique. Something I never imagined I would achieve!
Why did I write this post? I want other kids (especially boys soon to be men) to know that their social status, appearance, having friends or not, being a geek or whatever other reason has nothing to do with who you truly are as an individual and that there’s a lot of value you can provide to our messed up world. Unfortunately, there’s so much hate and insecurity in others that they want to impose some of that in positive people’s lives.
I want to remind you to love yourself, gain self-confidence one day at a time and you are a powerful being able to accomplish all things. Keep going “HACIA ADELANTE” and I hope that no day goes by when you have felt lonely in this world because you are not! Please speak up and reach out to others. That’s the biggest mistake I made, but God always protected me.
Embrace your identity and being different. That’s great that you are because we need more people that are authentic individuals like you. Keep that chin up high.
I never imagined the big difference and impact that carrying a healthier lifestyle would have in my life and how important fitness would be for me today. Honestly I feel as if I was given another chance to fully live and completely let go of the negativity. Working out has saved my life and it’s become a healthy addiction!

Nota: este es un artículo auspiciado por Coca-Cola pero todas las opiniones y consejos reflejan mis propias opiniones.

La educación superior siempre ha sido un tema muy importante en mi vida y uno que nunca descarte a pesar de pasar por unas circunstancias difíciles en este país de grandes oportunidades. Siempre obtuve el apoyo emocional e incondicional de mi familia y aunque monetariamente no pudieron aportar mucho les estoy agradecido por no dejar que tirara la toalla en diferentes ocasiones.

El camino que tome para obtener una Maestría en Periodismo no fue nada fácil porque me encontré con obstáculos financieros, personas que no creían en mí y muchas puertas que se me cerraron. Pero cuando se quiere algo en la vida nada es imposible porque son más fuertes las ganas lo que nos lleva a obtener lo que nos proponemos.

Entiendo del estrés económico por el cual muchas de nuestras familias latinas viven cuando tienen que pagar los gastos de sus hijos/as para la universidad y ahora imagínense la carga que conlleva para un estudiante de limitados recursos y de padres migrantes. Las estadísticas muestran que es mucho más difícil para un estudiante de primera generación forjar su educación superior. Los recursos son mucho más limitados.

Muchas veces no veía la luz y me preguntaba: “¿Lo que estoy haciendo vale la pena y esto me garantiza un mejor futuro?

Mi respuesta inmediata siempre fue: “SI, lo es”.

Honestamente digo que fui “bendecido” con muchas becas que pagaron por todos mis estudios en la universidad y cuando ingrese a estudiar mi Maestría. Nada hubiese sido posible sin la ayuda económica y la confianza de corporaciones, organizaciones y personas que “SI” creyeron en mí.

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Realice mucha investigación de becas disponibles para estudiantes en la misma situación que yo. Mi trabajo de “part-time” fue aplicar a un sinfín de becas y algunas veces fui negado y otras veces mi regalo fue un cheque que pago por mis estudios.

Creo que muchas veces nos encerramos en un mundo de inseguridades, nos hacemos pequeños y no valoramos nuestro potencial y es allí donde fallamos siempre.

Sin embargo, me da mucho gusto ver que una vez más, Coca-Cola se une al Fondo de Becas Hispano (Hispanic Scholarship Fund) para ayudar a las familias hispanas a alcanzar sus sueños y aspiraciones de educación superior, como parte del Programa Nacional de Becas #ForTheDream.

Soy uno de los miles de ejemplos de como yo logre mis sueños y el sueño de que mis padres me vieran con un título universitario gracias a corporaciones como Coca-Cola. El mejor regalo para ellos fue verme caminar la tarima el día de mis graduaciones y ver todo lo que había logrado con esfuerzo, trabajo y dedicación. Esos días nunca los olvidare porque fueron algunos de los más felices momentos de mi vida.

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Coca-Cola esta donando $150.000 al Fondo de Becas Hispano para ser entregados a través de becas a estudiantes que califican. Las aplicaciones están siendo aceptadas hasta el 30 de marzo de 2016.

El programa #ForTheDream de Coca-Cola empodera a las familias hispanas a prepararse, planear y pagar por la universidad de sus adolescentes, e inspira a los estudiantes hispanos a perseguir sus sueños de educación superior y convertirse en futuros líderes.

Padres de familia si tienen un hijo/a en el último o penúltimo año de la secundaria o “high school”, no es demasiado tarde para que pueda asistir a la universidad.

