• Hermana Imprescindible – Evelyn Ortega

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    Meet National Society of Leadership and Success
    Advisor and Advisory Leadership Program
    Grant Winner Evelyn Ortega

    Reposted from The Society Blog

    Evelyn Ortega

    Hermana Evelyn Ortega


    Can you tell us a little about yourself, your work at City College, and your role with the Society?
    I am a Dominican woman who was the first female in my family to attend college. I received my Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and minor in Business Administration from Boston University. I received my M.S.Ed from Kaplan University. While I was working on my Master’s I chose to do both my practicums at The City College of New York. They turned into a part-time position which then led me to take over as the Program Coordinator, to now being the Assistant Director for the Office of Student Life and Leadership Development. As the Assistant Director I oversee leadership development programs, diversity programming, community service, school spirit events, and Freshman Orientation, in a nutshell. I am the Chapter Advisor for the CCNY chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Lastly, I am a proud Hermana of Alpha Rho Lambda Sorority, Inc./Alianza de Raíces Latinas.

    How did you become involved with the Society?
    I first learned about NSLS through the founder Gary [Tuerack], when I took some of my students to the National Conference on Student Leadership in Boston. I filled out a card to learn more, since my students who were present seemed interested in what was being said. I was able to…convince my Director at that time to proceed with trying out this program on our campus.

    What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of your work, both at the college and with the Society?
    I would say my favorite parts are when I am able to see students who have flourished thanks to their involvement with the NSLS, and least favorite when I see students not take advantage of the opportunities that can help them achieve their potential.

    How has the Society affected your work? Your students?
    The Society has given me a great opportunity to bring something I believe in and feel is beneficial to our students’ development. I have gotten many students involved that may have never chosen to be involved in campus at all. In turn, students have also gotten involved with other Student Life events and programs.

    What advice would you like to share with Society members?
    My advice to students who are Society members would be to take advantage of all the resources available to them, such as leadership positions on the Executive Board of their chapter, committee chair positions if available, and of course the scholarships and awards being offered by the Society, because you never know if you will get one unless you apply and apply again if needed.

    Who’s your favorite leader, past or present, real of fictional? Why?
    One of my favorite leaders is Rosa Parks, because she did not just do as she was told and give in. She stood up for her rights even if it meant prison time for her.

    What’s your favorite quote?
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson.

    Congratulations Hermana!

  • Revising Our Resolutions

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    Every New Year starts with resolutions for our life, family and work. One thing that tends to fall off of our list is our commitment to community service. If this is the case for you, it might be time for you to revise your resolutions.

    As college students it tends to be easier to find time to get involved with many service projects because our schedule is usually our own to make. When work, children and spouses come into play, that schedule starts to belong to other people. However, with community service as one of our central tenets as Hermanas and as a sorority, it is important to find some way to include the contributions we all know are invaluable to the lives of others in the world around us. Here are a few ways you can revise your schedule and resolutions so you can still give back to the community.

    • Volunteer for a charity that hosts events annually, bi-annually or quarterly. These tend to be larger events that involve a whole day of service. Whether it’s a cancer walk, community cleanup or church fundraiser, the donation of your time will be worth its weight in gold.

    • Some nonprofits require support on a monthly basis. Record keeping, calling donors, or serving on a board can help trim an organization’s expenses, bring in more funding and provide access to intellectual resources that reflect a well-rounded community perspective.

    • Donating time on a weekly basis does require a larger time contribution, but in smaller chunks. If you volunteer to feed the elderly, you can do it once or twice a week on your days off for approximately four hours. You can become part of a big sister program, clean up an area on your local highway and can even make it a family affair. There’s no reason your family can’t become part of your commitment to give back to the community!

    • Giving of your time on a daily basis is often easier than you might think. Visiting a bedridden family member several times a week for dinner or conversation, helping an elderly neighbor by cutting their grass or weeding their garden when you tend to your own, or serving on your neighborhood watch committee may already be something you do, but forgot it was volunteering!

    • Add your signature to online petitions. It’s not time consuming, and can make a bigger impact than you might think – to raise awareness about an important social issue, call for legislative action or save a species!

    Remember, donating your time is always more fun when you do it with family and friends. Contact Hermanas to support you in your service activities and you’ll be able to take advantage of their network of service-oriented friends and family.

