President’s message: To the volunteers who make a difference, no matter how small

Dear CCNMA members,

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to take a moment to share an appreciation for the many volunteers who have made a difference in the work that we’ve done this year.

Last month, we launched our second annual mentoring program at KABC’s studios in Glendale, and we were fortunate to have almost two dozen professional journalists step forward as mentors.

The mentees, primarily students from CCNMA’s Cal State University Northridge chapter, told me earlier this year that they lacked connections with seasoned journalists who could guide them as they created their résumés, applied for internships and prepared to graduate. When we put the word out at our CCNMA open house this summer, the response from our members was immediate and positive. We quickly reached our space capacity for the event, and had to create a waiting list for those students whom we couldn’t accommodate.

That the mentors were in such high demand was a reminder to me of how essential these professionals will be to these students – some who are the first in their family to go to college – as they navigate through a tough profession.

At KABC, our students received a tour of the studios, heard some heartfelt advice from longtime CCNMA member and KABC reporter Sid Garcia, and then connected one-on-one with their mentors. As I left that night for another appointment, the room was abuzz, filled with conversation, ideas and excitement.

Many thanks to Diane Medina, KABC’s vice president for diversity and community relations, who so warmly hosted us that night and has long supported CCNMA’s diversity initiatives.

Having watched my mentees thrive and succeed with a little advice and encouragement, I can say the mentoring experience has been rewarding and well worth the time I’ve invested.

Last month, CCNMA also hosted its annual Journalism Opportunities Conference, which went smoothly thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers. However, I want to highlight the commitment of one our volunteers in particular, Ana Facio-Krajcer, a longtime CCNMA member. You’d likely recognize her face, as Ana has for many years given her time at not just the JOC, but at our annual scholarship banquet as well.

She recently moved to the Washington D.C. area, but didn’t let the distance stop her from volunteering at the JOC once again. It’s because of members such as Ana that CCNMA is able to accomplish so much. That commitment, hard work and dedication are very much in the spirit of what our founders envisioned when they created this organization. It’s about giving a hand to the next generation, and it’s about giving what you can.

I keep a mug with the image of Frank Del Olmo, one of CCNMA’s founders, on my desk near my laptop. The mug is inscribed with a quote from Frank: “My hope has been for a career that will allow me to make a difference in the world, no matter how small.”

As we head into the busy holiday season, let’s remember that our actions, no matter how small, really do make a difference to those around us. For anyone interested in serving as a mentor, please contact the CCNMA office as we would still like to connect the handful of students on the waiting list.

CCNMA has some exciting possibilities percolating as we head into the New Year, which we will share soon with all of you. In the meantime, thank you all for being a part of the CCNMA family and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Yvette Cabrera, president
CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California

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