EACH MONTH WE WILL BE HIGHLIGHTING A UNITED WAY OF BROWARD COUNTY VOLUNTEER – THIS MONTH WE ARE HIGHLIGHTING ANA, A COMMISSION ON BEHAVIORAL HEALTH & DRUG PREVENTION VOLUNTEER
VP for Design Nuovo, Inc. and President/CEO for Mujeres Latinas Impulsando Mujeres Latinas, Inc.
Why did you decide to get involved with United Way?
I have been supporting United Way for many years because of the unique opportunities it offers as an organization that has been changing lives in Broward since 1939. United Way identifies and builds on community strengths and assets, helps individuals and groups with specific community interests, find ways to contribute their time and talents, supports direct-service programs and community-change efforts and advocate public policy changes.
Most recently I got involved with United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention as it launched a Hispanic initiative to reduce alcohol and other drug use among youth by providing prevention information and parenting training to the Hispanic community. The work that this committee is doing is empowering our diverse community to live a health & drug-free life.
How many years have you been involved with United Way of Broward County?
For the last 3 years, I have been a volunteer for the Commission’s efforts to educating and providing opportunities and resources in our diverse communities in Broward.
What do you do with United Way?
I co-chair the Hispanic Initiative composed of a coalition of many organizations and multiple volunteers, guided by data provided by the Commission and try to address issues that affect our diverse and hard to reach communities.
According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Survey, 36.4% of Broward County Hispanic High School Students reported current alcohol use; 23.2% reported current marijuana use; 10.6% reported current use of an electronic vapor product; 8.9% reported driving a car when they had been drinking; 18.8% reported that they rode with a drinking driver in the past 30 days. 8.8% experienced physical dating violence; 31.1% felt sad/hopeless for two weeks in the past year; 17.6% seriously considered suicide in past year, and 10.3% attempted suicide one or more times in past year.
We provide information, education and resources that are culturally and linguistically appropriate, last year we organized the first Hispanic Mental Health Conference in Broward for Providers and Parents “Rising Above Stigma” that was tasked with addressing the complex issue of understanding Stigma and Mental Health in the Hispanic community. We also outreach through collaborations with others in the community identifying needs and organize and participate in forums and community fairs, providing resources and connections.
If you could encourage someone else to volunteer what would you say to them?
I definitively encourage others to join in the efforts of United Way Broward County first by educating them on what it is that United Way does, the many initiatives and programs and the impact it has in our community. By volunteering with either time, talent or with money we are united in building a better a community for us and our families in Broward.
Besides volunteering is the best-kept secret for mental health it helps with anxiety and stress and there is science that backs it up!
“United, we stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, united we confront those who are working hard and falling short and united we fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community”.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I love organizing parties and getting people together around food and music, I love to dance to our Latin beats.