Are You a Latina Going Out of State For College? You Need to Read This

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Mother hugging daughter as she packs car for college

You made it to college, congratulations! You made it to college as a first-generation Latina and you’re going out of state or even a few hours away from home? Double kudos to you.

College is a wild ride for us all. Yes, you’re going to have the adventure of a lifetime. You’ll do the partying, the stay-up-all-night studying, and the bragging about both. It’s usually a fun time for many of us. While I don’t think you’ll need preparation for the fun, you will need some guidance for the things no one tells you about.

As a first-generation college student and Cuban immigrant, I left my warm sunny-side-up town, Miami, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in college-town central: Amherst, MA. There were many reasons for my decision, but mostly I wanted to explore something different — and boy, did my experience deliver. As my old literary companion Robert Frost once worded it, it really did make all the difference.

So if you’re headed toward a similar path, you’re about to enter a beautiful and transformative period in your life. Here’s what you need to know.

You’ll sound different.

This is especially true for students who come from big cities living in immigrant neighborhoods. I want you to know that you will sound different when you speak, and it may or may not be challenging in many ways, but it will teach you an important life lesson: your right to claim your space.

In Miami, I had no idea I even had an accent — everyone sounded like me. In Amherst, my accent was so pronounced, I heard it, and heard about it every day. At first, I’ll admit it became an impediment to my speaking up in class and sharing my thoughts with friends. And because I didn’t think having an accent was OK, I struggled to minimize it as much as I could. It was only until I found people who spoke like me — or with some kind of accent — that I was able to feel a little less phonetically alone. So, yes, at times you might feel ashamed, shy, or upset that you don’t sound like your average American classmate, but don’t worry. It won’t always be this way, and soon you’ll learn to use your voice as your asset.

You should find people like you, even if you don’t think you need to.

When we decide to go away for college, we generally want everything new and nothing of the old. You might not want to make friends with the same people you knew from high school per se, but you’ll definitely want to find a community of people who understand your background, because not everyone will. If you’re going out of state, a lot can become a culture shock, such as the foods you eat — yes, people will think you’re weird for eating a banana with rice and beans, but they will also love to learn about it.

One of the things that kept me warmest during New England winters were fleece sweaters. The second was my Latinx community, getting together to make foods we could easily find at a bodega in our hometown and, dare I say it, speaking the language we so resented growing up: Español.

Social status will — sort of — be a thing.

It won’t be an extremely important thing, but it’ll be more present than in the past. At least it was for me. The North Face backpack, Ugg boots, and Lululemon leggings my friend from Maine could afford were not accessible to me — not that a Miami girl really had any desire to wear Uggs, but you get the gist. It was one of the first times I saw class thrown in my face.

Continue on to Pop Sugar to read the complete article.

Boy, 13, Earns Fourth Associate’s Degree

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fullerton college in california campus

He may not have a driver’s license yet, but Jack Rico does have something most other 13-year-olds don’t: a quartet of college degrees under his belt.

The California teenager earned his associate’s degree this week from Fullerton College, bringing his total number of degrees to four, his mom Ru Andrade tells PEOPLE.

“It has been pure joy having Jack as a son and I couldn’t be any prouder of him,” she says.

The accomplishment makes him the youngest graduate ever from the community college.

“The college was established in 1913, so this is quite a legacy he can claim!” a spokeswoman for the school tells PEOPLE.

Jack started college courses when he was just 11 years old, and has spent the last two years earning his different degrees.

Andrade says she knew her son was “not your average kid” as early as 3 years old, when he asked to visit the White House for his 4th birthday.

“I told him that was a big trip for a little guy, and that I would take him if he could learn all the presidents,” she says, adding that the request was just a joke. “A week later he said, ‘Mom, I have a confession to make. I already knew all the presidents, but I learned all the vice presidents if that will still count?'”

Andrade says her son struggled in public school, and so she began homeschooling him in third grade, which allowed her to better focus on his areas of weakness.

“When he was 11, I knew he needed more of a challenge and a better teacher than me,” she says.

With that in mind, she entered him into Fullerton College’s Bridge Program, which allows K-12 students who pass placement exams to attend.

