Children & Youth,
Youth Centers & Clubs
Mission: Sociedad Latina's mission it to work in partnership with youth and families to create the next generation of Latino leaders who are confident, competent, self-sustaining and proud of their cultural heritage.
Target demographics: Young Latinos and Mission Hill residents become leaders
Direct beneficiaries per year: 4,000 youth and adults
Geographic areas served: Mission Hill/Roxbury and Greater Boston in Massachusetts
Programs: Civic Engagement: is infused into all youth development programming at Sociedad Latina, as we train all youth to advocate for themselves and their communities. Youth learn the importance of civic engagement and receive the tools and space they need to become active citizens. At the heart of our work is an organization-wide commitment and promise to elevate youth voices in decision-making processes that affect youth lives and opportunities.
Currently, more than 60,000 young people in Massachusetts are disconnected from education, supportive adults, employment, and their community, with the locus of disconnection in the state’s cities among Latino youth and youth of color. Our Civic Engagement programs bond Latino youth to their communities, inviting them to participate in the power structures that influence their daily lives and empowering them to be lifelong community leaders. At Sociedad Latina, we work to combat the trend of disconnected youth by engaging youth in community initiatives that are led by youth and families.
Education: Sociedad Latina’s Education programs address the unmet needs of Latino and English Language Learner (ELL) students in Boston Public Schools (BPS), many of whom face significant ethnic/racial barriers to advancing through middle school and high school and accessing postsecondary education. Latinos in BPS have the lowest four-year graduation rate and highest drop out rate across racial subgroups. As a result, fewer Latino youth enroll in postsecondary education or complete their college program. Our solution is a holistic pathway of three Education programs that provide the long-term support needed to keep students on-track for grade promotion, high school graduation, and postsecondary success. Our expansive College Access Network of 14 local colleges and universities support our Education programs by providing volunteers, tutors, curriculum support, campus tours, admissions counseling and more.
Arts & Culture: Sociedad Latina enriches the quality of life for Latino youth and families by providing them with opportunities to explore the arts and celebrate their cultures of origin. Arts programming provides youth with a rare opportunity to self express, articulate frustrations and fears, and dream of alternatives in a society that discounts youth input and leaves many young people of color at a disadvantage.
Participation in arts activities build academic achievement, creativity, and fluency, while increasing self-efficacy and awareness. Highly creative youth have more consistent school attendance, higher academic achievement, and are more likely to give back to their community.
Our arts and cultural programs accommodate various skill levels and interests, while fostering lifelong appreciation of and engagement in the arts. They are also rooted in the cultural traditions of our youth and celebrate the rich history of Latinos.
Workforce Development: Sociedad Latina’s Workforce Development programs empower Latino youth to overcome cycles of poverty and experience success in the workforce. Currently, Latinos make up 13.7% of the U.S. workforce but are over-represented in low-earning and often hazardous industries, while being underrepresented in fulfilling, career-ladder jobs. Over the next decade,16 million Latino youth will enter the U.S. workforce. These youth will need to develop workforce and 21st century skills in order to succeed in their chosen career pathway.
Building on nearly 20 years of success with our Jovenes Latinos Pro Salud program, our workforce development programs now provide Latino youth, ages 14-21, with the opportunity to prepare for five robust career pathways: healthcare, law & public service, business & entrepreneurship, arts & music, and STEM. These fields respond to the interests of our youth and offer a diverse array of career ladder employment possibilities in thriving fields.