Con Mi Madre, meaning “with my mother,” is a nonprofit organization in Central Texas and Fort Worth that primarily supports young Latinas on their journey to college by incorporating family.

“Culturally, Latinas come from a background where family is really important. So if we're going to support a student navigat[ing] that process, bringing in the family, such as the mom, is key for that success, not just to get to college, but to get through college,” said Johanna Moya Fábregas, executive director of Con Mi Madre.

What it does

Though the organization primarily serves young Latinas and their mothers, it is open to all female-identifying students and their guardians, whether an aunt, uncle or grandparent.

The organization recruits fifth graders in the spring to start the program in sixth grade. Students no longer in the fifth grade can still sign up on the Con Mi Madre website no matter race, ethnicity, income, parenting situation or what school district they attend.

Con Mi Madre created a social and emotional curriculum and uses it in local school districts, including Austin ISD and Hays CISD. The organization seeks to invest in Latinas’ social, emotional and academic wellbeing as Latinas make up a large population of Texas.

“We start in sixth grade, talking about identity, self esteem. Then when a young student becomes more comfortable in who they are, and that confidence builds up, then they can focus on, ‘What do I want to achieve now, and what tools do I need?’’ Fábregas said.

Con Mi Madre does this through in-school meetings, conferences and workshops, where students learn about how to build up their confidence. The organization connects students who need extra academic support with their community partners. Of those who participate in its programs, the nonprofit reports a 96% high school graduation rate, a 76% college enrollment rate and a 93% college retention rate.

Who it supports

The organization has helped over 4,000 mothers and daughters since 1992, including Gabriella Lee, a junior at Johnson High School in Buda. She has received guidance from Con Mi Madre and is considering Texas State University or Texas Tech University.

Lee said prior to joining Con Mi Madre, she and her mother did not care much about her grades.

“Eventually, when we would go on the college tours, we both started to actually plan my future,” Lee said.

She said the bond with her mom has grown since joining Con Mi Madre. Through the nonprofit, they have volunteered at a local animal shelter, toured universities and attended conferences.

Con Mi Madre has a parent program where parents can emotionally prepare to see their daughters go off to college. Paola Rojas, Lee’s mother, said the organization helped her feel safer about her daughter going to college.

“Because of all those years accompanying them, we know that they’re going to bear the fruit and continue on the right path,” Rojas said in Spanish.

The organization also offers support for undergraduate students.

On Feb. 25 in Austin, Con Mi Madre hosted its inaugural Somos El Futuro—meaning “we are the future”—conference that prepares young women of color who are about to graduate college. The conference included a college and career fair, a keynote session, an “Ask a Therapist” session, and an entrepreneurship panel. The conference was open to Con Mi Madre participants and the general public, with an attendance of over 100.

“Participants were driving from as far as Dallas and Houston to benefit from a conference that seeks to empower women of color to succeed in today's workforce,” Fábregas said. “Learning these skills is especially important for first-generation college graduates navigating a different work culture than their parents.”

Learn moreLucero Ponce is a reporting fellow for a Community Impact and University of Texas at Austin partnership with a focus on growing and diverse neighborhoods. The project is supported by the School of Journalism and Media’s Dallas Morning News Innovation Endowment.