“He started out just taking one class and he absolutely loved it,” she says. “He just kept requesting taking more and more classes.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Selena Gomez Gives Heartfelt Message to Graduating Students from Immigrant Families: ‘You Matter’

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Selena Gomez gives heartfelt speech to mexican immigrants for graduation 2020

Selena Gomez is congratulating the class of 2020! The singer, 27, gave a surprise commencement address during the #Immigrad 2020 Virtual Commencement, which was a national celebration of students from immigrant families and supporters of immigrant rights from hundreds of high school and college campuses.

In a video message, Gomez shared a heartfelt message to the graduating students who were hosted by Define American, FWD.us, United We Dream, I Am An Immigrant and Golden Door Scholars.

“I know that this is a virtual ceremony, but it is very real. And it’s very real to all the families and all of you and your communities. I want you guys to know that you matter. And that your experiences are a huge part of the American story,” the star said.

“When my family came here from Mexico they set into motion my American story, as well as theirs. I’m a proud third-generation American-Mexican, and my family’s journey and their sacrifices helped me get me to where I am today,” Gomez said. “Mine is not a unique story. Each and every one of you has a similar tale of becoming an American.”

Gomez added, “Regardless of where your family is from, regardless of your immigration status, you have taken action to earn an education, to make your families proud, and to open up your worlds. I’m sending all of my love to you guys today and congratulations, and I hope that you guys are set off to be everything that you want to be.”

The Living Undocumented producer also recently made a special message to this year’s graduates during the #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 livestream.

“When people ask me what I would tell my younger self, I always said, ‘Go ahead and do it.’ You all have worked incredibly hard to get to this point and I know it’s not exactly how you imagined your graduation to look like,” Gomez said in a video filmed from her home. “I want to say it’s okay not to know what to do with the rest of your life. It’s a journey to find your direction or your passions, so don’t get frustrated by the mistakes and setbacks as they happen to all of us.”

“The amazing Oprah, like she said, you don’t become what you want not, you become what you believe. I think that really resonates as if you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect others to believe in your abilities,” Gomez advised.

“Hopefully, you know, when large gatherings are allowed, everybody can get together and celebrate your important achievement. But until then stay safe, stay connected with your friends and loved ones, and congratulations for this milestone,” she said.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

¡Mi Triunfo!

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Meet the Latino and Latina Power Houses that are gaining the world’s attention.

Patty Rodriguez

Patty Rodriguez is best known for her role as on-air talent for KIIS.FM’s morning show with Ryan Seacrest.

“I never saw myself on-the-air,” she tells HipLatina. After 13 years On Air With Ryan Seacrest, she finally became comfortable with telling stories of local heroes. “People on social media would always tell me, ‘oh you don’t have the voice for it’ and I guess I just believed it,” she adds. She didn’t pursue it for a long time because imposter syndrome was holding her back.

Rodriguez is co-founder of “Lil’ Libros”, a bilingual children’s publishing company, and founder of the “MALA by Patty Rodriguez” jewelry line.

Rodriguez found it difficult to find bilingual first concept books she could enjoy reading to her baby, and so she and her childhood friend Ariana Stein came up with the idea of “Lil’ Libros”.

Sources: Hiplatina.com, Lillibros.com, Malabypr.com

Sergio Perez

Mexican driver Sergio Pérez, also known as Checo Perez, has amassed more points than any other Mexican in the history of the F1. But Perez is yet to match his hero Pedro Rodriguez and take the chequered flag in first.

Perez recently committed to a long-term deal with Racing Point beyond 2021. Perez has been with the team since 2013, when he signed with the group, then called Force India. The group reformed as Racing Point in 2018.

“I feel very confident and very motivated with the team going forwards,” Perez said, “with how things are developing, with the future of this team, the potential I see.”

It was also recently announced that the Mexican Grand Prix, an FIA-sanctioned auto race held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, in Mexico City, will stay on the F1 calendar for the next three seasons.

“It was great news,” Perez said of the renewal. “It’s a massive boost on my side to know that for the next three years I’ll be racing home. Three more years to have an opportunity to make the Mexicans very proud.”

Source: formula1.com

Juanes

The 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala honored 23-time Latin GRAMMY and two-time GRAMMY-winning singer, composer, musician, and philanthropist Juanes for his creative artistry, unprecedented humanitarian efforts, support of rising artists, and philanthropic contributions to the world.

Juanes (born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez) is a Colombian musician whose solo debut album Fíjate Bien won three Latin Grammy Awards. According to his record label, Juanes has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.

