Blog

It’s FAFSA Time!

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the form that high-school seniors and undergraduate students need to fill out to get federal financial aid to help pay for college. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education. Many states and colleges use FAFSA data to award their own financial aid.

UnidosNow, in collaboration with the School District of Manatee County and other REACH Manatee partners, is hosting a series of online workshops where students and their parents can receive personalized assistance to complete the FAFSA. The safety of the students and volunteers is our priority, that is why this year we have transitioned the workshops to an online format. The first online FAFSA workshop was held on October 3 and it was a success! Ten trained volunteers assisted eleven students from various schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

The upcoming workshops will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on:

  • October 13, 20, and 27
  • November 3, 10, and 17
  • December 1

Students and parents in need of help to complete the FAFSA can attend any of the sessions by following this link.

Those who are interested in volunteering should visit this site.

If you have questions, please contact Esther Garcia, Education Coordinator, at esther@unidosnow.org or at 941-301-8292.

A Progress Survey Show The Success of Our Programs

In September, we invited our Future Leaders Academy 53 Barancik Scholars to take a progress survey. Their answers is what motivates us to keep our work going.

Please find below the answers to some of the key questions the students were asked. You will see that the results speak for themselves.

  • Level of knowledge about the college application process
  • Level of confidence about getting accepted to the students’ best-fit college

UnidosNow’s Future Leaders Academy is much more than a college prep and career readiness program. We empower our Barancik scholars to dream big, believe in themselves, build their leadership skills, and give back to the community.

Our gratitude to Charles & Margerie Barancik Foundation for their partnership and generous support.

A New Academic Year During a World Pandemic

Last school year was a challenge for all our students, when the closing of schools in March brought them home to take classes online. The start of the new school year is bringing new challenges to our scholars, who are either studying from home or are on campus, and we wanted to hear directly from them about their experiences. Follow the links below to read their articles:

Leonela Tase Sueiro, FLA Alumni Class of 2018, The George Washington University

Karla Trejo, FLA Alumni from the Class of 2020, Florida Gulf Coast University

FLA Alumna Leonela Tase Sueiro Speaks About Her Online Classes at The George Washington University

I’m Leonela Tase Sueiro, and this year I’m a sophomore at The George Washington University—fully online and from home!

I got a taste of what virtual college would be like last spring semester, when we were sent home indefinitely after Spring Break due to the pandemic. However, this semester, since my school mandated that we all do virtual school from home as it would not be physically open, I had to acclimate to an online classroom and make it work.

At first it was difficult, as a house with six people—three generations—is hardly the ideal place for two college students to attend classes daily. But my entire family was dedicated to helping us through the process, so we went out and bought desks, desk chairs, lamps, and all the materials needed to create the right setting.

Now, since my sister and I share a room, she is my classmate, too—that’s a plus! Although, it’s definitely challenging when our schedules overlap and we have to be listening to our instructor and to each other speak at the same time, so in those occasions, we take turns doing class from the kitchen table.

Every time one issue is resolved, another arises. But it’s in these moments that we remind ourselves that we are not the only ones going through this hardship—our own teachers sometimes miss class because they cannot get BlackBoard to work, or forget how to use Zoom, or are in a different time zone.

The point is though, we are all learning more as every day passes, whether from class itself or from the hurdles we face. As long as we can all remain patient with ourselves, each other, and the systems supporting us through these changes, we can prevail.

FLA Alumna Karla Trejo Speaks about Returning to Class at FGCU

Florida Gulf Coast University allowed us the option of staying home instead of living on campus. However, I believe if we had already signed the housing agreement and if we decided not to live on campus after a certain date, we would have had to pay a fee. 

Right now, I feel a bit annoyed and nervous as the positive cases continue to increase each week since school started here. Plus, there are two fraternities that have been suspended for hosting a large off-campus party and now a sorority might be suspended as well since they attended a party that administration found out about.  

So far my classes are going really well. I have four in-person classes and two online classes that meet via Zoom or Canvas Conference. I have managed to maintain my grades so far and I’ve already had my midterm exams so I’m hoping for all good grades back! 

I go to campus every day not only for my in-person classes, but to print papers for a few of my classes and I work on campus at the Chick-Fil-A. So, on certain days I’m here on campus for about 7 hours and others I’m only here for 4 hours. 

