Mother’s Day at Con Mi MADRE: A daughter’s letter to her mother

Dear Mommy,

​Thank you for everything.

​Thank you for making this building around us a home that protects our wonderful family. Thank you for making it clear that we will still be a family, even when I move away for school. Thank you for encouraging education. Thank you for empowering me. I would not be the person I am today without a mother like you.

As a mother, you have done so much more than give birth to me, feed me, and give me a place to live. Your love has shown me what it means to be a good person and how to care for others. Your support has given me the courage to branch out and try new things. By joining Con Mi MADRE you gave us the opportunity to have many important conversations—about education, bullying communication, the future. Con a I MADRE has brought us together at time we might have been working individually, on homework or planting flowers. Con Mi MADRE has been informative, supportive, and, most importantly, a good reason for us to spend time together thinking about and learning about important ideas for the future.

While we occasionally disagree, 95 percent of the time, you are my biggest supporter, and I know you will always be my strongest advocate. I see how hard you work, at school and at home, and I strive to be as strong as you, as perseverant as you, as loving as you.

​I’m sad that I will be leaving home in just over three months, but I am ecstatic about what lies ahead. And you helped prepare me for these adventures. I know we will continue to have a loving and supportive relationship, no matter how far apart we are. You have taught me and shown me how to live as a daughter of God.

​I am immensely grateful for all of our conversations and all the time we spend together. I am so happy to be able to call you Mom. Today is your day, so take a deep breath (because daughters can give advice too, right?), relax, and don’t worry too much. We are together as a family, and that’s what matters most (and, to make it better, we know I’m going to college next year!). Happy Mother’s Day!

Love and hugs always,

Frankie Marchan

Con Mi MADRE participant, Class of 2015

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Mother’s Day at Con Mi MADRE: An alumna’s perspective

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In just a few short days I will be celebrating my very First Mother’s day, the thought of this is very exciting and surreal. For the past 25 years all I have done is made one special lady, My Mami, feel special. This year we will not only will be celebrate but we will share this special day now both being MOTHER’S.

My Mami has been my biggest supporter, my true friend, and my role model. She has taught me that being humble, hard working, honest, loving and caring will open doors for me and will allow me to grow into a person who will have potential to reach anything and everything I set my mind to. She moved to this country 21 years ago along with my father, my sister and I. She made many sacrifices and did everything in her power to ensure that our family be educated and successful.

One of the many things she did, for me and my sisters, was joined Con Mi MADRE, back then known as the Hispanic Mother Daughter Program. I’m sure that when she joined she had no idea the incredible impact it would have in the future of all three of her daughters. Con Mi MADRE was the light that guided my Mami and I through the college process making me the first in our Family to achieve a bachelors and a masters degree from a four year University. Because of Con Mi MADRE my mother and I had the opportunity to become educated together, to understand that her support was vital to my success, and for me to personally know that in this world there will never be anyone that will support me and love me as much as my Mami does and always will.

As I think about what type of mother I want to be and how I want my daughter to view me, all I can honestly say is “I want to be to her, what my Mami has been for me”. Those words sound very simple but have so much responsibility, love, and commitment attached to them. I have a long road ahead of me since Karlie is only 5 months old but I am ready for the challenge.

To all our Con Mi MADRE Mom’s and specially to Connie Suarez, my Mami, Thank you for holding our hands, having our backs and walking through this Con Mi MADRE journey with us. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

With love,

Karen Gonzalez, LMSW

Con Mi MADRE

Lead Program Coordinator

Mother’s Day at Con Mi MADRE: A board members perspective

My mom is my world.

My mom is the magnet in my compass and has been since I can remember. I watched my single, working mom with three children do it all. She packed lunches, attended sports games, volunteered at school, proofread homework, read bedtime stories, stuck encouraging notes in our books or in our lunch bags and most days managed to wake up early to do her yoga. Those were crazy, chaotic, hectic days but we survived because of her. She was and still very much is my personal on-call-24/7- drop-everything-to-get-on-a-plane-to-me superwoman. I am grateful for her every minute of everyday.