Source: Latingrammy.com, Voanews.com

Remembering Silvio Horta

Silvio Horta, best known as an executive producer of the hit ABC television series Ugly Betty, died in January. He was 45. Horta was an American screenwriter and television producer widely noted for adapting the hit Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea into the hit series, which ran  2006–2010. Horta served as head writer and executive producer of the series.

Source: Wikipedia

Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Cinco De Mayo’s True History

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cinco de mayo

By Sarah Mosqueda

As we shift into warm, drinking-on-a-patio weather, you might be looking forward to celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo has become popularized as the drinking-on-a-patio holiday. But the origins of Cinco de Mayo have less to do with Tequila and more to do with unexpected victory.

“It really is an underdog story,” says Ruben Espinoza, Assistant Professor & Director of

Latinx and Latin American Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California.

Cinco de Mayo is often incorrectly billed as Mexican Independence Day, but that’s September 16. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla.

In the early 1860s after the Mexican Reform War, Mexico had fallen into debt to France, Britain and Spain. As a result, Mexican President Benito Juárez placed a moratorium on repayments of interest on foreign loans. This prompted Spain, Britain and France to send joint forces into Mexico. Spain and Britain withdrew, however, when they learned French Emperor, Napoleon III, was planning to overthrow the Juárez government and conquer Mexico. French troops, led by General Charles Ferdinand Latrille de Lorencez, headed toward Mexico City. But first they had to go through Puebla.

“The French forces were very equipped,” Espinoza says.

In contrast, the Mexican troops, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, were more of a militia than an army made up mostly of farmers. And yet, in a victorious battle that took place on May 5, 1862, Mexican forces beat the French.

Juárez wasted no time declaring the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla a national holiday known as “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo.” Some sources claim the declaration of the holiday was made as early as May 9, 1862.

“That battle wasn’t the end of the war,” Espinoza says, “France occupied Mexico for five years.”

The French retreated for a year but ultimately overtook Mexico when they returned in 1863, where they remained until 1867.

“And there is certainly French influence in Mexican culture today as result. For example, with the pastries,” says Espinoza.

Mexicans and Mexican Americans may have grown up dipping orejas in coffee or hot chocolate, but these crunchy, buttery pastries are known as palmiers, or “palm trees” in France where they originated.

Today, in the city of Puebla, more than 20,000 people celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a civic parade routed along Boulevard Cinco de Mayo. There is also a historic reenactment of the battle. But beyond Puebla, it isn’t a big holiday in modern Mexican culture.

“It is not celebrated on large scale in Mexico anywhere outside of Puebla,” Espinoza says.

Cinco de Mayo is a very popular holiday in the United Sates, however. There are several opinions about how it fell into favor here.

Some point to the fact that during the time period the Battle of Puebla took place, the United States was embroiled in its own Civil War. Napoleon III was rumored to have considered supporting the confederacy, and a French takeover of Mexico could have possibly made Mexico a Confederate-friendly country. The news of the victory of Battle of Puebla might have been a moral boost for West Coast Latinos living in free states.

Others believe President Roosevelt’s attempt to improve relations with Latin American countries with the creation of the “Good Neighbor Policy” in 1933 may have had an influence. The holiday was also claimed by Latino civil rights activists in the 1960s as a way to celebrate their heritage.

Beginning in the 1980s and on into the aughts, liquor and beer companies began to capitalize on the holiday as way to market to Spanish speaking audiences.

Fast forward to present day, where Cinco de Mayo has become predominately associated with margaritas and sombrero-wearing.

But Espinoza stresses Cinco de Mayo isn’t a time to perpetuate inaccurate Mexican stereotypes.

“Wearing a costume isn’t celebrating someone’s culture,” he says, “It’s actually demeaning it…don’t treat is an opportunity to wear a costume that you think represents a population of an ethnic community.”

There are actually plenty of respectful ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo that don’t involve drinking or fake mustaches.

Often, museums and parks in areas with large Hispanic populations host family friendly activities on the 5th of May. For example, Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, hosts an annual Cinco de Mayo Festival that features traditional Folklorico dancing and Mariachi music performances, along with face painting and crafts.

“We will be having a Cinco de Mayo event at Chapman,” Espinoza said, “And one of the good things about having it on a university campus is there is going to be a lecture to go along with the celebration.”

