Latino Educational Training Institute
Since 1998: Information • Education • Training • Leadership
Bienestar de la Mujer Latina
November 25, 2020
In this beautiful life we are lucky to live on the gorgeous planet in the age of technology, comfort and possibilities. During the past decades the progress made big steps and the quality and comfort level of our lives improved dramatically. However, every new day brings new changes and challenges, and yet some issues have changed little. It is still difficult to be a woman, and it is even more difficult to be a woman-Immigrant.
Washington state is experiencing a rapid growth of Hispanic population, and sadly, the overall life situation of Latin people has not been at a good level. Latin immigrants not only face language and cultural barriers, most of them receive less than a competitive wage or even less than a minimum wage, many families with children live in poverty.
Bienestar Total de la Mujer Latina—the program of LETI created in 2015 to support total Women’s Health—was inspired by the United States-based non-profit organization Pro Mujer. Both projects are focused on women empowerment, leadership and involvement in the community.
Bienestar was a big support and relief for women in the rapidly growing Latin community in Snohomish county. It offers 8 weeks of two-hour workshops conducted in Spanish language, which are performed by the experts in the relevant area. There would be representatives of University of Washington, colleges, health and sports institutions, insurance companies, banks, etc.
For the very first program, ladies who had participated in other LETI classes were invited, and not only many of them took a part in the workshop, but also almost 300 people returned and participated once more.
The project provides training and useful information for Latin women interested in advancing their education or career opportunities. Before the seminars start, participants would fill a voluntary well-being questionnaire, and at the end of the program a feedback form. The attendee will learn about financial literacy, money and debt management, saving tips, lending methodology and other useful information.
Business skills - how to start, run and grow a business.
The importance of self-care for women has finally started gaining voice and magnitude. A woman often, besides work and studies, is doing hard, but unpaid job of managing the household, therefore empowerment and health education take significant part in Bienestar training.
Empowerment – how to develop self-confidence and leadership; how to deal with domestic violence.
Health Education workshop provides important information on affordable health care, maintaining good health of the woman and her family and is focused on healthy lifestyle, weight management, holistic approach to health and preventive measures.
Because LETI believes that all illness can be detrimental not only to a woman’s health, but also for her business and savings.
Starting life in a new country is always a challenge, and integrating and becoming a community leader sometimes feels an impossible task, so the stress management, positive communication and the active living in the community of Lynnwood are also parts of the versatile Bienestar program.
Bienestar sessions have clearly shown a great need for the mothers to find support. They come from male-dominated societies and many of them learned to be submissive. It is a safe place for women where they can ask any questions, because just being in a group of females feels better. Oftentimes women would feel guilty to come and have time for themselves. That’s why groups of 20 participants are free of charge, and food and day care for children are provided during the workshop time to free the mind of possible worries and concentrate on the program for the best result.
According to the feedback, participants found the training very informative and many have enrolled in other programs of LETI such as English language learning, GED, and financial education classes. Some of the participants joined LLI, and others, after finishing the GED, continued their education getting certificates and degrees.
“Trabajo con la comunidad y con mujeres y me interesa todo lo que hay en el programa y todo lo que ofrecen.” Brenda Vasquez
“Hay mucha información que es beneficiosa. Tuve problemas cuando compré mi carro. Quisiera haber sabido antes de este programa para poder hablar con alguien y me ayudaron a asesorarme.” Maria de Jesus
The big contributor who made Bienestar possible is Hazel Miller foundation where Rosario Reyes reached for help in 2015. The foundation provided daycare for children and food.
Bienestar used to take place at LETI’s classroom which participants find the most comfortable space for the classes. In 2019 it was decided to have Bienestar only twice a year, but increase the amount of workshops to 16. And in 2020 Bienestar moved online and feels comfortable with that format, which lets it invite speakers from all over the world.
Today online classes are held every Friday, everyone can join with no charge.
Felicia is a Career coach at LETI, she also Finds international speakers for current Bienestar program.
She says that cultural exchange is one of her top priorities, as Latin people who have lived abroad for a long time inevitably lose connection with their native culture. It is the first time that a Mexican specialist is sharing his experience at the program. For that possibility of bringing speakers from different countries, Felicia likes the fact that Bienestar is now online.
To accustom Bienestar participants to online classes, zoom tutorials and workshops were provided before they started. The older generation of immigrants still prefer in person classes though, but they appreciate the possibility to hear more diverse speakers and not to leave the comfort of their home to participate in seminars.
On average there 20 people participate in every Friday class.
Another priority of Felicia is to build women’s self- confidence, self-esteem, and self-value. “Despite the fact that the situation with unwritten rules of how a woman should behave is changing in Mexico” – said Felicia “here, in the USA, where all the information and sources are very accessible, many still follow strict religious customs and suffer from domestic violence, in a fear of losing a father for their children.”
Felicia has invited a psychologist who would explain depression and stress differences and issues, a motivational speaker and a doctor to share additional opinions and to promote mental health education and wellness. Those sessions have a good effect on participants. For some reason speaking with other Latin women makes them feel understood and overall feel better.