Latina Moms Connect provides a space for other moms to not feel alone

President and founder Dorothy Santana says seeing the organization grow is a sign of the need for the type of space the organization provides.

Jon Dowding

Oct 9, 2023, 10:07 AM

Updated 186 days ago


The nonprofit Latina Moms Connect allows members to come together to cook, catch up and share their experiences as Latinas on Long Island.
It’s also a reminder of how far they’ve come over the last decade.
President and founder Dorothy Santana says seeing the organization grow is a sign of the need for the type of space the organization provides.
"Women are really hungry and eager for connection and I thought what a wonderful opportunity that I can tap in to other moms that supports them,” she said.
Ten years ago, she longed for a space to connect with other Latina moms like herself.
"As a Latina and as a mom raising bicultural kids, I felt like I was somewhat alone in that parenting journey,” said Santana. “I was in a suburban area where there weren't a lot of people that looked like me."
Knowing she had to do something, she started a Facebook group for other Latina moms to connect, aptly named Latina Moms Connect.
Over the years, Santana found other Latina moms on Long Island who also felt alone.
Adriana Valencia said she shared similar feelings once she moved out of the city to the North Shore in Suffolk County.
"I didn't hear my language or the music. It wasn't as easy as it was when I was in Queens or even Baldwin where we bought our first house to go and purchase items to make sofrito," said Valencia.
A decade later, Santana’s Facebook group has grown into a nonprofit providing a space for connections through events like Sofrito Sundays.
For Linda Pedone, it’s a chance to not only reconnect to her roots but find a way to share other people’s traditions with her children.
"Sofrito is a big part of the Latin community,” said Pedone. “Without sofrito, I don't know because I make a bomb arroz con gandules."
The group also holds discussions around holiday cultural events, as well as children’s emotional and mental health. The goal is to provide a space for moms to share their experiences, build a community, and find out ways to pass on their culture to their kids.
"My daughter is now away at college,” said Elisa Irvolino. “She lives with nobody that's Latina and she's like, 'Mom, I have to cook.' So okay, we go on Facetime, we make pollo guisado."
The discussions kick off with members pulling questions out of a hat and holding a discussion about the question.
Questions are given in English and Spanish and can include something like, "¿Cuál fue su primera impresión de su vecindario cuando se decidió por Long Island?”
Members say they just want other moms out there who may feel disconnected to know one thing.
"You're not alone,” said Valencia.
"You're not alone,” said Pedone.
The organization holds monthly events. Find out more about their events here.
Para nuestra comunidad hispanohablante, escucha esta entrevista con una miembro de la organización aquí:

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