Lo que yo sugiero es que nunca se queden callados y si no saben algo hagan preguntas ya sea a un asesor o “guidance counselor” para que les diga sus opciones. Un asesor puede ser el de la misma high school a la cual sus hijo/a van o hay personas que se dedican a esto tiempo completo.

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También hay ayuda financiera y préstamos para los que se puede aplicar si la familia califica para ello. Muchas veces se toma en consideración el ingreso de la familia entre otros factores.

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A pesar de que la matriculación de estudiantes hispanos se ha incrementado considerablemente en las últimas dos décadas, esta población se encuentra rezagada frente a otros grupos en cuando a diplomas obtenidos. Esta situación puede deberse a la presión que tienen algos estudiantes latinos de proveer ayuda financiera a sus familias antes de graduarse. Como parte de su compromiso con la comunidad Hispana, el Programa Nacional de Becas de Coca-Cola y HSF #ForTheDream aspira a fortalecer a las familias hispanas para que puedan poner a sus adolescentes en la vía rápida hacia la universidad.

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Coca-Cola entiende la importancia que las familias hispanas ponen en la educación, y quiere ayudarlas a prepararse, planificar y pagar la universidad, mientras que impulsa a los estudiantes latinos a alcanzar sus metas de educación superior.

Únete a la conversación y entérate de las novedades en las redes sociales con el hashtag #ForTheDream y sigue a la compañía que nos trae esta fabulosa oportunidad @CocaCola

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Para más información, por favor visite: coke.com/ForTheDream

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Recuerden que aunque un título universitario no garantiza el éxito profesional si es la puerta para obtener un mejor futuro. Es importante entender que deberíamos en nuestras comunidades latinas empezar a ahorrar para el futuro de los hijos desde que nacen y tal vez no gastar en lujos, cosas materiales o hasta en fiestas como por ejemplo quinceañeras que definitivamente no les dará la vida que siempre soñaron.

¿Qué tan importante es la educación superior en tu familia? ¿Cómo estas preparando a tus hijo/as a que tengan un futuro brillante y lleno de educación?

¡Mucha Suerte!

En esta vida sabemos que los regalos más importantes no necesariamente deben ser aquellos que cuestan una fortuna o los que hacen que gastes tu ahorro. En este mundo donde los valores familiares y sociales más fundamentales son escasos es mejor regalar enseñanzas que quedaran plasmados para siempre en las vidas de las personas en nuestro alrededor.

La literatura debería empezar en los niños desde pequeños y que mejor que con este libro súper fácil de leer y entender ya que demuestra grandes lecciones de vida: el amor por la familia y la aceptación de nuestras diversidades en la sociedad.

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Los dibujos son coloridos y el texto es grande en el libro La Familia Cool: El Tesoro Mas Valioso por Dania Santana. Es una pequeña historia de una familia multicultural (Latina) que celebra la diversidad y posee orgullo en celebrar valores entre sus miembros pequeños de la familia.

No me gustaría decirles en detalle de que se trata la historia pero si les digo que les dejara una gran lección de vida de aceptación y amor hacia el prójimo y la celebración de que existe algo hermoso en ser diferente. Hasta en nuestras propias familias encontramos diferencias que nos pueden unir mas.

Tuve el placer de entrevistar a la autora Dania Santana. Ella es una efectiva profesional de la comunicación con más de 15 años de experiencia en su campo. Ella es muy elocuente y ha trabajado en campañas de publicidad nacionales para el mercado hispano de los Estados Unidos. Dania, también conocida como MamiCool, es la creadora del sitio bilingüe La Familia Cool en donde comparte su conocimiento acerca del American Latino, crianza bilingüe, y los hijos multiculturales y multirraciales. Su objetivo es educar y fortalecer a todas las personas alrededor de Estados Unidos acerca de la importancia de una sociedad multicultural, y sobre cómo las contribuciones de los latinos son cruciales para el avance y éxito de los Estados Unidos. Dania es nacida y criada en Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, ha vivido en los Estados Unidos desde hace casi 12 años. Es la mamá de 3 niños y actualmente vive en Raleigh, Carolina del Norte.

Autora Dania Santana

Autora Dania Santana

¿Por qué decides escribir este libro?

