A college prep program that was started to combat Travis County’s dismally low graduation and college attendance rates for Hispanic girls is successful because it engages moms. Con Mi Madre, Spanish for “with my mother” requires mothers and daughters to work together to make sure Hispanic girls graduate and go on to college, Statesman.com reports.
The program was created in 1992 by the Junior League of Austin to try and combat Travis’ county’s teen pregnancy rate, which was the highest in the state. In 2005, the pregnancy rates for Texas Hispanic teenagers was over twice that for non-Hispanic Whites. Since it began, Con mi Madre girls have had a pregnancy rate of less than one percent.
The program does its work with a budget of about $500,000 annually and with students from the University of Texas School of Social Work, who are able to help with emotional and other problems in Con mi Madre participants. Women in most Latino families make the majority of the decisions regarding education, but if they do not have a college education themselves, it is very difficult for them to help their daughters take the necessary steps to make higher education a reality. Con Mi Madre provides girls and their mothers with monthly conferences, college and career fairs, mentoring and counseling and college campus visits to help them get where they want to go.
77 percent of Con Mi Madre members last year were economically disadvantaged and only 34 percent had a parent who attended college. The program gives moms the tools they need to be mentors to their daughters to make them successful.