The city of Los Angeles sponsored a Cinco de Mayo Parade & Festival at Oakwood Recreation Park in Venice, California, as well. The festival included Aztec Dancers, Mariachi, a classic car show, the Venice High School Band and of course, Mexican food.

“It’s a holiday that is big in US now,” Espinoza says, “and it seems like it’s here to stay. As individuals, it is important for us to learn some of that history.”

Mellon Foundation Announces $4 Million Emergency Relief Grant to the American Indian College Fund in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

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American Indian College Fund students talking with each other

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced a $4 million grant to the American Indian College Fund to support college students whose educational progress has been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are engines of opportunity—propelled by a cadre of dedicated educators and administrators—many lack the resources needed to deploy information technology tools, student services, and other solutions at the scale needed by their students during the COVID-19 pandemic. TCUs have been disproportionately and devastatingly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to historical inequities, structural and enrollment-related challenges, and overly burdened institutional financial aid budgets. The Mellon Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts to allocate resources and ensure that aid is delivered to students most in need.

“Tribal Colleges and Universities are central to our nation’s fabric and critical to its future. The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the societal and structural challenges that many of these institutions have long confronted, and we are committed to doing all that we can to support them and the students they serve,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander.

Even in better times, many students at these institutions face impediments to their individual well-being and academic progress. As campuses have closed in efforts to contain the virus’s spread, undergraduate and graduate students struggle to navigate these unprecedented times.

According to the Tribal Colleges and Universities #RealCollege Survey report published this March, 29 percent of TCU student survey respondents were homeless at some point in the prior 12 months, almost 62 percent were food insecure in the prior 30 days, and 69 percent faced housing insecurity in the prior 12 months.

“The College Fund appreciates the ways that the Mellon Foundation has demonstrated leadership in its support of tribal colleges and has shown care for the well-being of our students and their families during this crisis,” said American Indian College Fund President Cheryl Crazy Bull. “Our students are not only the backbone of their families, they are our hope for the future— through their perseverance and creativity, our tribal communities will survive this pandemic and bring prosperity to our society.”

The American Indian College Fund will distribute the emergency funds to its network of tribal colleges so that they can address immediate and pressing needs related to the pandemic and provide persistence resources to support new and returning students in the summer and fall of 2020 and beyond as determined necessary. Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education. In addition to providing thousands of scholarships to Native American students, the College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations.

Members of the public may add their support by making individual contributions on the American Indian College Fund’s website. 

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seeks to strengthen, promote, and defend the centrality of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse, fair, and democratic societies. To this end, our core programs support exemplary and inspiring institutions of higher education and culture. Additional information is available at mellon.org.

About the American Indian College Fund—Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $208 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

Photo: American Indian College Fund Photo

6 ways to learn a foreign language for free while you’re sheltering in place for COVID-19

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woman sitting at table using laptop

Your always-home lifestyle presents an unparalleled opportunity to expand your language skills. Why not go immersive? French radio! German podcasts! Italian recipes for dinner!

Or, you know, just brush up. Much of the world is stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now, the best intensive language programs in the world are free:

  • Rosetta Stone. The grandfather of language companies is offering free three-month subscriptions to learn any of 22 languages.
  • Babbel. The course hub just opened up three months of free classes in a dozen languages.
  • Fable Cottage. These fun audio and video stories in French, German, Spanish, and Italian are usually locked under subscription, but are now freely accessible.
  • Conjuguemos. This teachers’ mecca of games, activities, and worksheets in seven languages (including Latin and Korean) is perfect for building an awesome curriculum of the nuts and bolts—verbs, grammar, and vocab. Free during the outbreak.
  • iCulture. Don’t miss Carnegie Learning’s immersion package of videos, articles, and songs in French, Spanish, or German, which are free through June.
  • Mango. The company provides high-speed learning in 70 languages for companies and schools. Its online language portal is freely accessible.

Bonne chance!

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Seize Your Online Education During Isolation

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virtual classroom with chairs covering a keyboard

As almost every university has closed its doors due to the repercussions of COVID-19, professors and students alike have taken to online schooling to finish their semesters.

Despite the stereotype of online schooling versus an in-classroom experience, so many tools have been implemented that allow students to still receive a quality education. Tools, such as Zoom Video Communications Inc, is one of the most popular tools in classroom communication. Students can log in to this webcam-based program and interact with their professors and peers in this lecture-based setting. Uploaded online lectures, unlike in-person lectures, allow for rewinding and pausing, should the student need more time to take notes or understand the topic.

