Class Captain and Mija of the Week – Laura Pepper

July 18, 2018

“I always believed that one Woman’s Success

can only help another Woman’s success” – Gloria Vanderbilt

Why do you love being part of Circle de Luz? And what has been one of your most memorable moments?

It has been magical to watch our girls gaining confidence and really coming into their own. We went horseback riding earlier this year and I was so proud of the way they pushed themselves to try something new and, for some of them, something like that was a little scary.

Watching them recognize their own transformation and growth, especially over the last year, has been an amazing privilege.

Tell us something about yourself

I recently finished grad school and enjoying the opportunity to do a bit more reading for fun these days. I love that Charlotte provides so many fantastic opportunities to be outside; whether it is working in my garden or walking the greenway, I am always happy after time outdoors.


Don’t miss your opportunity to be a change agent in the life of a young Latina girl. Sign up to be a Mija Today! Learn more by clicking on the link below.


Learn How YOU can become a MIJA!

A Life Changed Forever!

June 28, 2018

Leida, Class of 2016

When Leida first came to Circle de Luz one could describe her as a quiet and shy 7th grader. Throughout her 6-year journey with us, Leida got exposed to many developmental opportunities that ultimately would support her amazing transformation. In her High School senior year, an inspiring young woman stood at graduation full of dreams and aspirations ready to take on the world.

Leida knew in her mind and heart what her path needed to be. She attended Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC)  immediately after graduating from High School in 2016. During her 2-years at CPCC Leida explored many courses and left her mark as a passionate and empowered young woman. This past May, Leida graduated from CPCC with the honor of being part of the Dean’s list.

After all her hard work and commitment to her education, it was no surprise to hear that Leida was a recipient of the Golden Door Scholarship, a national merit based scholarship awarded to high performing DACA students. This scholarship would allow her to attend any private University of her choice in the near future. As she was looking at the road ahead, Leida applied to several Universities that would give her the opportunity to reach her objective of becoming an agent of change in her community.

We are excited to announce that Leida has accepted a full ride to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She will begin her first semester this upcoming fall, and is excited to pursue a career in Economics.

We couldn’t be prouder of the so many accomplishments Leida has achieved. We are so thankful for having the opportunity of being part of Leida’s growth from a shy, timid young girl, to an empowered, strong, and courageous young Latina woman. We know Leida has only begin to scratch the surface, and can’t wait to see what amazing changes she is capable of creating in our world.

Watch Leida’s Story!

We invite you to become part of the life of our girls! Find out how you can get involved by attending our upcoming Mija Recruitment Party. Click HERE to RSVP today.

Class Captain and Mija of the Week – Barbara Randolph

June 18, 2018

“Our greatest human adventure is the evolution

of Consciousness. We are in this life to enlarge

the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain”

– Tom Robbins


Why do you love being part of Circle de Luz?


I really do believe that positive change comes from women leading and to the extent we can empower young women and girls, we amplify that ability and power. Ground level work is critical however. Through Circle de Luz, I am convinced our efforts toward exposing the girls to new opportunities, giving them a safe space to express their concerns and views, and building their confidence to shape their goals and find their voice, we will launch a new generation of mentors and leaders.


What has been one of your most memorable memories?


One of my favorite memories of the year was watching the girls attempt the High Ropes course in Davidson College and push themselves newly, each in their own individual way. I noticed a big change from a shy and hesitant class on the first Out of School Program. I was thrilled to see them with a greater level of confidence to recognize a challenge and go for it.


Tell us something about yourself …  


My work today resides principally in advocating for the immigrant communities in the northern corridor, medical interpreting for the Ada Jenkins Medical Clinic, mentoring for Circle de Luz and Chidsey Leadership Fellows for Davidson College, Member of the Steering Committee for the Community Collaborative for Economic Mobility of Davidson, and member of the Precinct Dems 206 Team that seeks to gather and galvanize every Democrat and unaffiliated voter in the local and surrounding precincts leading to the state midterm elections in 2018, and then the big show in 2020—and beyond, in order to affect political change!  A personal passion my whole life? — Open Water swimmer, distance runner, rower!  Those things have kept me sane.