Two years ago I learned I was to become a mother to my own daughter. I worried a lot. My mom set a high standard and I thought for nine-months about all the ways my mom made me feel special and how I’d duplicate her style of mothering for my daughter. How was I ever going to do it all? I soon found out. The arrival of Eliza Mae gave me access into a world I’d never known, a mother’s club. On May 24, 2013 I learned something that gave me a whole new understanding of my own mom. On the day I became a mother, like every other mother, I became a superhero – able to leap over the greatest of life’s hurdles in one bound and tackle any work/life balance scenario with the (sometimes not-so) greatest of ease. Our little 7lb. Eliza Mae arrived and introduced me to the woman I had always hoped I’d become. My world cracked open and everything I had once believed about my limitations as a person, vanished and my capabilities duplicated by infinity. When it came to being a wife and a mother, I had new superhuman powers. Just like my mom did.

In my involvement with Con Mi MADRE, I am introduced to superheroes everyday, Mothers (and fathers) and daughters exercising superhuman strength to accomplish their goals to achieve their highest quality of life. My commitment to Con Mi MADRE is to honor the investment my mom made in me and to teach my daughter to give back to her community. My mom always told me, ‘you will become whatever you decide you want to become,’ and I did. It is my hope, through my involvement with Con Mi MADRE I can help to expose our girls to all the choices they have in this life and to remind them, that with a superhero like their Mothers in their corner, they can achieve whatever they decide. There’s a big life to live and big decisions to make, today is a good day to get started.

Happiest of Mother’s Day from our house to yours,

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Brooke Goggans
Board Member, Con Mi MADRE

Dia de Los Muertos

Many will be celebrating Halloween tonight, but there’s another holiday just around the corner: Dia de Los Muertos.

Dia de Los Muertos is a two day celebration beginning on November 1st. On this day, Dia de los Inocentes, all children who passed away are remembered by their loved ones.  November 2nd, Dia de Los Muertos, honors all adults. However, the remeberance of those who have passed are not done so in mourning. Instead, they are remembered in celebration!

It is common for families to decorate their deceased loves ones’ tombstones, called ofrendas. These are small, personal altars honoring a loved one. These ofrendas may be decorated with flowers, candles, food, drinks, photographs, and special mementos. It is said that lighting candles is a way for loved ones to find their way back home.

Dia de Los Muertos originated in Mexico almost 3,00 years ago yet, many other countries around the world celebrate their past loved ones in a similar way.

The celebrations are all about having fun and reminiscing the good times. Just check out how lively and festive the altar below is decorated!

To find out more about this special holiday and join in on the celebration of life and death, check out some great events going on in Austin:
http://austindaysofthedead.com/events/

Share with us your favorite Dia de Los Muertos traditions, we’d love to hear about them!

IMG_0796.JPGThis altar was decorated by Pilar Cruz, a Con Mi MADRE mom.

 

Con Mi MADRE Celebrations

The month of October has been full of celebrations for Con Mi MADRE!

We celebrated Will’s birthday, our Director of Finance.

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We also celebrated Karla’s birthday, our Program Director.

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Con Mi MADRE’s Lead Program Coordinator, Karen will be a madre herself next month! Karen will be welcoming baby Karlie November 22nd. We helped welcome Karlie this month by throwing Karen a surprise baby shower.

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Here is what Karen had to say about becoming a mother:

“Becoming a mother is a very exciting chapter for me. It is something me, my husband, and our family are looking forward to since Karlie will be the first grand baby on both sides. It will be an amazing journey for everyone and we are all very excited to meet our little one.

I don’t know how Karlie will be, or what she will look like but I am already very much in LOVE with the idea of being her mother. Also, Karlie will be born into a huge family of girls, almost all of my female cousins on my maternal side have either gone through the Con Mi MADRE Program (including myself)  or are currently in it. I hope this is a tradition that I can share with my daughter in the far future.”

Congratulations Karen!

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Pursuing Your Dreams Abroad

Recently, a Con Mi MADRE Success student left the U.S. to study Business in France. Kimberly Falcon, a senior at Texas State University is currently living her dream in Clermont-Ferrand, France. If you’ve ever thought about studying abroad, here’s a personal testimony from Kimberly to encourage your decision.

