This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.
Simplified: A new grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation will create a support group to promote the mental health of Latino teens. Here's what you need to know about Atrevete a Ser tu Mismo (Dare to Be Yourself).
Why it matters
- Atrevete a Ser tu Mismo will specifically target Latino teens age 14-17 who have recently immigrated to the United States. The goal is to help them navigate all of the challenges that come with moving to a new country, language barriers and being a teenager.
- Local nonprofit Caminando Juntos – a group that focuses on immigration legal services and more case management for Latinos in the community – will lead the support group, which will run 10 weeks starting this month and cover topics such as emotional intelligence, healthy communication, mindset, self esteem and future aspirations.
- The grant illustrates the Foundation's commitment to advancing mental health and helping kids succeed – two of its key focus areas.
“Being a teenager in 2023 is hard enough. Imagine being a teen who is also navigating a language barrier, acclimating to a new country, potentially dealing with past trauma, and more," said Patrick Gale, vice president for community investment. "As a community, we need to ensure these kids have the resources they need to be successful in all facets of life — socially, academically, mentally and physically."
Tell me more about the program
Atrevete a Ser tu Mismo will supplement the work the Sioux Falls School District is already doing to serve students from other countries.
- About 4 in 10 students in the Sioux Falls School District are racially diverse, and Spanish is among the top five languages spoken by families in town.
The support group will be led by Dr. Margarita Gomez, a psychologist originally from Columbia who has more than 20 years of experience working with young people.
“There aren’t that many counselors in Sioux Falls who are bilingual and who speak Spanish – so this is so huge," said Amy Tulson Robles, an EL Liason at Washington High School. "When you’re a newcomer to a country, it means so much to be able to speak to someone who knows your language."
Caminando Juntos called the grant a "game-changing investment" in the lives of Sioux Falls teens.
The grant is the Foundation's second charitable investment in this area. An earlier grant helped fund a pilot support group for about 40 students this spring.
What happens next?
The support group is scheduled to start this month and run for 10 weeks.
It's estimated the first group will serve as many as 60 teens.