AUSTIN, TX — Everyone’s path to success is different, but Melissa Ortiz believes that nonprofits wouldn’t be on the right track. Con Mi Madre.
“They took me on my first college visit,” Ortiz said. “They made it very easy for us to try things out to get where we wanted to go.”
Ortiz was introduced to Con Mi Madre at the age of 12 at Mendez Middle School.
“It was during class time, so I think it was a privilege to be able to take time off from class to go to a session with this group,” Ortiz smiled as he reminisced.
College was always in her plans, but this organization helped Ortiz and her mother navigate a place that was new to them.
“This allowed her to be very involved in that and guided us both on what to expect,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz graduated from Texas State University with two bachelor’s degrees and then a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Now she is Director of Community Engagement and Engagement Cap Metro.
“My team’s job is to go out and be part of the community. Make sure we listen to what the community needs and how CapMetro can best serve them,” said Ortiz. says Mr.
Con Mi MADRE began in 1992 as a Hispanic mother-daughter program as a project of Austin’s Junior League. It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of Latino youth by enabling them to pursue a college education. The organization became an independent non-profit organization in 2008. Con Mi MADRE means “with mother” in Spanish and MADRE is an acronym for Mothers And Daughters Raising Expectations. It started as a group to help Latinas, but has since spread to everyone.
“What’s unique about us is that we support our students and work with adults who want to be part of the process as mothers and families,” said executive director Dr. Johanna Moya Fabregas.
Like most organizations in Texas, Con Mi MADRE was caught off guard by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
“At that point, I saw what would be a mental health crisis,” Fabregas said.
Con Mi MADRE has seen student engagement in the program begin to decline. Good grades and a motivated student were suddenly satisfied with just passing a class.
A board member of the organization told Spectrum News 1 that this is a common theme seen among other educational nonprofits in central Texas.
“When we looked a little deeper, we found that about 46% of students felt anxious and needed mental health support that they hadn’t considered before,” says Fábregas.
Nonprofit leaders also questioned whether a college education was worth it as they watched students undergo a philosophical shift.
Fabregas said organizations need to revamp their curricula to accommodate what students need by focusing on mental health first.
“We are stronger because we are meeting today’s needs,” she said.
The organization said the changes had consequences as student engagement began to rise again.
“We tell you who you are, what you have, your experiences, your family, and the experiences of your ancestors make you strong and resilient. “It gave them the tools to navigate this world. Once you build their self-esteem and self-esteem, the rest is just skill.”
http://www.spectrumlocalnews.com/tx/austin/news/2023/03/01/con-mi-madre-refocuses Pandemic Forces Texas Nonprofits to Shift Focus