Dania: Inicié mi blog en diciembre de 2010 con la intención de escribir sobre los hitos de mi primera hija, pero según crecía fui preocupándome por otras cosas, más sociales. Como el rol de los latinos en Estados Unidos y cómo siempre se trata a los latinos como extranjeros, aun cuando la mayoría de ellos son nacidos aquí. De esa evolución y de las interacciones con mis hijos y mis sobrinos han surgido muchos temas que yo sé que tratan las familias multiculturales.

De la necesidad de poder tratar temas tan serios como las diferencias raciales dentro de una misma familia, el acoso escolar, la variedad y multi-culturalidad de la comunidad latina, entre otros, surgió el libro. Para mí lo principal es facilitar esas conversaciones para los padres latinos criando sus niños aquí.

¿Es tu primer libro? 

Dania: Sí, este es mi primer libro.

¿Cuál es el mensaje(s) primordial que quieres que el lector se lleve después de leer el libro? 

Dania: El mensaje principal es que las diferencias raciales no importan, sino el amor que las personas sienten las unas por las otras, especialmente el amor que se encuentra en el seno de la familia. Hay otros mensajes importantes en el libro también, la importancia del ser bilingüe, de preservar la herencia y destacar que los latinos somos multiculturales. Hay muchas familias como la mía y como la del libro.

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¿Cuál ha sido el recibimiento del público con este libro? 

Dania: Lanzamos el libro recientemente y hemos tenido una buena aceptación hasta ahora. Si buscan el hashtag #LaFamiliaCool podrán encontrar las reseñas de varias blogueras que tuvieron la oportunidad de leer el libro con sus niños.

¿Tienes planeado escribir más cuentos/libros? 

Dania: Sí, claro. Soy periodista de profesión y contar historias es algo que siempre me ha llamado la atención. Desde niña me fascinaban las historias de mi abuela y siempre me ha gustado mucho la lectura. La aspiración de ser escritora siempre estuvo ahí y ahora que tengo la inspiración en casa, creo que se me hará difícil no darle rienda suelta a las historias.

¿Crees que sería importante que en cada familia tengan tu libro en casa? 

Dania: Claro que sí. Hay una carencia de libros multiculturales, especialmente de libros que muestren a nuestros niños latinos. Que ellos puedan leer historias en las que sus vidas tienen relevancia, que se puedan ver reflejados en los mismos. Este cuento es uno de ellos y creo que será de mucha ayuda en muchos hogares aquí en Estados Unidos.

¿Crees que sería ideal tener este libro en todas las escuelas y que l@s maestr@s lo lean a sus estudiantes? 

Dania: Muy buena pregunta. Este es un libro que está dirigido especialmente al entorno escolar y estará llegando a las escuelas de la mano de la editorial PreK Plaza, que desde su plataforma digital le ofrecerá a los maestros las herramientas para su aplicación en el salón de clases. Con la gran cantidad de latinos en los salones de clases alrededor, y muchos más ingresando cada año, es sumamente importante que haya literatura de autores latinos, con historias que sean relevantes para ellos.

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Puedes obtener el libro por Amazon.com para tus hijos, estudiantes o algún pequeño en tu alrededor.

Me gustaría escuchar de ustedes… ¿Como celebras las diferencias y diversidad en tu propia familia?

New Campaign Unites over 20 California Artists for Charity Project

According to the California Cancer Registry, more than 1,700 children and young adults under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer in California each year.  Support and understanding is critical for any parent that has to deal with a child’s cancer as it affects the entire family.

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This season, help for families with children suffering from cancer is coming in a unique way – through art.  Got milk? has united over 20 visual artists in a creative partnership that will benefit Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times through a program titled Milk Loves Art.

Throughout the years, arts advocates have made various claims that the arts positively impacts our communities.  According to the California Arts Council, a student involved in the arts is four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.

“This campaign has a dual focus: to bring local artists together for a charitable cause and also recognize the positive impact art has in our communities,” said Steve James, Executive Director of the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). In the spirit of giving, professional and student artists will paint 31 life size cow sculptures, provided by got milk?, which will then be donated to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, who will then auction off the works of art and keep 100% of the proceeds.  Camp gives more than 1,500 children with cancer and their families the chance to take a break from their hardship and enjoy outdoor activities such as horseback riding, arts & crafts, archery and ropes courses; and most importantly, it gives them the opportunity to just be kids.

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Jaleel White “Steve Urkel” celebrates basketball star Kobe Bryant’s legacy with the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the cow sculpture by painting his famous “vertical leap” and elements of his many championships.

