you know of Latina girls between 12 and 18 years-old who need a
bilingual support group to call their own, call Jennie Nestor today!
The contact number above is Jennie's work number at Social Advocates
for Youth. But the girls' group is held under the auspices of A
Time to Smile. And if one group fills to capacity, says Jennie,
then we'll form another.
There was a time when
Jennie Nestor was sorely in need of a group like this herself. Jennie
was the sixth child of California migrant workers. The family moved
with the crops, from El Centro to Salinas and back again. On Jennie's
very first day of school she tried to comfort an English-speaking
classmate who was crying. Somehow Jennie's Spanish words made the
girl cry even more. The teacher began yelling at Jennie in English.
Jennie began crying inconsolably, and Jennie's big sister had to
come get Jennie from class and take her home.
It probably all could
have been smoothed out, if there had been some effort by the school
to help the migrant worker kids. Or if there had been a group where
the Latino kids were supported. Instead, things went from bad to
best friends were migrant worker kids too. One after the other,
they would disappear scattershot around the country as their families
took off to work another crop. When her own family would move, Jennie
would find herself plucked from one school and dropped into another.
All the kids would be on a different page of a different book, and
teachers didn't reach out. Jennie grew isolated, hurt, and then
"I stopped putting energy
into it," says Jennie. "I rebelled and didn't go to school. I got
into drugs and alcohol and didn't care about myself." The insight
Jennie nurtured regarding her own youth grew into a dedication to
reach deep into other youngsters' lives and guide and nurture them
Eight years ago, Sonoma
County Social Advocates for Youth saw this special passion and intelligence
in Jennie despite her lack of formal education. They hired her as
the agency's youth gang outreach worker. Jennie is grateful to Social
Advocates for Youth for the extensive education and training they
have provided her with since. Today, as the agency's bilingual counselor,
Jennie sees individual youngsters and their families from referrals
throughout the county.
asked what will mark success for the bilingual girl's group she's
formed with A Time to Smile, Jennie has no hesitation. " Success
is when the girls consider it their group. When they blossom. When
the girls learn another girl isn't their enemy. When a girl can
reflect in another girl's story."
Time to Smile has persevered
in helping minority girls in Sonoma County for three and a
half years on near starvation funds. Please contact founder
help her meet the needs.
523-9515 ext 2