Professors can also experience a variety of benefits from the online classroom. Programs like Cisco’s Webex have features that allow professors and students to have a more trusted form of education. Students can message questions to their professors on the app, and the professor can choose to answer the question to the entire class or answer the question privately. Professors can also use resources like Cisco to save their lecture notes and make them available to students who couldn’t keep up with the notes.

At this time, the materials needed for a quality online education are being offered in the form of free trials, discounted prices and even free resources. Google, for instance, recently announced it would be offering free hangout sessions equipped for a large number of people wanting to use Google for educational purposes.

The ease of online education accompanied with the current low prices invite students and those who having been contemplating going back to school to continue their education in an easy-to-use, low-stress environment.

Natalie Rodgers
Diversity in STEAM Magazine contributing writer

Here’s Everything That’s Happened With Your Student Loans In 2 Weeks

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Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education loans

In case you missed it, there have been major changes regarding your student loans. President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which includes a $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus health emergency.

Among other benefits, the CARES Act has major implications for the way you pay your student loans, think about student loan forgiveness, and manage your money during Coronavirus.

Fortunately, let’s make it easy for you and put all the updates in one place so you’re up to speed. Here are the major changes:

Student Loans

President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which is a $2 trillion stimulus package that provides economic relief as a result of COVID-19. The CARES Act includes several benefits for your student loans, which are intended to help you manage your money due to the coronavirus emergency. Among other benefits, the CARES Act provides:

1. Stop paying your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

That’s not a typo. You can stop paying your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

What This Means: This means that you have the option to stop paying your federal student loans. If you choose this option (and you don’t have to), you will not face any penalties or late fees.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This doesn’t mean you can stop paying all your student loans. Remember, this is only for federal student loans that are owned by government agencies such as Direct Loans. However, this does not include private student loans or FFEL Loans.

2. Pay no interest on federal student loans.

What This Means: This is not a typo either. Through September 30, 2020, no interest will accrue on your federal student loans. This means that for this period, the interest rate will be set to 0% and no new interest will accrue on your federal student loan balance.

What This Does Not Mean: This only applies to federal student loans only, not private student loans or FFEL Loans.

3. Student loan debt collection has been halted.

What This Means: This means that wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits will not be garnished during this period to pay for federal student loans. Trump previously stopped student loan debt collection for 60 days.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This does not mean the federal government is forgetting about student loan debt that is in default. Rather, the federal government has suspended student loan debt collection during this period.

4. Pausing student loan payments won’t negatively impact your payments for student loan forgiveness.

What This Means: If you choose to pause federal student loan payments during this period, the federal government will still count these “payments” (even if you don’t make any) as part of any required federal student loan forgiveness program, including public service loan forgiveness.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This doesn’t mean that you will hurt your chances to qualify for public service loan forgiveness because the 120 payments do not need to be consecutive.

Important Questions

1. If I don’t have to make federal student loan payments, is the federal government paying my student loans for me?

No. Your federal student loan balance will not change. Consider this a break from student loan payment. However, no one is paying your federal student loans during this period.

2. Is all my federal student loan interest being waived?

No, your existing federal student loan interest will remain. The only portion that is being waived is new student loan interest that would have accrued on your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

3. Can I still make federal student loan payments if I want to?

Yes, you can still make federal student loan payments. Even though your interest rate is 0%, your monthly student loan payment unfortunately will not be lower. Rather, your student loan payment can help pay off your existing student loan balance (since there is no new interest accrual).

4. So, how much student loan forgiveness will I get?

Many borrowers ask, “What should I know about student loan forgiveness and Coronavirus?” Senate Democrats proposed a student loan forgiveness plan that would forgive at least $10,000 of federal student loans for all borrowers. House Democrats proposed that every borrower receive $30,000 of student loan forgiveness. Former Vice President Joe Biden supports $10,000 of student loan forgiveness, although this new plan differs from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s original student loan forgiveness plan to cancel student loan debt. Despite these proposals, the CARES Act does not include any student loan forgiveness.

5. I checked my student loan servicer’s website and it says that if I stop making payments on my federal student loans, I won’t qualify for public service loan forgiveness. This must be wrong.

