Latinos have the highest dropout rate of all racial and ethnic groups.
Dropouts have an average annual income of $22,000. College graduates will earn $2.1million in a lifetime.
Adolescent girls who had a serious school failure- like dropping out- are significantly more likely to suffer a severe bout of depression. In fact, thirty-three percent of girls who drop out later become depressed.
Latinas between the ages of 12-17 are more likely to attempt to take their life than any other group. Twenty-five percent say they have thought about it. Fifteen percent have attempted suicide.
A third of Latinas who dropped out cited marriage or pregnancy as the reason.
Fifty-three percent of Latinas will become pregnant at least once before the age of 20.
In Charlotte, the issues facing young Latinos are equally staggering. In a survey completed by 1500 CMS high school students in 2007, 21 percent of Latino students reported binge drinking in the previous 30 days. Thirteen percent had sex before the age of thirteen. Eighteen percent had attempted suicide in the previous twelve months.
Launched in 2008 to address these troubling statistics, Circle De Luz radically empowers young Latinas by supporting and inspiring them in the pursuit of their possibilities through extensive mentoring, programming, and scholarship funds for further education.
Conceived while Rosie Molinary, author of Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, was promoting her book, Circle de Luz not only gives girls the financial means to pursue an educational program of their choice after high school graduation, the organization also provides the girls with six years of dynamic programming and mentoring. As a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher and Davidson College administrator, Molinary has witnessed firsthand the power of education on girls’ self-confidence and self-efficacy.
This fall, Circle de Luz will select the second Circle de Luz class from the seventh grade class at Ranson Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina. From September 2009 until the girls reach high school graduation, Circle de Luz supports them with mentoring and comprehensive programming to help them achieve their goal of graduating from high school and pursuing further education. When they graduate from high school and enroll in the educational opportunity of their choice, Circle de Luz awards them with a minimum of a $5,000 scholarship provided to them by women, called M’ijas, from all over the country that pool their resources in a giving circle for the six years the girls are finishing their secondary education. M’ijas can have any background and can live anywhere. They make a commitment to donate a minimum of $90 a year for six years to the scholarship fund that will support the Class of 2015’s Hijas (our scholarship recipients who are selected as seventh graders).
Our inaugural Circle de Luz class of eight, currently rising eighth graders at James Martin Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, is supported by 55 M’ijas from Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, New Jersey, and New York. Our goal this year is to have at least 90 women enrolled as M’ijas for the Class of 2015 by August 30, 2009, yielding a minimum of 10 scholarships.
Can you become one of the women who will empower the Circle de Luz Class of 2015? If so, please complete our Letter of Commtiment.