This past Saturday night, the Living Coast Discovery Center held an overnight event for MANA de San Diego’s Hermanitas program. This national Latina organization aims to empower young Latina women by enhancing their leadership skills, promoting educational achievement, achieving Latina economic parity, having a voice in all political decisions, and promoting a healthier Latina community while addressing social concerns. Katelyn and I felt so honored to be able to present our stories to this group of young women about how we got to where we are today. Due to the fact that these girls were an older audience than we were used to, it was easier to connect with them and it was obvious that they were really taking in all that Katelyn and I were saying. Some asked for advice about choosing their college career, while others asked what they could do to get an internship like the one we have. After our presentation, the girls were divided into three groups and we led them on a night bird hike on the refuge. Although Katelyn and I had done this at another overnight event in the past with a younger group of girls, we felt so much more prepared this time. I noticed myself feeling more confident in pointing out the different types of plants and describing the history of the refuge. I was glad that questions were being asked as well, because it made me feel assured that Katelyn and I were keeping things interesting. In addition, two of the girls that helped us with the girl scout event a couple weeks ago were at this event, and it was so nice to see them again and realize how much they are involved with all these different programs. At the end of the night, the coordinator of the MANA program said a couple thank you’s to all who helped out, and Katelyn and I were so surprised to receive a thank you gift from her as well. She gave us a nice journal, with a thank you card signed by all the leaders of the MANA program. I felt so appreciative for being able to meet all these dedicated women with whom I share the same culture, and just being able to hear all their career aspirations and how I could be such an influence on them.

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