Hispanic students from Jefferson Parish learn leadership at retreat

puentes_1     I was so honored to have attended the recent LatiNola Youth retreat sponsored by Puentes New Orleans Inc.
     In four days, I was able to learn more about my culture and build my leadership skills while visiting Mississippi and Tennessee. What a warm feeling it was to be surrounded by 13 other teens, ages 14-18, from L.W. Higgins, West Jefferson, Bonnabel and Grace King high schools, as well as one Loyola University New Orleans student.
    All of us cared and were eager to learn about our cultures by participating in leadership building activities, hiking in the Holmes County State Park in central Mississippi and visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Tennessee.  
    The LatiNola Youth Leadership Council takes the time to understand who we are and teaches us how to get through most of life’s struggles. The council feels like my second family. I will never forget the memories and friends I made on retreat. I thank everyone for allowing me to have had this life-changing experience.
puentes_2     The activities were varied and included discussions on identity and diversity, the role of leaders in their communities, the importance of working with others, the history of social movements with a focus on the American Civil Rights Movement, and several team-building and trust-building activities.
    LatiNola is a program of Puentes New Orleans, Inc. Puentes is a non-profit Latin-run community development organization that began in 2007 with the help of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. It offers programs in asset building, leadership development, professional development, and civic engagement. LatiNola is the civic engagement program through which LatiNola Youth Leadership Council is operated.
    Amanda Analiesse Mancilla is  a senior at Bonnabel Magnet High School in Kenner.