In 1986, University of Texas at El Paso professor Josie Tinajero took a look around and noticed very few Latinas graduating from college. So that year, she created the Mother-Daughter Program; she realized that mothers play a pivotal role in their daughters’ educational choices and decided to include them in the college preparatory program.
“The most important role models for young girls, especially in the Hispanic community, is found with the family system,” Tinajero told The Deseret News this week. “Hispanic mothers have a huge impact on how their daughters make decisions.”
The program focuses on sixth-grade girls. About 500 mother-daughter teams meet monthly for various activities focusing on issues such as personal, career and academic goals. They tour university facilities, perform community service and hear presentations from successful Hispanic women.
The program seeks to build the girls’ self-esteem while directing them toward higher education. In addition, by involving mothers it increases parental involvement and awareness of higher education. Because of the program’s success, a father-son program also has been launched.
“The program is a success because we are addressing this problem as a community,” Tinajero said in the story.
Program leaders say it has even inspired mothers to pursue their own educational goals. That’s especially important, given that recent data released by the National Center for Education Statistics found children with more educated mothers tend to perform better on math, reading and science assessments as eighth graders.
Do you know of any similar programs in your area that focus on parent relationships? I also wanted to mention another program doing similar work in Austin, Texas. The Con Mi Madre (with my mother) program serves more than 700 girls in the 6th-12th grades annually also offers support to prompt more girls to pursue higher education.