Renowned artist/muralist, George Yepes, has joined the project as the lead artist for the Milk Loves Art program.  Yepes will be leading the creative phase of the campaign and working closely with the artists involved, and will also be painting one of the 31 cow sculptures.

“Whenever there’s a chance to get involved in bettering our community and enriching the lives of individuals through art, I’m more than happy to be part of it,” said George Yepes. “This partnership with got milk? allows me to get involved with what I’m passionate about: bringing art to the forefront and giving back to those in need.” Yepes’s work has been featured in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego, among others.

For more information about Milk Loves Art, visit: www.gotmilk.com and to learn more about Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, visit www.rmhcsc.org/camp.

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Text and Photo Credit: RL Public Relations

Stone & Cloth is more than just a Backpack & Tote Bags Company!

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It was a great and celebratory surprise to see Stone & Cloth be doing so well after I was first introduced to its founder Matthew Clough, the creative mind behind the label, for a school project during my Master’s program at USC in 2012.

Since then I saw that they teamed up with the car company Scion in a campaign highlighting creatives that are “driven for success”. They partnered in a commercial that aired in national television and were highlighted in a video series interviewing small businesses that are making a difference such as Clough.

Now three years later I see how it’s thriving and that’s truly commendable because it’s a small company based out of Los Angeles, CA (#MadeinLA) that is making a huge difference all the way with people in Tanzania and Kenya. Stone & Cloth has partnered with the non-profit Knock Foundation to ensure that scholarships are provided for kids in those areas who are struggling with limited access to an education.

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Stone & Cloth makes stylish, sleek and functional handcrafted canvas backpacks, weekend bags, and totes for men and women. They are a socially conscious line of product!

When I spoke to Clough in 2012 he shared the primitive beginnings of his vision and you can see them in the short video:

A couple classmates and I were taking a Public Relations course where we focused on this up-and-coming small company already making a big difference to tackle global issues – access to an education.

As we all know the global education crisis is a huge problem in our world, but thanks to companies like Stone & Cloth and its founder this issue receives some attention. To put things into perspective more than 124 million children and adolescents around the world are illiterate, according to UNESCO and your Stone & Cloth purchase provides 25 hours of classroom learning.

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With Christmas being 7 days away you can do a whole lot by giving a gift that will go a long way to that person on your list for which you have no idea what to buy. Visit Stone & Cloth and take 10% off your next purchase.

You will never regret making a purchase with a purpose!

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Photo Credit: Stone & Cloth website

Every time I hear the word “posadas” it transports me back to my childhood years with my family and friends when we celebrated #LasPosadas in our humble and low-income neighborhood. Yes, I was raised in a very humble environment where I didn’t have a luxurious lifestyle, but what made it all better was keeping alive these traditions that bring so many families together. Nowadays I honestly feel this is more important than all the wealth in the world because we distance ourselves from what truly is important and its traditions like these which unite and remind us where we come from.

I loved this time of the year as a child because we were usually out of school and it meant connecting with friends for longer periods of time (playing outside) after performing the #LasPosadas ritual, eating authentic food such as champurrado, tamales, ponche with fruit, buñuelos that mothers cooked with so much gentleness and love.

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Las Posadas in English means “the inns”, which is a Mexican Christmas tradition based on the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph and their search for a safe haven, or “inn” to stay before the birth of Jesus. The 9-day long tradition takes places from December 16-24 each year, friends, families and neighbors participate as “innkeepers” and host a Posada at a different home each night.

When I was young I loved going to all of my friend’s homes because every family that was hosting the posada had a different dish with a peculiar good taste. It’s known that the evening’s host family provides the traditional Las Posadas food, which is an essential element to the festivity.

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At the end of the night children are given “aguinaldos” or small bags filled with treats and candies which symbolize the celebratory journey during the posadas. Usually on the last day of Las Posadas a piñata is torn open with a stick! That was fun too. Want to learn more about #LasPosadas visit HERDEZ® Las Posadas page.

To this day when I do participate in posadas my favorite dish is the savory tamales. And I know tamales can be eaten any other time of the year, but I prefer to have them only during the holiday season because they hold such a strong meaning to me. Tamales are like sacred to me and I won’t eat them any other time of the year.

