AUSTIN, Texas – Con Mi MADRE, a Central Texas nonprofit that receives in-kind support from The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, is highlighted in a new report by the National Alliance for Hispanic Families.

The report, La Diferencia: Grassroots Organizations Uniquely Serving Hispanic Communities Through Culturally Relevant, Family-Focused Programs, details the urgent need for sustainable programs that solve critical problems within the Hispanic community.

The Con Mi MADRE vision is to increase the representation of Hispanic girls in higher education through education and social support services to the girls and their mothers.

“Con Mi MADRE has partnered with the School of Social Work for the past 18 years, benefiting from social work student interns and faculty and staff support,” said Sandy Alcalá, executive director. “Con Mi MADRE would not be able to accomplish all it does without the support and encouragement it receives year after year from the school.”

Now in its 20th year of service, Con Mi MADRE provides activities that are designed to keep the girls on track to graduate by supporting their ability to maintain good grades and helping them plan and apply for college and other post-secondary opportunities, along with providing the mother/daughter team with activities to create a strong relationship.

Since 1992, over 2,069 mother/daughter teams have participated, with 73 percent of 592 graduating seniors going on to a two- or four-year college. About 60 percent of girls are the first in their family to attend college, and two-thirds of the girls come from low-income families.

La Diferencia provides an overview of Con Mi MADRE as one of eight successful Hispanic-focused organizations around the country built upon four key elements that transform the lives of thousands of Hispanic individuals and families. The report outlines the unique characteristics that allow these organizations to effectively engage individuals that other groups often are unable to reach.

“For Latinos, there is one point at which research and programs must start, and that is with familia,” says Dr. Luis Zayas, dean of the School of Social Work at The University of Texas in Austin, who is quoted in the report. 

Unfortunately there are many challenges that impede the progress of Hispanic-serving organizations, the report says. These include apathy and indifference in non-immigration related issues, unbalanced focus on intervention rather than prevention, insufficient number of Hispanics in positions of influence, and restrictive emphasis on evidence-based models.

La Diferencia makes recommendations for building and sustaining responsive programs, and calls on policymakers to fund the evaluation and replication of those programs at levels commensurate with the Hispanic population growth.

To download copy of the complete report, click here (PDF)