    If you don’t know where to look, you can do a Google search for local organizations whose missions focus on something important to you. The local United Way is a great resource because it is interconnected with multiple charities in your city. Lastly, you can always search on websites like VolunteerMatch.org or UnitedWeServe.gov to find specific activities and events going on in your area.

    Revise your resolutions to include the level of service you are able to contribute and you will be able to maintain your passionate dedication to the betterment of our community and to those who are disadvantaged or in need.

  • El Día De Los Reyes a.k.a. Three Kings Day

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    Three Kings Day

    Throughout Hispanic culture there are widely celebrated events, many which are steeped in the Christian faith. One of the most significant days we celebrate as Latinos is El Día De Los Reyes (Three Kings Day), also known as the Epiphany.  “El Día De Los Reyes is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.”

    Below are various ways Three Kings Day is celebrated by Latinos:


    In Argentina, the day is called “Día de los Reyes” (The Day of Kings), commemorating the arrival of the Magi to confirm Jesus as son of God. The night of January 5 into the morning of January 6 is known as “Noche de Reyes” (The Night of Kings) and children leave their shoes by the door, along with grass and water for the camels. In the morning of January 6, they get a present. On January 6, a “Rosca de Reyes” (a ring-shaped Epiphany cake) is eaten and all Christmas decorations are traditionally put away.


    In Brazil, the day is called “Dia dos Reis” (The Day of Kings), commemorating the arrival of the Magi to confirm Jesus as son of God. The night of January 5 into the morning of January 6 is known as “Night of Kings” (also called the Twelfth Night) and is feasted with music, sweets and regional dishes as the last night of Nativity, when Christmas decorations are traditionally put away.


    Celebrations in Guadeloupe have a different feel from elsewhere in the world. Epiphany here does not mean the last day of Christmas celebrations, but rather the first day of Kannaval (Carnival), which lasts until the evening before Ash Wednesday. Carnival in turn ends with the grand brilé Vaval, the burning of Vaval, the king of the Kannaval, amidst the cries and wails of the crowd.


    The evening of January 5 marks the Twelfth Night of Christmas and is when the figurines of the three wise men are added to the nativity scene. Traditionally in Mexico, as with many other Latin American countries, Santa Claus doesn’t hold the cachet that he does in the United States. Rather, it is the three wise men who are the bearers of gifts, who leave presents in or near the shoes of small children. Mexican families also commemorate the date by eating Rosca de reyes. In modern Mexico however, and particularly in the larger cities and in the North, local traditions are now being observed and intertwined with the greater North American Santa Claus tradition, as well as with other holidays such as Halloween, due to Americanization via film and television, creating an economy of gifting tradition that spans from Christmas Day until January 6.


    Peru shares Epiphany customs with Spain and the rest of Latin America. Peruvian national lore holds that Francisco Pizarro was the first to call Lima “Ciudad de los Reyes” (City of the Kings) because the date of the Epiphany coincided with the day he and his two companions searched for, and found, an ideal location for a new capital. Even more popular in Peru than gift giving is the custom of the Bajada de Reyes when parties are held in honor of the taking down of family and public nativity scenes, and carefully putting them away until the next Christmas.


    In Portugal, Epiphany, January 6, is called dia dos Reis (Day of the Kings), during which the traditional Bolo Rei (King cake) is baked and eaten. Plays and pageants are popular on this day, and parents often hold parties for their children. Epiphany is also a time when the traditional Portuguese dances known as Mouriscadas and Paulitos are performed. The latter is an elaborate stick dance. The dancers, who are usually men but may be dressed as women, manipulate sticks or staves (in imitation swords) in two opposing lines. It is a tradition too in Portugal for people to gather in small groups and to go from house to house to sing the Reis (meaning “Kings”) which are traditional songs about the life of Jesus. The singers also bring greetings to the owners of the house. After singing for a while outside, they are invited in, and the owners of the house offer them sweets, liqueurs, and other Epiphany delicacies. These Reis usually begin on Epiphany eve and last until January 20.

    Puerto Rico

    In Puerto Rico, Epiphany is an important festive holiday, and is commonly referred as Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos, or Three Kings’ Day. It is traditional for children to fill a box with fresh grass or hay and put it underneath their bed, for the Wise Men’s camels. The three kings will then take the grass to feed the camels and will leave gifts under the bed as a reward. These traditions are analogous to the customs of children leaving mince pies and sherry out for Father Christmas in Western Europe or leaving milk and cookies for Santa Claus in the United States.

