Giving Back: Con Mi MADRE Success Story – Kimberly Falcon

Kimberly Falcon is a graduate of our Con Mi MADRE program and one of the hundreds of reasons why we do what we do, and why we love what we do! 

Being a member of Con Mi MADRE for eleven years has been an incredible journey. How many organizations can say that they help their members succeed through middle school, high school and university? Con Mi MADRE helped me by teaching me about the importance of good study habits, healthy eating, and honest communication.  I learned how to open up and talk to my mom as well as how to reach out for help when I needed it most. KimberlyF

When I began my journey with Con Mi MADRE, I was just beginning middle school.  I was so excited to take my first trip to a local college.  I thought “This is what my future could look like if I do well in school and follow the program curriculum.”  After that trip, I knew I was going to be better prepared for the future and I was totally excited about getting my Bachelor’s degree.

Over the course of my undergrad, I was very fortunate to receive financial help from Con Mi MADRE by earning two major scholarships through their program assistance. The support offered by Con Mi MADRE has helped me surpass my dreams.  Because of the immense support and encouragement from my mentor Karla Salas, I was confident enough to leave the nest and study abroad in France.

The staff at Con Mi MADRE have been like second mothers to me.  They have guided me through my program, and offered summer conferences where I learned about inspiring and powerful Latins women and how to own my voice! IMG_9391

Thank you Con Mi MADRE for helping me grow into the powerful Latina I am today. I am very grateful to be an alumni of this incredible organization that strives to give every girl a chance to make a difference in her life. 

Relational Education: Con Mi MADRE’s 2015 Orientation

DSCN8052At the beginning of this school year, Con Mi MADRE wanted to bring a sense of support to our teams and staff through our Annual Orientation event held at St. Andrews Episcopal School. Our Orientation event involved crucial information to help our new members understand their path through the program while also engaging mom and daughter in team and confidence building exercises.  It was a delight to see mothers and daughters working together, laughing together and cheering each DSCN8046other on during the team exercises, but we believe the most fun part of the day was when mom and daughter worked together allowing their creativity to blossom while designing their very own mamí y mi jewelry.  With creativity flowing, mom and daughter made one unique piece of jewelry to keep and one to donate to Con Mi MADRE’s charitable auction.DSCN8053

Con Mi MADRE’s goal is to nourish the bond between mother and daughter through our conferences and events.  We work diligently to help our ladies strengthen their relationship.

​By developing stronger ties within each mother/daughter team, our programming staff strives to make our girls feel supported academically in addition to helping facilitate the emotional and social support of their mothers. DSCN8017

Latina Relevance: Leadership Summit 2015

IMG_5708Our summer was jam packed with exciting events, but our most exciting event was the Con Mi MADRE 2015 Leadership Summit: Viva La Girl, Viva La Mujer!

Every year Con Mi MADRE invites our mother/daughter teams to experience the college dream firsthand with a 2 day conference at the University of Texas at Austin, complete with an overnight stay in a UT dorm. For many of our girls, this is the first time they have spent a night away from home, so you can imagine the exhilaration, excitement and sometimes fear that our girls experience.

IMG_5725This year, our conference agenda included A-list speakers including Political Activist, Mrs. Rosie Castro, mother to Julian Castro, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. House Representative, Joaquin Castro, Democratic House Representative, Celia Israel, and Austin Mayor Steve Adler and many more.  Each speaker gave insight on how our girls and mothers could make a difference personally and in their communities by practicing mindful “Civic Engagement”.

Read more from Rosie Castro.

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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