Hi, my name is Laura Medina, and I was the summer marketing intern at Ivy Tech Northeast, trying to discover exactly what I want to study in college. As a Latina woman, I was excited to learn about a new program for Latino students at the College, G.O.A.L, y Amigos, or Graduating Outstanding Achieving Latinos and Friends.
The United States is such a diverse country, and its people represent an array of ethnic, cultural, and religious groups. Whether you were born in South America, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, it’s easy to feel isolated from those born in this country. I am from Colombia, and I think groups like G.O.A.L. are a great way to help minorities feel included. It’s just a small way more first-generation Americans like me are beginning to have our voices heard: academically, athletically, and in many other ways.
It’s super inspirational to see, not to mention extremely impressive. It gives hope to other first-generation kids who have immigrant parents, telling them that they, too, can someday be just as successful in the field of their choice. Organizations like G.O.A.L y amigos provides a support system for not only Latinos but for those of other backgrounds by encouraging them in their studies and personal lives.
Some aren’t so willing to open up and express their ethnic background, however, because they’re afraid of being discriminated. I find it extremely helpful to participate in organizations that advocate or promote diversity, like G.O.A.L.. It is so important that minorities are able to freely express ourselves without the fear of being criticized or judged based on our thoughts. JoAnne Alvarez, creator of G.O.A.L., was once a part of Hispanos Unidos at IPFW, a group with the same mission as G.O.A.L.
“It is important to feel comfortable so, although you are a minority, you won’t feel like one,” she says.
Brayan Castillo, a business administration major, is a member of G.O.A.L.
“G.O.A.L y amigos has helped in many ways in my performance in school, as well as in my personal life,” he says. “I have a better sense of purpose on why I am continuing my education with the help and support of our members.”
With the help and support from groups such as G.O.A.L., he is reminded how important the success of his education is which is why he’s so mission oriented and will not settle for anything less.
“We want to break down any stereotypes or barriers to ultimately bring ethnicities together,” Castillo says.
Ohro Zlatanovic, who is studying Criminal Justice, immigrated to the United States from Germany when he was 5, and he says groups like G.O.A.L. are especially valuable.
“I realized how much they help unite and encourage people of all ethnic groups to succeed in all they do, whether it comes to the academic life or even the social life,” he says.
Learn more about G.O.A.L. on its Ivy Life page, where you can join.