“Have you ever dreamed of visiting Paris and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower? Have you ever wanted to try real French food and travel across Europe? I shared all those dreams and decided to learn French in school. Starting college I wanted to study abroad in France because I wanted to perfect my French. I started taking more than five courses a semester at Texas State University and took summer courses as well. After a vigorous three years of nonstop courses, and one internship, I decided it was time to follow my dreams of studying abroad. Con Mi Madre’s GRAD coordinator Karla Leon gave me one piece of advice that helped me decide to study abroad rather than graduate early. I remember perfectly that she said to take the time to study abroad because you will later regret it in life. I knew I wanted to go abroad, but I was scared of traveling in a foreign country with no friends and knowing little French. Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Granillo was also a great influence to me as I remember her talk at the 2014 Spring Conference about not being afraid to leave home. I took a chance and applied to the France Business School. I couldn’t believe that after getting accepted my whole world would change in a matter of months. My dreams are now a reality as I am studying International Business Management in Clermont-Ferrand, France. My dreams of visiting Paris also came true and I also hope to travel on breaks. My one piece of advice to you is to take a risk and do not be afraid to explore the world.

Sincerely,

Kimberly P. Falcon”

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“Ready, Set, Go,” 2014 Fall Conference

This past Saturday, September 13th, Con Mi MADRE held its first Fall Conference of the year for our middle and high school families. The “Ready, Set, Go” conference was a collaborative effort between Con Mi MADRE and AISD’s Hispanic Futures Program to discuss important topics that would make our families start the school year off right! Students had the opportunity to learn about study tips, how to dress for success, dating tips and bullying. The parents workshops included healthy relationships, how to deal with bullying, and social media protection.

We were lucky enough to have 16 fabulous presenters at this conference, including our main keynote speaker, Rebecca Contreras. We also had another very special guest stop by, the interim superintendent: Dr. Paul Cruz!

IMG_0061rebcontrerasRebecca Contreras, Keynote Speaker

We would like to thank all of our partners, including The City of Austin and Austin Energy, as well as our presenters for showing leadership in our community. Thank you to Bedicheck Middle School for letting us use their facilities and to our 189 participants who attended the conference!

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Rebecca Contreras, Dr. Teresa Granillo, Mr. Edmund Oropez, Raul Alvarez, Karla Salas

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Ramon Gomez leading team building activities

New Year, New Board, New President

As many students headed back to school on Monday, Con Mi MADRE’s Board of Directors headed back to the board room for a new year with Con Mi MADRE.

We had eight new faces join us at Monday night’s board meeting and said hello to our new Board President, Veronica Hinojosa Segura (Director of Foundations Operations & Finance at Seton Healthcare Family). Veronica joined Con Mi MADRE in 2012 as a board member and chair of the Finance committee. 

When asked about her new position, she had the following to say:

“My desire as the incoming board president is to leverage all the terrific work of those that served before me. My hope is to continue to build on Con Mi MADRE’s strong foundation and to promote the wonderful work that our organization offers so that every young Latina and their mother has an opportunity to step though doors that may not have been opened prior to Con Mi MADRE.”

 

Veronica Segura with husband and son.

Veronica Segura with husband and son.

Her spirit and talent is amazing; we can’t wait to see where this strong and talented Latina leads us to next!

Here’s to an exciting year with a stellar Board!

Click here to see a full list of our Board of Directors.

CMM kicks off new school year with Orientation

Saturday August 23, 2014 was a big day for Con Mi MADRE. We held our very first orientation!

We are so excited of our turn out. There were about 146 mother-daughter teams that attended the orientation.

Con Mi MADRE kicked off the new school year by inducting new 6th grade participants. We also held team building activities for our Preparedness, Participation, and Success girls.

We can’t wait for this new school year. Good luck to all our participants on the first day of school!

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Mother-Daughter teams checking in for Orientation.

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New 6th grade participants. Class of 2021!

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Senior girls and SAP Advisor speed dating.