Don’t miss your opportunity to be a change agent in the life of a young Latina girl. Sign up to be a mija today! Learn more by clicking on the link below.


Learn How YOU can become a MIJA!


Class Captain and Mija of the Week – Danielle Kosir

June 5, 2018


“One person can make a difference,

And Everyone should Try” – John F. Kennedy


Why do you love being part of Circle de Luz?

I joke that I didn’t choose Circle de Luz – it chose me. I learned about the organization a few years ago while I was working as a reporter for a local TV station. I was assigned to do a story about Circle de Luz and spent a day interviewing a class captain, an hija and immersing myself in the organization’s mission. I remember getting goosebumps when the class captain got teary eyed during the interview – she showed so much love for the hijas and genuinely cared about their success. With its long-term class captain commitment and small class sizes, the organization is intentionally designed to allow for intense, holistic mentoring of young Latinas. Let’s face it – middle and high school can be brutal. I’m so grateful we have the opportunity to walk with – and support – these young women through this phase of their life. This design also allows for the program to have a multi-generational impact, which resonates with me personally. I’m half-Latina, and the daughter of a former immigrant worker. My mom never let a day pass without giving me what she never had – the freedom to dream big and the resources to turn my dreams into a reality. As a class captain, I’m grateful for the opportunity help empower these young women, just as my mom empowered me. Goosebumps-worthy, indeed!

What has been one of your most memorable memories?

My favorite memory from the past year was our trip to the ice skating rink in Uptown. None of the hijas had ever been ice skating, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. I loved seeing the hijas come out of their comfort zone and come together on the rink, leaning on one another for strength. I don’t think any of us stopped smiling that day.

Tell us something about yourself…

I’m the proud mom of a spunky son, and two spoiled dogs. My perfect day would include reading by the pool, riding my bike on the greenway and playing board games.

Don’t miss your opportunity to be a change agent in the life of a young Latina girl. Sign up to be a mija today! Learn more by clicking on the link below

Learn How YOU can become a MIJA!


Circle de Luz Seeks 80 New Mijas by August 15th

June 1, 2018

Circle de Luz is excited to announce the addition of a new class of hijas. We will partner again with Eastway Middle School to create the Class of 2024.

Our organization radically empower young Latinas through extensive mentoring, holistic programming, and scholarship funds for further education. Circle de Luz was founded to combat some difficult statistics surrounding young Latinas. One in five women in the United States is a Latina and, in Charlotte, Latinas are the fastest growing segment of our student population. Yet, daunted by poverty and lack of access, one in five Latinas does not complete high school and just 19% of Latina women have a college degree. The gravity of these statistics is amplified when factoring in that by 2060, one-third of the female population will be Latina.

When the participants graduate from high school, each is supported with a minimum $5,000 scholarship. To fulfill its commitment, Circle de Luz relies primarily on giving circle donations from women, called mijas (a Spanish term of endearment for girlfriends).  Mijas can hail from anywhere in the world, be any age, and from any background. Each mija commits to contributing a minimum of $100 per year for each year the girls are in the program—from seventh grade to high school graduation.

We know that when women and their families come together driving ONE pivotal mission, we are able to create monumental change in the communities we love. We invite you to be part of this change!

To support Circle de Luz’s ambitious goal of welcoming eight girls in the Class of 2024, at least 80 mijas will need to join the giving circle

Class Captain and Mija of the Week

May 30, 2018

“To make a difference in someone’s life
You don’t have to be
Brilliant, Rich, Beautiful, Or Perfect.
You just have to CARE.” – Unknown


This week we are highlighting one of our Super Heroes, Meghan Maciag! Meghan is Class Captain and Mija for our wonderful class of 2021. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, for all that you do and for giving your time to make a HUGE difference in the lives of our girls.