    Spain and Latin America

    In Spain and some Latin American countries, Epiphany day is called El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Kings), i.e., the day when a group of Kings or Magi, as related in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, arrived to worship and bring three gifts to the baby Jesus after following a star in the heavens. This day is sometimes known as the Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (The day of the Three Royal Magi) or La Pascua de los Negros (Holy Day of the Black men) in Chile, although the latter is rarely heard. In Spanish tradition on January 6, three of the Kings: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, representing Arabia, the Orient, and Africa, arrived on horse, camel and elephant, bringing respectively gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Children (and many adults) polish and leave their shoes ready for the Kings’ presents before they go to bed on the eve of January 6. The next morning presents will appear under their shoes, or if the children are deemed to have misbehaved during the year, coal (usually a lump of hard sugar candy dyed black, called Carbón Dulce. Most towns in Spain arrange colorful parades representing the arrival of the Reyes Magos to town so children can see them in their camels or carriages before they go to bed. The oldest of this parades is held in Alcoy, Alicante – Alacant, Valencia, which has hosted an annual parade since 1885. Sweet wine, nibbles, fruit and milk are left for the Kings and their camels. In Spain, children typically receive presents on this day, rather than on Christmas, though this tradition has changed lately, and children now receive presents on both days. In Spain the Epiphany bread/cake is known as Roscón and in Mexico as Rosca de reyes.

    United States

    In Louisiana, Epiphany is the beginning of the Carnival season, during which it is customary to bake King Cakes, similar to the Rosca mentioned above. It is round in shape, filled with cinnamon, glazed white, and coated in traditional carnival color sanding sugar. The person who finds the doll (or bean) must provide the next king cake. The interval between Epiphany and Mardi Gras is sometimes known as “king cake season”, and many may be consumed during this period. The Carnival season begins on King’s Day (Epiphany), and there are many traditions associated with that day in Louisiana and along the Catholic coasts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. King cakes are first sold then, Carnival krewes begin having their balls on that date, and the first New Orleans krewe parades in street cars that night.”

    The older we get and the more Americanized we all become, the greater the likelihood that we will begin to lose our traditions that aren’t widely celebrated by the masses. If we are to keep these kinds of celebrations alive, we must learn of them from our elders and bring our children into the fold, introducing them to important traditions of our Latino experience.

    Excerpts from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_(holiday)

  • Featured ImageInspire Your Girls

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    Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were graduate students at Columbia University’s School of Architecture in 2010 when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. In one of their classes, they were assigned to develop a new innovation to help with disaster relief. Many students focused on designing shelters but, after speaking to a relief worker in Haiti, the two discovered that an often-ignored need following disasters was access to light. The pair focused on designing a solar-powered lantern and spent several years refining their design. Now their inflatable, waterproof, and solar-powered light — called the LuminAID Solar Light — is being distributed to those in need in several countries.

    Their unique lantern is designed to meet the needs of people in the aftermath of a disaster but many outdoor enthusiasts have also become fans of its innovative design (it even made National Geographic’s 2013 Gear of the Year list). After being charged in the sun for six hours, the LED light provides up to 16 hours of light — a feature that not only makes it more eco-friendly but essential in emergency situations when batteries are hard to find. Due to its inflatable design, it also provides diffuse light like a lantern so it can be used to illuminate a room or tent. Moreover, since disasters often involve water, Stork and Sreshta made it waterproof and able to float.

    They also made sure to add a sturdy handle to the light because, as Stork explains, “We heard that in the tent cities people really wanted something they could easily take to the latrine at night, so it was very handy to have a handle to carry it around.” And, because they can be packed flat, 50 LuminAID lights can be shipped in the same space needed for 8 conventional flashlights — an especially significant difference when humanitarian organizations are sending relief aid in large volumes.

    When the two young social entrepreneurs founded their company, LuminAID, they used a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to raise the capital needed for their first batch of 1,000 lights. They have since created a Give Light Project where, for each light purchased on their website, the buyer can donate a light to a project site. Over the past year, they have distributed more than 8,000 donated lights across projects in 15 countries and their current campaign supports NGO partners working in Haiti, Ghana, and India. As they grow, they hope to expand their reach by working with large, international aid organizations.

