Since 1971, La Alianza Hispana has been an icon of Latino leadership, consistently serving as a portal to hope for well over 30,000 Bostonians. As a hub of social service delivery, advocacy, and education, the organization has changed the landscape of community resources and improved many lives.
One of these lives was that of Nydia Mendez. Read her story below, and visit www.laalianza.org for additional stories of success.
The Journey is Everything. For over 41 years, La Alianza Hispana has been a starting point for many leaders in Boston’s Latino community.
La Alianza Hispana launched in 1970 with the vision and determination of community organizers/ teachers, Ana Maria Rodríguez and Betsty Trage. Inspired to change the reality of the impoverished Latino students they were seeing in their classrooms, Ana Maria and Betsy rallied the community to respond to the growing socio-economic challenges facing the Latino community. They made a strong case for support. By providing education and culturally appropriate family support, Latinos could and would thrive in Boston.
Once La Alianza Hispana’s doors opened, the Mendez Family entered with big dreams. Nydia Mendez, tells her story. “We came to Boston to study. My mother was an elementary school teacher in Puerto Rico and my father was a construction worker. When we arrived in 1968, the only jobs available for my parents were in the factories producing war supplies. My parents worked incredibly hard and struggled with learning English and teaching us English as well. They knew that in order to get ahead and realize their dreams, we all needed better educational opportunities. My mom is the one that enrolled the whole family in La Alianza Hispana in 1970. It became the lighthouse for our family. It was a safe place where we learned and connected with others who understood our struggle and our dreams.” Frieda Garcia, a La Alianza Hispana founder and the agency’s first executive director, had a profound impact on the Mendez Family. “She was such a role model for me. Frieda inspired all of us to get involved and take responsibility for ourselves and our community” shared Nydia.
Nydia and her brother were enrolled in La Alianza Hispana’s summer camp program while her parents took English classes. During high school, they both became peer leaders in the after school program. Nydia went on to earn a degree in education from Boston University. She launched her career as an educator in the Boston Public Schools. Over the last thirty years, she has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and has worked as a principal and an administrator. Nydia was the first Puerto Rican and Latina to become a school principal in Boston. She has also been involved in governance over Boston Public School’s bilingual education initiatives.
Today, Nydia is serving as the Program Director for English Language Learners for the Pilot Schools Programs, a division of the Boston Public Schools Department. On occasion, Nydia returns to La Alianza Hispana to organize Latino parents and engage them in bilingual education programs. She knows the power of a helping hand. She sees the impact access to education has on the whole family. She hears the stories of successful Latino family who mirror her own experience. She also understands the importance of giving back to the community that makes dreams a reality.
La Cocina VA, one of our affiliates, is doing incredible things!
Located in Arlington, Virginia, La Cocina equips unemployed and underemployed Hispanic adults with the skills and certification necessary to work in the culinary and hospitality industry. Participants also improve their English skills as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Domestic violence and financial abuse don’t discriminate. It affects people of all races, genders, religions and income levels — even right in your own community. Odds are, it’s happening to someone you know.
Over the last 12 years, the Allstate Foundation has propelled more than 1 million victims on the path to safety and security and has invested more than $55 million to empower women to break free from abuse.
U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Judy Chapa, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Financial Services Roundtable
Victoria Dinges, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, Allstate Insurance Company
Kim Gandy, President and CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence
Monica Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA National Capital Area in Washington, DC
Fed’s Harker Says Job Training Needed to Boost U.S. Economy (Reuters)
October 5, 2017
Business, governments and other organizations should stop looking at job skills training as social welfare and see it instead as a path to better jobs, higher paying wages, and faster growth, a Federal Reserve Policymaker said on Thursday.
The remarks were made at a conference on workforce development in Philadelphia. “The U.S. economy succeeds when we back programs that move people out of poverty and into stable, sustainable employment.”
Latino Dropout Rate Plummets as College Enrollment Hits Record High (NBC)
October 4, 2017
In five years, the Hispanic dropout rate fell 6 percentage points — to 10 percent in 2016, from 16 percent in 2011 — among Latino students aged 18 to 24.
The drop is significant considering that Latino students make up a growing share of the nation’s students. Hispanic enrollment in kindergarten through college increased by 80 percent from 1999 to 2016, from 9.9 million to 17.9 million.
The report notes that Latinos still lag when it comes to educational attainment, particularly college completion.
Trump’s Apprentice Plan Seems to Need a Mentor (New York Times)
September 28, 2017
President Trump has called for increasing the number of apprentices nationwide to 5 million from roughly 500,000 today. To do this, he wants to direct $100 million of federal job training money to the program. He also wants to relax federal standards for “registered” apprenticeships, which require a mentor, salaries that increase with experience, and minimum hours of formal instruction in both the classroom and workplace.
But research and recent experience suggest this approach could backfire. Over the last decade, Britain tried to increase the number of apprentices through a mix of public subsidies and changes that watered down the definition of apprenticeship. The result? Subway took out ads to hire “apprentice sandwich artists” who would be paid the minimum wage.
“Each year, the United States recognizes Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month. In recognition of Hispanic women’s significant contributions to the labor force, here are six statistics demonstrating their growing influence as drivers of economic productivity and entrepreneurs.”