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HERDEZ® truly understands the value of #LasPosadas too so I love that I get to participate with them in this campaign as they highlight a tradition that is so ingrained in our culture. HERDEZ® products are always a must have in our Mexican household and I can’t think of a better salsa to add to my tamales that my mom prepares with so much love. She was so kind to share her recipe with me which I will share with all of you in case you are eager to make tamales this holiday season. My favorite are the cheese and “rajas de jalapeño” tamales. I am a cheese-lover so these do it for me, topped with some salsa verde from HERDEZ®! YUM.

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Since HERDEZ® understands the symbolism behind #LasPosadas they are holding a photo contest on Instagram. The Share in the Magic of #MisPosadas contest lasts from December 7th – January 6th and you should all participate.

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Each week, a fill in the blank question relevant to the holiday will be posted for fan to answer with a photo. Three top winners will be selected as well as honorable mentions. Prizes are as follows:

Grand Prize: Dinner prepared by a personal chef for up to 4 people in your very own home!

2nd Place: $250 Gift Basket

3rd Place: $200 Gift Basket

Honorable Mention: Custom T-shirts

To enter in the photo contest simply submit a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #MisPosadas to answer the weekly fill in the blank question.

GOOD LUCK and you can’t celebrate #LasPosadas without all its traditional food so here’s my favorite tamale recipe prepared by my mom in her very own Zacatecas, Mexico style.

Ingredients

30 dried corn husks

Tamale dough

4 cups instant corn masa for tamales

2/3 cups shortening

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

Cheese and Jalapeño filling

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium white onion, sliced

1 can (12 oz.) sliced jalapeños chiles, rinsed and drained

½ lb. Oaxaca, asadero-style cheese or string cheese, cut into 3 x ¼-inc strips

Instructions

1. Pull 1/4-inch strings from reserved husks to wrap tamales, or use twine; set aside. Cover corn husks (including pulled strings) with warm water and let stand until pliable, at least 30 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix 2 cups of the broth and remaining tamale dough ingredients. Beat with electric mixer until well combined.

3. In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Cook and stir onion in oil 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in chiles; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until hot.

4. Drain corn husks; pat dry with paper towels. Place 3 level tablespoonfuls dough on each corn husk; slightly spread out, making indentation in center with back of spoon. Place 1 to 2 strips cheese and onion and chile on center of dough; fold dough around filling. If corn husks are too small, overlap 2 husks. Fold bottom one-third of corn husk over filling; fold sides in toward center. Tie tops with corn husk strings.

5. In 5-quart Dutch oven, place round cooling rack. Pour boiling water in Dutch oven, almost touching rack. (Water should not touch tamales when they are added.) Place 6 empty tamale husks on top of rack. Stand tamales inside pots, leaning against sides all around. Cover; reduce heat to medium. Simmer gently 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until tamale dough becomes firm. Add more water if needed during cooking time. Let stand uncovered 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully unfold each tamale by removing string and opening husk.

Servings

2 dozens

I want to hear from you. What holiday traditions do you have and how does HERDEZ® fit in? Share personal or family activities and recipes showcased during this holiday season and this season brings your family together.

Do you love this recipe? Love authentic Mexican food recipes? Then I highly encourage you to check out HERDEZ® website to find out delicious HERDEZ® brand recipes and ideas to bring your family and friends together during this beautiful #LasPosadas season.

When people feel connected and included they thrive and that is exactly what Project Enye is accomplishing through the work of this multi-platform documentary project.

Project Enye was started by Oscar nominated Henry Ansbacher and filmmaker Denise Soler Cox in 2013, and inspired by Soler Cox’s very own identity struggles growing up so she decided to co-create this project to give a voice to the varied experiences of first-generation bicultural Latinos, allowing them to share what it’s like being an American-born child to parents of Spanish-speaking countries.

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I wish I would have come across this project before I published my own story Somewhat Lost Between Two Worlds, where I talked about my very own experience of being confused between two worlds because although I am an immigrant to this country and Project Enye deals with American-born children there’s a lot of similitudes. I am not a first generation Latino born in the U.S., but I am glad I came across this project because I can relate to Cox’s identity struggle and can see how this helps embrace our unique cultural identities.

In a recent phone interview, I had the opportunity to speak to Henry and Denise and what an honor it was to have had the time to hear about their project, vision and upcoming big developments for Project Enye in 2016.

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Overview

Cox: This January it will be 4 years ago that I decided to pursue an idea that I had for 17 years up to that point. I had this “aha” experience while living in Miami. I was out with some friends, we were laughing and joking around and all of a sudden I felt this deep connection to my friends in a whole new way and I was trying to figure that out because these moments are so few and far between in life.