    One of their partners in Rwanda, a non-profit called Ubushobozi that teaches girls and young women vocational skills, recently distributed donated lights to their students. Almost none of the students have electricity in their homes and the program coordinator reports that the lights have had a huge impact on their lives. Not only are they able to study in the evening, many of the girls report feeling much safer at night.

    As the LuminAID has gone from class project to a real relief tool, Stork and Sreshta are more driven than ever to get it into the hands of those in need during disasters. As Sreshta explains, “conditions once the sun goes down can be very unsafe, especially for women and children. After the earthquake in Haiti, there were many cases of violence, kidnapping and rape. Light is a basic human need, but [conventional technology] costs too much to ship and pack as part of disaster relief.” Now, thanks to the work of these two creative innovators, more people will have access to the gift of light during the darkest of times.

    To learn more about Anna and Andrea’s invention and how to buy/donate your own LuminAID, visit their website. LuminAIDs can also be ordered via Amazon.

    For an excellent book to inspire your Mighty Girl about female innovators and inventors throughout history, check out “Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women” for readers 8 to 13.

    For younger readers, we highly recommend “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” a wonderful picture book about a young Mighty Girl inventor for ages 4 to 9.

    For more ways to encourage your Mighty Girl’s interest in invention and engineering, check out the Mighty Careers blog post “I Want To Be An Engineer!” filled with recommendations for girl-empowering books, toys, and clothing.

    For many at-home project ideas to encourage your children’s interest in invention, we also recommend two newly released parenting books: “Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors” and “Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects.”

    A Mighty Girl also has a section of stories that feature poverty and hardship as a significant theme. Such stories provide opportunities for parents to discuss these topics with their children while also helping to foster children’s empathy for people living in difficult circumstances.

    Poverty / Hardship – Social Issues – Books

    A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books and movies for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls.

    View on amightygirl.com.

  • Growing Your Business Webinar Series

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    As a service to our Hermanas who are entrepreneurs, we would like to make you aware of a free webinar series.

    anymeeting logo

    AnyMeeting is pleased to announce a free 3-part Growing Your Business Webinar Series to help your business expand and thrive. Featuring guest speakers from the Small Business Administration, this series will present topics and resources important to small businesses today. Register below for one or all of these valuable sessions.

    We look forward to seeing you there!


    Calendar Icon 9/9 @ 11:00 AM PT | SBA Resources for Growing Businesses
    Calendar Icon 9/23 @ 11:00 AM PT | Tools & Resources for Women in Entrepreneurship
    Calendar Icon 10/7 @ 11:00 AM PT | The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Small Business


    SBA Resources for Growing Businesses
    Tuesday, September 9, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
    Guest Speaker: Calvin Goings, SBA Region Administrator
    SBA offers a wide variety of programs, services, and resources to help small business grow. This webinar will focus on the SBA’s core mission to reach America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners and addresses topics including:

    • Who is the SBA?
    • SBA’s 3 “Cs” and a “D”
    • Access to Capital – SBA guarantees loans for America’s small business owners
    • Access to Contracts – SBA advocates on behalf of small business in the federal procurement world
    • Access to Consulting – SBA provides counseling and business assistance through our network of resource partners
    • Disaster Assistance for small businesses and homeowners
    • SBA’s efforts to address the changing environment of innovation and investment & Overview of the Office of Investment & Innovation



    Tools & Resources for Women in Entrepreneurship
    Tuesday, September 23, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
    Guest Speaker: Erin Andrew, Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership
    This webinar will focus on what the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership has to offer women entrepreneurs and small business owners across America. Topics to be discussed include:

    • The importance of empowering women entrepreneurs
    • Overview of SBA’s national Women’s Business Center network
    • Existing SBA tools for women entrepreneurs
    • Recent changes to SBA programs that will help increase opportunities for women entrepreneurs



    The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Small Business Owners
    Tuesday, October 7, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
    Guest Speaker: Meredith Olafson, Senior Advisor, Affordable Care Act Specialist, Office of the Administrator
    This webinar will focus on what the Affordable Care Act means for small employers. Topics to be discussed include:

    • Insurance market reforms for small employers
    • Small business tax credits (available to businesses and tax-exempt non-profits) – who’s eligible for them and how to claim them
    • SHOP Marketplace updates
    • Employer Shared Responsibility provisions
    • Key provisions for self-employed business owners with no employees
    • Tools and resources available for small employers interested in learning more about the law