Why do you love being a part of Circle De Luz? 

When I think of what I can do to make the world a better place, it’s all about starting small. I remember how much I was influenced by mentors when I was in middle and high school.  It was the personal relationship I had with them – the time they took to sit and listen to me, those one off conversations, and the constant encouragement I received. This program is so inspiring because it is starting small and changing the world one Hija at a time.  

What has been one of your most memorable memories?

One of the most memorable programs for me so far was about bullying.  The girls were so open about personal experiences or situations they’ve witnessed.  It was very uplifting to hear them work through potential responses together and provide encouragement to each other.  They are making deep and supportive connections with each other and the volunteers that they can lean on for years to come.   

Tell us something about yourself…

I love making homemade cards and most recently took up watercoloring on cards.  My grandmother was an artist and as a child we would sew and paint together.  It’s been fun tapping back into my creative side after all these years.


Don’t miss your opportunity to be a change agent in the life of a young Latina girl. Sign up to be a mija today! Learn more by clicking on the link below 

Learn How YOU can become a MIJA!



Circle de Luz Is Now Hiring!

March 1, 2018

Last summer, the Circle de Luz Board of Directors met to draft our strategic plan for the next three years.  As part of our vision, we want to grow our impact in Charlotte, welcoming in at least twice as many girls to the program in the Fall of 2019. With just our current five classes, we already execute close to 70 programs a year so a critical factor in our ability to expand our impact is growing our staff to handle the additional programs and support needed to best serve our hijas and their families.  We have spent this year fundraising (and continue to do so) and are now ready to hire a Program and Communications Manager.

Please find the job description attached and share with folks who might be interested in supporting an important mission, alongside an incredible board and volunteers, all while working with inspiring young women and their families.

The ideal candidate will have that magical combination of hyper detail-orientation, ability to quickly pivot when the need arises, creative problem solving, and heart-centered leadership.  The position is a 25-hour/week role with some ability, once established, to work remotely, although there is occasional weekend and evening work required. Candidates are encouraged to follow the application instructions on the attached posting and apply ASAP – we’ll begin interviewing in mid-March and hope to fill the position by the end of April.

Thank you so much for sharing this opportunity with the creative people in your life who are self-starters and strong leaders and would enjoy a fast-paced, purposeful work environment.

All the best,

Circle de Luz Board of Directors

Program and Communication Manager Job Description


Celebrating 10 Years!

September 15, 2017

This year, Circle de Luz is celebrating 10 years of radically empowering young Latinas, and the profound work that we are doing has never been more important. If you have wondered if, together, we’re making a difference, watch what our hijas had to say when we asked them:

circle de luz from Ken Shermer on Vimeo.

You Are Invited To Help Us Celebrate!

In our 10th year, we are even more focused on our commitment to provide educational access and personal empowerment to young women who are too often overlooked in our society. To help us expand our reach, we are launching a 10 for 10 effort this year where we’ll host 10 different awareness building and fundraising events to yield at least $50,000 to grow our staff and expand our impact.

Some of the events are local to Charlotte but others will be open to all of our donors around the world! We hope you will consider joining us in these efforts as YOU have been instrumental in our growth and success! Please save the date, share these opportunities with others and join us in sparking a life! More information to follow on some of the 2018 events.


Salsa Dancing on Friday, September 29th

When: 9pm Dance Lesson / 10pm Social Dancing
Where: Infinity Ballroom – 4038 Old Pineville Road, CharlotteJoin us for a fun night of salsa dancing with Rumbao Latin Dance! Proceeds of Noche de Sabor will benefit Circle de Luz. Music by DJ Chan. $10 cover.

Sip and Shop on Wednesday, October 11th

When: 5:30 – 7:30pm
Where: Fashion and Compassion Boutique – 1717 Cleveland Ave, CharlotteCome enjoy sips and snacks while shopping an amazing fall collection of jewelry and accessories created by women from around the world. A portion of proceeds will benefit Circle de Luz. 

