5 lessons I learned from the finalists of the MamásLatinas Awards

24 hours a day go so quickly, that we rarely take the time to look around us and appreciate what others have to offer. Participating as a judge of the MamásLatinas Awards this year gave me the rare chance to learn about the work that so many amazing Latina moms are doing within their communities and beyond-- a rare chance that turned into a gift to me as I was so inspired by their stories that I now feel fueled to go out and conquer the world! These are just some examples of the great lessons the MamásLatinas Awards finalists taught me...

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1. Pat yourself in the back. Perhaps you don't find it easy to sing your own praises, but think about it more as an expression of your pride, something that can inspire others to do great things too. That is the case for Patricia Gracia, a charsimatic individual who is the founder of Power Media Group. The Peruvian mother of two says: ¨I was drawn to the bright San Diego lights. I told myself that someday I would sit center of that energy and draw on it to create my success and the future of others.¨ A year later, feeling unstoppable and confident, the MamásLatinas Awards finalist was way underway to a successful career as an entrepreneur.

2. Don't be afraid to dream big. ¨Next step is to start a non profit organization to help Latino parents with special needs children. No one better than someone who has had similar experiences to help them,¨ said Eliana Tardío Hurtado, finalist for the Awards and creator of a bilingual site  that helps parents with special needs kids. This Bolivian mom of two kids with Down Syndrome has already done so much to help others but is convinced there is still much more to be done.

Read more ¿Qué más? Our 25 finalists for the first'ever MamásLatinas Awards will inspire you!

3. Get creative. Maybe it's just a touch of creativity what you need to propel yourself to greater places. Such is the case of Marisol González, a single mom of a teen boy who has been proudly working on a documentary that follows youngsters as they try to reclaim their lives back from drug addiction and prostitution. Like Marisol, Jennifer Sánchez has made of her passion (in her case the love for martial dance capoeira) an extremely rewarding kind of work. According to her there is nothing like knowing that she can in fact make a difference, something she does with dance workshops at local schools and a church down the street. The accomplishment that Jennifer is most proud of is ¨the community that we have created. These people are like a big family and they help one another.¨  

4. Don't just stand there. It's way too easy to complain about what is wrong with the world that surrounds you when you're not doing much to change it. Violeta Galagarza, founder of Keep Rising to the Top, is a testament of the power within you to be the first to take a step towards community advancement. The finalist saw how violence in The Bronx was threatening her community. Her work with the youth with dance programs and classes has been the ¨positive alternative to the negative social pressures and gang violence.¨  

5. Do it for your children. Of course we all face challenges. What is important is to overcome then and not let obstacles stop us from wanting to do better. This is particularly the case when you are a mom. ¨You may not have the courage to take a stand for yourself but you do for your children.¨ These are the words that Dawn Díaz heard from her mom that got her to break the cycle of violence she was caught in for many years. The survivor of domestic violence and mother of three is a testament of the unbeatable spirit of the Latina woman. She is the creator of the Milagros Day Worldwide Oranization and has helped hundreds of women in their journey from abusive relationships to financial and spiritual empowerment.

Patricia, Eliana, Marisol, Jennifer, Violeta and Dawn are just some examples of the amazing women I have gotten to know through the process of judging the MamásLatinas Awards. Just like them, you and I can make a difference too!

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Topics: mamáslatinas awards  inspiring latina moms