And I was wondering what was so special about tonight?

What was so unique?

“Everyone around the table was first-generation, American-born like me. And the things we were talking, joking and laughing about were all related to what it is to be an Enye, but I didn’t have a word for it or an experience to relate it to other than something that I thought that was just very personal to me,” said Cox.

The filmmaker recalls how up to that point she felt trapped and challenged between two worlds and cultures. Although for many people her life experience seemed awesome because she was had twice the culture she always felt as if there was another side that was confusing. She remembers how sometimes she didn’t know her place because she felt as if she was on the outside of both worlds looking in. That night she felt very connected to that group of friends and realized if they were all feeling the same way she felt determined to make a documentary.

“I want as many people as I could manage to tell, that they are part of this world and that we all belong here,” said Cox and added that 4 years ago she made a vow to herself to take action on Project Enye and met with Ansbacher to pitch and discuss the project.

Ansbacher: Documentaries are most effective when focusing in an individual story so we’re telling Denise’s personal story. We wanted to focus on how she came to this realization of a shared experience with those 16 million Enyes in the U.S. This project is an international story. There’s so many people that have been displaced and have migrated from one place to another. And the experience of growing up in a new culture with parents from another culture is very distinct and it’s happened.

Ansbacher sees that the awakening of identity that Cox had was a profound transformative experience and if that could happen for those with a similar story a lot would be accomplished.

Multiplatform Documentary

Ansbacher: It’s a very current and modern approach on how we are sharing the story so that we can have the biggest impact. We realized that we couldn’t wait for a traditional dimensional broadcaster and we decided to release content while we were making the film. We wanted to build a community around the idea before we even got a broadcaster on board and before we had a film completed. We released weekly content, 15 episode podcasts and 15 micro-docs in our first season online. These 3-5 minute documentaries tell a story of an Enye. It focuses on one character and tells the story in their own voice and their own perspective. We also have other partner websites where the content is syndicated.

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Cox: We have been really fortunate to have partnerships with online distributors and one of them is AOL. They are one of our biggest partners and on their platform they are distributing our content regularly each week and they released it and it just exploded. Other partnerships include E! Online, Fox News and CNN.

How is this project inspiring a cultural awakening? 

Cox: I don’t know that we set out to inspire a cultural awakening. My original intent was to make these people feel deeply connected to something and what is so awesome is that it has inspired this cultural awakening. We have screened the film, which is not complete, a few times and people feel reconnected with their Latino side. For instance, Vanessa Santana came up to me after a screening and told me that for the longest time she pronounced her last name Santana (Americanized) and after she saw the film she is going to begin pronouncing her name in Spanish because she realizes the importance in caring on with proper pronunciation.

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How do you keep your own culture and language alive? 

Cox: I love to cook and I love cooking for my friends, Latino and non-Latino and I would say that if there’s one thing that keeps my culture alive is cooking. I have all my mother’s recipes. I was recently with my cousin and she shared with me her grandmother’s recipes too.

Words of advice for the younger generation going through the same identity crisis that you went through in the past:

“There’s a place for us,” just like the song. Lol

Cox: I would tell them it visit Project Enye and go there as fast as you can and become part of this community and contribute to it. And also that there’s no shame in feeling confused. And there’s no shame in wondering about all of this and even talking about it.

What has this project taught you about yourself that you did not know before about you? 

Cox: I learned how deeply-rooted my shame was around language and not being able to speak Spanish as fluently as I would like. I knew that I had shame, but I had no idea the depth of it, to which it really controlled me and my actions. And I had a really awesome experience about one year ago. I had this transformative experience that completely gave me a chance to re-wire my brain about it, let go of the shame, be okay with the fact that my Spanish could be improved and the project has really taught me to be gentle with myself.

Additionally, in recognizing the importance of the letter ñ, Project Enye (ñ), in partnership with Sofrito For Your Soul, launched #WhereInTheWorldIsTheÑ, a public campaign rallying Spanish speakers (Latinos and non-Latinos) to ask Twitter to enable and support the use of the letter ñ in a Twitter handle and Cox gave an update.

“They have not responded. I wish I could be a fly on the wall on the person’s desk that this landed on and I hope that they are still fighting for it because in less than 30 days we got more than 2 million exposures and it was insane,” said Cox. “We continue to hope that they will make the change and we have not been contacted.”