Holiday Giving Party on Tuesday, November 14th

When: 6:00 – 8:30pm
Where: The Mayobird – 1531 East Blvd, CharlotteGet your holiday shopping done early! This is your chance to score gift certificates and fabulous items from Charlotte-area businesses and makers at a below retail price. 100% of proceeds benefit Circle de Luz.

#GivingTuesdayCLT on Tuesday, November 14th

When: November 14th – 28th
Where: Event will take place online! Stay tuned for URLCircle de Luz has joined the movement to raise awareness about the state of need in Charlotte, and we hope you will join us through donations or pledging your volunteer time. More info to follow!

A Heart for Giving throughout the month of December

Celebrate those in your life with a heart for giving by honoring them with an alternative gift. You will receive an acknowledgement card to share with the gift recipient letting them know about the donation made in their honor. These make great stocking stuffers! 

Cycle for Circle in January

Join us to sweat it out at a spin class benefiting Circle de Luz. 

Letter Writing Campaign in February

Our annual fund plea for support will be hitting the mailboxes throughout the month. 

NCAA Basketball Bracket-pa-looza in March

Enter a March Madness bracket competition for the men’s or women’s NCAA basketball tournament. Make a donation and earn a chance to split the pot with Circle de Luz. 

Fitness & Food in April

A month of bootcamps and yoga classes for the fitness fiends, and opportunities to dine out for the foodies, all benefiting the work of Circle de Luz. Locations and dates coming soon!

Ten Year Celebration Gala on Thursday, May 3rd

Our capstone fundraising event — come help us celebrate 10 years of amazing work, and help us lay the foundation for many more years of empowering young Latinas!


August 23, 2017

Are you looking for a deliberate way to spark powerful, positive change in the world? Join Circle de Luz in our mission to empower young Latinas through confidence-building experiences and educational access. We support our members from 7th grade until high school graduation with extensive mentoring, holistic programming and a scholarship to support their further education. For just $100 a year for each of the six years that a girl is in our program, you can be the spark that makes inner strength, possibility, and hope catch fire in a girl suddenly emboldened by her possibilities.  If 30 more women join our circle by August 30th, we’ll be able to welcome 8 girls into our Class of 2023 this fall! Complete this Letter of Commitment to join us.

Join Us In Investing In Women

July 11, 2017

By 2060, a 1/3 of the female population in the United States will be Latina. Today, one in 4 female students is Latina; yet, daunted by poverty, racism, and access, one in five Latinas do not complete high school by age 29 and just 19% of Latina women have a college degree.


What we know to be true is that when women are empowered, whole communities prosper. If we want the world to be healthy and whole, we have to invest in Latina women. Yet, just one cent out of every dollar a foundation grants in North Carolina goes to Latino issues. If we are going to create positive change, it comes down to people like you and me deciding that everyone deserves to be invested in.

Circle de Luz provides an easy way for each one of us to invest in the lives of girls, helping them to gain the confidence, knowledge, and experiences they need to live the lives they imagine and break the cycle of poverty. With a mission to radically empower young Latinas by supporting their transformation through extensive mentoring, holistic programming and scholarship funds for further education, we do our work by selecting a small cohort group of Latinas in seventh grade whom we then follow until high school graduation. During the six years of the program, we offer the girls holistic, dynamic programming and thoughtful mentoring. In addition, we guarantee each girl a minimum of $5,000 scholarship when she graduates from high school and pursues further education.

You can support our Class of 2023 with a minimum of a $100 a year donation for each of the six years that they will be in our program (for a total of $600). This money is pooled with donations from other individuals across the world to create a vibrant giving circle that funds the $5000 scholarships our hijas receive when they graduate.

Are you ready to join the circle? Complete this Letter of Commitment and return it to or PO Box 2, Davidson, NC 28036. No payment is due at this time- you will receive a pledge reminder in the fall.

Won’t you join us in investing in young women so we can dynamically change the world?