“Poderismo”-Power of Mentorship in the lives of Latino youth
Positive mentorship can have an everlasting impact in the lives of individuals. “Poderismo” a form of positive mentorship in the lives of Latino youth can be transformative for American society because it will help low income Latino communities diversify and strengthen 21st century leadership. Our country is becoming predominantly Latino and we need to invest in the future of American society. Having a strategy to push for “Poderismo” programs in schools, communities, and societies is a great start to help improve the education, leadership, relationships and emotional health of Latino youth.
Leadership practice is critical in developing methods of mentorship in organizations and institutions locally and nationwide. A powerful style of mentorship that supports the framework of “Poderismo” is servant leadership. Servant leadership is a style of leadership identified by Robert Greenleaf, which believes in the power of compassion and service (Greenleaf, 1977). The care towards serving others and being conscious of their needs is very important as it allows us to understand the people we help more. The servant learns from the student and becomes stronger. Greenleaf (1977) explains, “The servant leader is leader first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions” (Greenleaf, p. 27). Servant leadership is a forceful approach that helps transform education and spaces of learning that works hand in hand with mentorship. To serve and inspire with experience and education our communities become stronger and the seeds we plant grow and bear fruit. For Latino youth it is critical for them to have someone whom they can trust and build real relationships with.
The Latino community in America is not only the fastest growing population in America but also the largest ethnic group in the United States of America at 55 million. The leaders of this nation in the near future will include Latino youth, so we must act with care. The more community leaders and people invest in positive mentorship programs for Latino youth, the more our nation will develop self sustaining individuals in their community making society and our nation stronger. Through guiding principles such as carino, community cultural wealth, compradazgo and servant leadership we can make strides to further develop our underperforming Latino population. The change starts with the groundwork of building positive relationships and programs to support our Latino students.
If we as a nation do not create systems of leadership that support mentorship in the lives of Latino youth, we are are not really equipping the Latino population as a whole. As the largest ethnic group in the American society to not have enough mentorship programs for Latino youth is an ill advised strategy for a nation. Organizations and institutions need to see “Poderismo” as a method to help better equip and organize methods and tools to have leaders employ in their learning spaces for Latino youth. Furthermore, not just employing intervention methods that still lead to the criminalization, stigmatization and oppressive systems for the Latino male population. Leaders need to stop putting the blame on the schools, communities and societies in certain cases and look into the leadership within the systems. The more mindful we are about creating methods of leadership for the Latino population the more our society will be equally represented in all bodies of society.
Yosso, T. J (2006). Critical Race Counterstories Along the Chicano/Chicana Pipeline. New York: Taylor and Francis Group.
Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.