January is Mentoring Month which makes sense when the start of the year marks a time for a us to start planning out what we want achieve. Mentors aren’t easy to come by and many of us have never had a workplace mentor let alone a fellow Latina to help guide us. Many driven Latinos have had to either seek out mentors or simply get by without the help and advice of a knowledgeable, relatable and caring individual aside from those in our own families, and sometimes, that just doesn’t cut it.
Here’s the thing though — having a dependable and dedicated mentor can make a huge difference for children and adults alike. Throughout my own career, I’ve had a few mentors that made a massive impact on my career specifically, not only by giving me advice that helped me become a stronger writer and more reliable professional, but also as some of the very first—and most loyal—people in my professional network. I personally can testify to how special a good mentor can be, whether you’re 18 or 38.
But, it’s definitely not easy to find one—particularly if you don’t know of any school- or community-based mentorship programs in your area. So here, we’re sharing 12 Latinx mentorship programs including nationwide programs, as well as programs in New York City and the greater Los Angeles area, to help get you—or your kids—started.
Latino(x)s in Publishing
The Latino(x)s in Publishing organization has a Writers Mentorship Program that invites unpublished Latinx writers, or those without agency representation, to team up with mentors. It’s meant to help improve their writing, provide them with insider knowledge of the industry and make professional connections, during a months-long cycle that typically begins in February and ends in October, and requires a commitment of at least one hour per month. This program is for adults 18 and over aspiring to be a published author.
Latinas in Tech
Latinas in Tech is a professional organization that provides resources and fosters relationships for women working in the field of technology by working with tech companies to foster things like mentorship programs and events. There are chapters in cities throughout the United States, as well as in Brazil, Spain, Canada and Mexico. Members will have the opportunity to connect with potential mentors that can help them advance in their careers, whether they’re engineers, cybersecurity experts or entrepreneurs.
Latinas in STEM
Back in 2013, several Latina MIT graduates banded together to former the organization Latinas in STEM, with the goal of helping young Latina girls and teens learn more about careers in STEM and help them feel empowered to pursue them. They’ve put together a network of volunteers that mentor girls and women and they also run professional development programs.
Latina Mentoring Academy
The Latina Mentoring Academy is based in Ohio, and offers a five-month mentoring program that features workshops, an overnight retreat and a final project specifically related to the Latinx community. The program is intended for professionals who have been in their careers several years and want to learn, improve their skills and advance in their careers. Women from various careers and career stages are welcome to apply.
LALIFF Inclusion Fellowship
The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) runs a fellowship program that is sponsored by Netflix, and has a major mentoring component in which established industry professionals work with up-and-coming filmmakers to help them complete their films before they are shown at LALIFF. As a fellowship, each of the 10 selected participants also receive $20,000. This is a competitive opportunity for adults 21 and older.
Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund
Budding chefs and food enthusiasts who are awarded a scholarship from the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund will not only get culinary school tuition in New York City completely paid for and an amazing mentoring experience. These revered chefs don’t just mentor them while they’re in school, but also while they are working in the culinary industry. This opportunity is open to Latinos from anywhere in the country, but you’ll have to be willing to move to New York for the year (room and board) is covered.
Latinas in Journalism Mentorship Program
Veteran journalist Rebecca Aguilar founded Latinas in Journalism as a professional organization that would give Latina journalists an opportunity to network and advocate for each other. Inspired by the nearly 3,000 women in the Latinas in Journalism Facebook Group, Rebecca co-founded the mentorship program with Puerto Rican journalist Andrea González-Ramírez. The program allows journalism students and professionals looking to level up in their careers to schedule a call with one of nearly 60 mentors who are working professionally as journalists. The calls run for 30 minutes and vary according to the schedules of each journalist and mentees can select from a variety of categories including freelancing and work-related challenges.
LatinoJustice NEXT GENERATION LÍDERES Program
The Latinx civil rights group LatinoJustice has developed a mentoring program called NEXT GENERATION LÍDERES, in which high school upperclassmen, college students and post-graduate students hoping to attend law school are matched with working attorneys and get to attend group events to learn more about the law profession as well as college and law school admissions. There are even components for parents. Participants must live in New York or New Jersey and have at least a 3.0 GPA.
#WeAllGrow Amigas Program
#WeAllGrow Latina is an organization for Latinas from all backgrounds and professions that want to connect with other Latinas who are trying to move up in the workplace. The #WeAllGrow Amigas is a free program is a multi-faceted community that offers access to original content including webinars, networking opportunities, access to exclusive workshops, information on job listings and the opportunity to mentor and be connected with mentors.
Latina Grad Guide
Latina Grad Guide is a program where Latinas from anywhere can connect and learn not just about applying for grad school, but also about applying and transitioning into their careers. The organization hosts workshops, panels, book clubs, social media events and other events where Latinas can learn from each other. They’ve also launched a scholarship fund.
Hispanic 100 Mentor Program
The Hispanic 100 Foundation mentor program offers Latinx young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who are interested in becoming business and/or community leaders, access to one-on-one mentoring, training workshops and scholarship opportunities. The program focuses on helping participants establish goals and learn how to reach them and offers them opportunities to attend special events with their mentors. A four-hour minimum commitment per month is required.
Las Fotos Project
Las Fotos Project is a Los Angeles-based organization that was founded in 2010 with the intention of specifically serving teenage girls and gender-expansive kids of color through the art of photography. They offer several programs including one in which participants can explore their own “personal and social landscapes,” another that teaches photojournalism skills, and a third that fosters entrepreneurial skills specifically related to working as a photographer. The programs are open to youth between the ages of 13 and 18, living in the L.A. area.