Started in 1991, the National HERMANITAS® initiative is the only national mentoring program designed to encourage Hispanic adolescent girls to stay in school, pursue high academic goals and encourage healthy attitudes and safe practices. MANA programming includes consideration of the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs of
HERMANITAS® Initiative Goals
-To adopt healthy living strategies and approaches
-To promote educational achievement and personal enrichment
-To develop leadership qualities, skills, and abilities
-To promote cultural identity, respect, pride and multicultural awareness
-To promote proactive community involvement
At a local level, the HERMANITAS® Program students are assigned a trained mentor committed to a minimum of 104 contact hours per year. Contact may be in person, on the phone or electronically. Mentor must also initiate one 30 minute meeting or contact with an adult family member and at least one-hour activity with the Hermanita and the adult family member. Each Chapter/Program assigns an HERMANITAS® Coordinator, who is responsible for overseeing the mentoring activities and providing outlets for group activities. There is a standardized curriculum used by all MANA HERMANITAS® Programs that has been vetted by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This includes turn-key modules for presenting the information and objectives of the HERMANITAS® Program.
The HERMANITAS® Leadership Institute is an event that brings approximately 150 to 200 girls together from across the nation, ages 11-18, to participate in the yearly culmination of the program that includes workshops on leadership, communication, identity, goal-setting and other topics relevant to Latina teens. For three days, Latina teens are introduced to oustanding leaders, from all sectors, who share experiences, give advice, teach new skills and help build the self-confidence of the participants. An Experiential Day focuses on the real-world applications to the program materials being presented. Past Experiential Days have included visits and briefings at the White House, the United States Capitol, the Pentagon, the United States Naval Academy, and participation in the Disney Youth Education Series Programming on Math and Science Initiatives.
An independently-evaluated, national, three-year MANA study published in the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy (Volume 19, 2006-2007) assessed the impact of the National HERMANITAS® mentoring program, and found that HERMANITAS® who participated in the program:
a. Maintain consistent levels of self-esteem.
b. Display low rates of depression compared to nationwide averages.
c. Display an increasingly negative view of drug and alcohol use.
d. Display a growing positive attitude towards school and higher education.
It is also very important to note that during the course of the three-year study and evaluation of upwards of 200 girls in six states, only one student participant became pregnant and only one dropped out of school. Sites were intentionally selected to include urban, rural and border communities to show the program effectiveness in diverse communities, and the independent evaluation was conducted by the National Hispanic Center of California State University in