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UnidosNow Flash Essays

UnidosNow is a not-for-profit organization works to empower the growing number of Hispanic/Latino community members in the Manatee and Sarasota region through education, integration, and civic engagement so that they can achieve the American dream.


They deliver programs to low-income, first-generation elementary, middle, and high school Latinx students and their parents by providing them with the tools necessary to build a successful post-secondary path. The existing gaps seen in the Latino community regarding educational attainment rates, access to health care, and decision-making representation inform the planning and delivery of their our programs with the ultimate goal to embolden students and their parents to create opportunities that can bridge these gaps.


An integral part of our holistic strategy includes parent engagement through a Parent Leadership Program which builds the capacity of Latino parents to acquire the skills they need to effectively engage with schools, to play a strong role in preparing their children for post-secondary education, and to expand their involvement in the community. It also empowers parents with life skills and access to community resources, including funded workforce training, with the goal to actively support their children's education.


UnidosNow Parent Leadership “Cafecito” was inspired by Zoom sessions participants who wanted to create a community. They come together virtually, with their cup of coffee, to share ideas, concerns, and stories. It’s coffee time with friends.

A smile makes me feel at home, speaking with kindness and being able to speak comfortably. Also, when someone uses Spanish it makes me feel welcome. —Irma Bravo


When I first stepped into this country, I felt that it opened its arms to me. I met friendly people that offered to help me. You can grow here and see the fruit of your work and also see what you can do. You can dream and achieve. —Yesira Hernandez


I’ve been in this country for 16 years. I’m thankful that I can learn a lot from people around me. I’m not necessarily part of this culture, but now that my daughter was born here, it makes me feel like I belong in the US. —Claudia Ortiz


I always dreamed of living in Miami and having a red convertible. Honestly, I feel more at home here than in Mexico. In my small hometown, I couldn’t live in peace and without worries.

Mercedes Pasillas


I came here from my country to have a better lifestyle. I wanted my children to have an education. I didn't study formally, but I found an opportunity that has made everything better: my relationship with my partner, my home life, just everything. The company Amway gave me professional and personal development and I have met a lot of people. —Juana


We’re learning a lot in comparison to what we would be learning in my pueblo. Our children have more opportunities in matters of education and health. —Nancy


We find a lot of help with organizations like UnidosNow and the programs from the government. —Yesenia


I feel at home with good work, a good telephone, and the assurance of safety in this country. We can learn from other cultures here. The US is a beautiful country. —Debora


I like the support I get from people in the community and the church.  People are helpful and the feeling of community is strong. —Juanny Hernandez


It’s my children’s country. My goal was for my children to speak English. I knew that I wanted to live in this country. I’m really thankful that my children are from this country. I also feel like I belong here. I still love my former country but I feel like the US is my home now. —Lucia Chavez


There were a lot of radical changes when I first came here, but I have experienced a lot of good people and good moments in this country. I have inner peace. —Maria Chavez


I feel very welcomed here. —Maria Camarena


I feel very at peace here. I feel secure. I love the freedom that this country offers. —Mari Teri

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