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The Future of Project Enye

Cox: I hope that the letter ñ is incorporated into our vernacular just like x and y. So if someone says I am a Puerto Rican ñ, I am daughter of a Costa Rican ñ or the great grandchild of a Dominican ñ everybody will know what that means. And that it will offer up a short-hand that we have yet to have. And my hope is that many people see the film and experience the awakening and that the world is just a little bit different because a bunch of people decided that they were connected to something.

If someone reading this post would like for Project Enye to visit their city like in a school or in a college the co-creators would be more than happy to speak to you to make this appearance possible and they’d like to connect.

Project Enye has lined up a 20 city tour playing across film festivals internationally in 2016. See them in festivals, collegiate screenings, high schools and community screenings. Los Angeles is on the list for the city tour! So stay tuned and learn more about Project Enye.

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La Empresa de Investigación y Fabricantes Farmacéuticos de América (PhRMA)  presentó a un grupo de agrupaciones de defensores de la salud Hispanos su AccessBetterCoverage, un sitio de recursos en español sobre el cuidado de la salud, el seguro de salud y consejos para las compras de seguros para la cobertura de salud.
La mesa redonda fue conducida por Mila Ferrer, fundadora de Jaime, mi dulce guerrero y Familias con Diabetes, Allyson Funk, Directora de Comunicaciones de PhRMA y Elena Ríos, Presidenta de la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos.

Allyson Funk, Directora de Comunicaciones de PhRMA, Mila Ferrer, fundadora de Familias con Diabetes y Elena Ríos and Presidenta de la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos.

Allyson Funk, Directora de Comunicaciones de PhRMA, Mila Ferrer, fundadora de Familias con Diabetes y Elena Ríos and Presidenta de la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos.

El sitio presenta importantes recursos para ayudar a la comunidad entender cómo funciona el seguro de salud y qué esperar de su cobertura. El sitio incluye una serie de videos de pizarra electrónica en español que explican términos de seguros básicos como los deducibles, copagos y coaseguros y cómo funcionan los formularios, tanto como un glosario de términos de seguro de salud y las listas de preguntas que hacer al elegir un plan.
“El español es considerado el idioma principal para muchos Hispanos. Cuando se enferman, lo que repercute de nuevo a lo que sentían cómodos mientras que crecían. El 70% de los Hispanos buscan a sus proveedores y médicos para obtener información sobre el cuidado de la salud”, dijo la Presidenta de la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos Elena Ríos.
Los recursos educativos sobre la cobertura del cuidado de la salud son importantes para asegurar que los pacientes tengan la información y preguntas que hacer para elegir la mejor cobertura para ellos y su familia y tener acceso a los tratamientos y los servicios que necesitan.

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Fernando Rodríguez, Director MCG Latino, Allyson Funk, Directora de Comunicaciones de PhRMA, Elena Ríos, Presidenta de la Asociación Nacional de Médicos Hispanos and Mila Ferrer, fundadora de Familias con Diabetes.

“No importa si estamos hablando acerca de la diabetes o consejos para la compra de seguros de cobertura de la salud, los medios de comunicación social son una de las mejores maneras de compartir información entre los Hispanos”, dijo la fundadora de Familias con Diabetes Mila Ferrer.
Para obtener más recursos, visite AccessBetterCoverage.

Don’t forget to donate to the Plus Me Project TODAY via HipGive campaign and Kaiser Permanente will MATCH your gift!

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All donations are taxdeductible!

 

TODAY ONLY (December 1st), donate to your favorite Latino nonprofit and get your donation matched 1:1 by HIPGive until the matching pool runs out.

Make the Black Friday and Cyber Monday binge count. Here’s what to do:

1. DONATE to DOUBLE your impact in latino communities across the Americas.

2. SHARE your generosity with your networks.

3. JOIN the conversation by using the hashtags #LatinosGive #GivingTuesday

How Your Donations will be put to Work

The organization’s goal is to impact 15 schools within this project. They will send 3 different PLUS ME presenters to each school throughout the school year. These funds will pay the stipends for each presenter that will visit and speak to over 3,000 students. They will conduct 45 school visits to complete the funds received for this project. The additional funds will be used towards their outreach campaign to select and get the 15 schools on board with their program. If they do not reach their entire goal, they will use the raised amount to reach out to as many schools that they can. Help them spread the word about this project through your own social media accounts!
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the Plus Me Project is A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that motivates & inspires students through the sharing of personal narratives.

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