Since this legislation is new, many student loan servicers have not yet updated their website to reflect these updates. (Also, make sure you know how not to get disqualified for student loan forgiveness).

Remember, this announcement applies only to federal student loans (not private student loans).

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

From Wilhemina Model To Skid Row

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Former Wilhemina Model pictured talking homeless woman on a sidewalk holding a pet

Iliana Belinc, a first-generation Mexican American, shares her inspiring journey from life in the fast lane as a model, to founding a groundbreaking nonprofit – PalsNPets – that supports homeless people and their pets with the belief that anyone with the right support and motivation can make a change – either within their own life, or within the lives of others.

By Tracy Yasinni

Iliana Belinc lived a seemingly glamourous life as a model signed with the legendary Wilhelmina Agency. However, the reality behind the makeup, clothes, and travel to exotic locations was much darker. She struggled with alcoholism, eventually putting both her personal and professional life in jeopardy.

At the most challenging time for the model, she happened to see a trivial incident that ultimately inspired PalsNPets, a nonprofit established to help homeless pet owners and their pets. She shares, “As I was crossing the street, I saw a homeless man sitting with his pet dog beside him. I asked myself the natural question: Why would a homeless person keep a dog – it must make life harder on them both?”

As she passed, a stranger stopped to pet the dog, and he and the homeless man exchanged natural, genuine smiles. This interaction opened her eyes to the positive energy a pet can bring to the life of someone who has almost nothing. It seemed to tap into an awareness just beneath the surface, an understanding of the importance of dogs to the lives of humans.

Fashion Photoshoot in Tulum with Iliana Belinc holding a surfboard
liana Belinc Fashion Photoshoot In Tulum, Mexico

Iliana grew up in Los Angeles, alongside three sisters, as a first-generation Mexican Americans. After high school, she began studying at college, with the dream of gaining a PHD in psychology.

In addition to the eye-opening chance encounter, she also credits her own grandfather’s capacity for compassion and bond with dogs. He rescued and cared for stray dogs in their native Mexico – a culture that didn’t see his actions as the norm for that time. Iliana notes, “I know he’d be proud that family members who after years of being unconnected are now involved with PalsNPets. Together, we’ve found a deep healing energy in the work of helping others; this energy continues to attract people who join us in our efforts.”

If there’s a message to take away, it’s that anyone with the right support and motivation can make a change – either within their own life, or within the lives of others.

PalsNPets also works to break down barriers and change perceptions, just as her grandfather did. Inspired by her grandfather’s compassion for the stray dogs no one cared about, PalsNPets has become successful very quickly. At times, she feels that PalsNPets wasn’t truly her idea at all, but a continuation of the work her grandfather began over seventy years ago.

For more information about PalsnPets visit, PalsnPets.org

Adelfa Callejo sculpture, Dallas’ first of a Latina, expected to land downtown in Main Street Garden park

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bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo

The bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo, a staunch civil rights advocate believed to be the first practicing Latina lawyer in Dallas, will soon land in a downtown park — right next to the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law and the municipal court building.

A Dallas City Council committee on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 sculpture as a donation with plans to place it in Main Street Garden. It would be Dallas’ first sculpture of a Latina, according to city staffers.

Dallas city officials and the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board agreed to the new location after Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano quietly delayed the plan to place it in the lobby of the Dallas Love Field Airport, which is in his district. Medrano didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the donation at its Feb. 12 meeting. The board wanted to tie the sculpture’s public unveiling to the six-year anniversary of Callejo’s death, which was in January 2014, after a battle with brain cancer.

The foundation’s board commissioned the roughly 1,000-pound piece by Mexican artist Germán Michel shortly after she died. It is currently being stored in a Dallas warehouse.

Callejo’s nephew J.D. Gonzales said he was thrilled the sculpture will be downtown near the university, where it’ll be visible to students and attest to her trailblazing in education and law.

“I hope that what Adelfa stood for, and what she did and what she accomplished lives on forever,” Gonzales said.

Monica Lira Bravo, chairwoman of the Botello-Callejo Foundation Board, said she met with Medrano and Council member Omar Narvaez last month to discuss where to place the sculpture.

Lira Bravo said she suggested Main Street Garden Park as an alternative after the two council members expressed concerns over the Dallas Love Field Airport option.

Continue on to the Dallas Morning News to read the complete article.