In 2007, while touring the country publicizing her new book Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, author Rosie Molinary was asked again and again “What I can I do to help?” in reference to the daunting challenges many young Latinas face. Determined to provide a concrete answer, Molinary conceived of a women’s giving circle that would provide scholarship incentives and mentoring and programming support to middle school Latinas so that they would be encouraged to complete high school and pursue further education. As an educator, the director of a college community service program, and the founding member of a nonprofit initiative in her own community, Molinary had witnessed firsthand the power of education on girls self-confidence and self-efficacy. And she hoped that with the financial and personal support of a dedicated group of women across the country, young Latinas would begin to find strength to pursue their lives to the fullest.
In March 2008, the first Circle de Luz board of directors meeting took place, and the program is currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina. In October 2008, we choose our first Circle de Luz class, eight young women from James Martin Middle School supported by 56 women from around the country. In October 2009, we chose our second Circle de Luz class, six young women from Ranson Middle School supported by 51 women from around the country. In the Fall of 2010, we chose our third Circle de Luz class at our newest partner school, Albemarle Road Middle School. That class of six is supported by 53 women from around the country. In the Fall of 2013, we will add our fourth Circle de Luz class. Those students will hail from James Martin Middle School. We are currently recruiting mijas to support that class.