Hispanic Women Share Inspiration, Hope and Resilience at The Inaugural Young Latina Talks

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For the first time, Today’s Inspired Latina (TIL), an internationally acclaimed book series highlighting the success stories of Latinas, invited several young Hispanic women to speak about their personal experiences on the stage of North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, Illinois.

"When I got on that stage and spoke at the Latina Talks, I thought it would be a great idea for the next generation to speak about their own experiences about bullying, respect, self-love, the loss of a parent, owning their power and about pressure. Your stories are impactful."

For the first time, Today’s Inspired Latina (TIL), an internationally acclaimed book series highlighting the success stories of Latinas, invited several young Hispanic women to speak about their personal experiences on the stage of North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, Illinois.

Shared on Facebook, a worldwide audience met 12 dynamic local high school and college-age speakers who displayed poise, grace and a positive energy. Taking the stage were Evelyn Lozano, Alondra Ivette Guevara, Arianna Urrutia, Gina Aridal Pardino, Giselle Gonzalez, Andrea Vallejo, Samantha Ante, Maria Clara Ospina, Daniela Limon, Yahayra Argueta, Erica Franco and Scarlett Magana.

Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, Today’s Inspired Latina’s creator, beamed with pride and joy as she explained that the event idea came from Elizabeth Colón-Rivera, a TIL author, who suggested that young Latinas do a Latina Talks event of their own after participating in one. Jelena Sánchez, assistant professor of Spanish, Modern Languages at North Central College and another TIL author, also helped Camacho-Ruiz in finding the location for these talks. With the stage set, Camacho-Ruiz immediately started planning.

“When things are aligned, they happen,” she said. “I began putting in a lot of ‘heart’ work—not hard work--to make this happen,” she said.

At the event, Colón-Rivera spoke about the powerful emotional impact that she experienced participating during a Latina Talks event. She was impressed by the resilience these presenters displayed.

"You are our next generation," she said. "When I got on that stage and spoke at the Latina Talks, I thought it would be a great idea for the next generation to speak about their own experiences about bullying, respect, self-love, the loss of a parent, owning their power and about pressure. Your stories are impactful. You have an amazing journey ahead of you.”

Additionally, the speakers were also vying for two college scholarships: a $1,000 Amazing Young Latina Scholarship and the newly created $500 Latina Leaders Scholarship awarded to a North Central College student. A panel of TIL Authors— Colón-Rivera, Sánchez, Neli Vazquez Rowland, Macarena Tamayo-Calabrese, Jeannette Lurdez Collazo and Tamika Lecheé Morales—chose Urrutia for the Amazing Young Latina Scholarship and Ospina for the Latina Leadership Scholarship.

Urrutia, a North Central College senior who is also expecting her first child, shared an emotional story about the loss of her father as a result of a drug-induced overdose. She explained how many individuals will endure obstacles in their lives but the ultimate factor is how they move forward.

"You are continuously going to be challenged in life and you are continuously going to have to make hard choices," she said. "One of those choices is going to be how you move on (in your life.) Regardless of what happens, you have to move on. You have to keep going forward. You know why? If you don't who is going to pay the bills, secure your future and take care your family. No one. You only have yourself."

Making this event possible were the following sponsors: Metaphrasis, Fig Factor Media Publishing, Conectando Corazones, North Central College, Urban Air Adventure Park, 1 2 3 Got My Job, Ollin Technology and Jeannette Lurdez Collazo.

For more information about Today’s Inspired Latina, visit: http://todayslatina.com.

About Today’s Inspired Latina:
Today’s Inspired Latina is a book series of inspiration and hope, a poignant collection of personal stories that will activate your passion. These are success stories that need to be told, to motivate our community and generations to come. By overcoming language barriers, self-doubts and other obstacles in their way, these strong Latinas are a great example of how inspiration and perseverance can lead you to happiness and success in business and life. It’s a positive, empowering read for anyone sitting on a dream and thinking it can’t come true. For more information, visit: http://todayslatina.com.

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Marie Lazzara
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