At 20-years-old Claudia Espinosa came to NYC from Colombia in search for a better tomorrow, not knowing a life changing experience would completely change her career path. While studying for her Master’s in Public Administration at NYU, Claudia worked for a non-profit organization where she met some young Latinas who would change her life forever. The non-profit has a special suicide prevention program working with young Latinas. There Claudia learned that some of the highest suicide rates and dropout rates in New York come from young Latinas. According to a 2012 report by the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, 13.5 percent of young Hispanic female students said they attempted suicide. From there the idea of Latinas On the Verge of Excellence (L.O.V.E) @LOVEmentoring mentoring program came about, launching in 2011.
Raised in a family with strong women she realized this is just what many of these young girls needed in their lives, a mentor figure. “Many young girls may feel that it can be too hard to accomplish goals such as graduating from high school or to get into college and the idea here is to show them that it is not. Many of our mentors who come from local colleges are Latina themselves, we want them to see if we can do it they can too.” Currently the program is at four boroughs in NYC, starting every fall and working with the girls throughout the school year. Just last year Claudia was able to take some of the program participants to the annual Latina Empowerment & Development Conference at @Harvardu who accepted high school students for the first time. Claudia plans on focusing to keep of the mentees progress all through out their high school careers and plans on expanding to two schools per borough by next year. Claudia also plans to pursue a doctorate degree in education soon in hopes of one day opening a school in NYC for young Latinas.