There’s definitely a mix of reactions from students and the staff. There are students that still walk around without their masks on or they don’t have it on properly. Even some adults that I’ve noticed don’t wear a mask at all as they walk around campus which frustrates me since they’re the ones that should also be respectful of their coworkers who are already taking a chance to teach us in person. 

One thing I miss about being back home is definitely my friends. I would say my family, but I’m rather independent and talk to them whenever I have the chance and they visit me sometimes. With my friends it’s a bit tougher since they have their own class schedules and some of them work so it isn’t as easy to plan when we can hangout anymore. Oh, and I definitely miss my dogs too!

Get Ready to Vote Early!

By Leilani Monterde, Student Ambassador, Mi Voto, Mi Futuro Campaign

Lelani Monterde shows proudly her VOTE t-shirt.

In light of the pandemic, many people are looking for safe, socially-distanced methods of voting. While there will be social-distancing protocols occurring on Election Day, early voting is another reliable way to cast your ballot. Early voting in Florida is open from October 19th through November 1st. It’s also a great option for those who are very busy; all you need is to find some time on any one of these days to vote. 

To vote early, you don’t have to go to a designated polling location, like on Election Day, but rather there are various early voting sites in your county that you can choose from. All early voting locations in Manatee and Sarasota counties are open from 8:30am to 6:30pm. Specific location information for each county is listed below.

These are the Early Voting Sites for Manatee County residents, along with their addresses:

  • Supervisor of Elections Office: 600 301 Blvd. W. #108, Bradenton
  • Palmetto Library: 923 6th St W, Palmetto
  • Rocky Bluff Library: 6750 U.S. Hwy 301, Ellenton
  • Lakewood Ranch Town Hall: 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch
  • Manatee County Utilities Administrative Offices: 4410 66th St. W., Bradenton
  • FL Department of Transportation Operation Center (FDOT): 14000 SR 64 E., Bradenton

*For more information regarding early voting in Manatee County visit this Supervisor of Elections Office website here.

These are the Early Voting Sites for Sarasota County residents:

  • Supervisor of Elections Office in Sarasota: Terrace Building, 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota
  • Supervisor of Elections Office in North Port: Biscayne Plaza, 13640 Tamiami Trail, North Port
  • Supervisor of Elections Office in Venice: RL Anderson Building, 4000 Tamiami Trail S., Venice
  • Sarasota Square Mall: 8201 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
  • North Sarasota Library: 28091 Newtown Blvd, Sarasota
  • Fruitville Library: 100 Apex Rd, Sarasota
  • Shannon Staub Library: 4675 Career Lane, North Port
  • Bee Ridge Park: 4430 S Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota

*For more information regarding early voting in Sarasota County visit this Supervisor of Elections Office website here.

If you requested a Vote by Mail (VBM) ballot from your Supervisor of Elections, you can also drop off your completed ballot (with your signature and date in the designated sections of the envelope) at any of these locations during early voting.  If you are mailing in your VBM ballot, remember to place TWO stamps on the envelope. 

Pick the place and time that works for you, and make sure that you bring a current ID that includes a photo of yourself and your signature. Then you’ll be all set to vote!

Stay safe and remember: make your voice heard. This election season, vote!

For more information regarding the voting process visit our campaign page here.

Unidos Then: Seeing the Writing on the Wall

Interview with Board Chairman Kelly Kirschner

by Sandy Chase

¡Feliz cumpleaños!  Congratulations, as UnidosNow celebrates 10 years of empowering the Hispanic/Latino community—strengthening Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

A role model for other nonprofits, UnidosNow continues to excel, offering such diverse, crucial programs as Future Leaders Academy Barancik Scholars (FLA), Future Leaders Academy for Girls (FLAG), Future Leaders Academy for Middle School (FLAM), Parent Leadership Program, Mi Voto, Mi Futuro Campaign.

The insightful, untiring, professional Dream Team staff; community partnerships; and dedicated volunteers, including board members and FLA alumni, have enabled UnidosNow to promote its mission of educating, elevating, and integrating the region’s LatinX and immigrant community.

Kelly Kirschner, first Executive Director of UnidosNow and current Board Chairman.

We know about the exceptional progress Unidos has achieved over the last 10 years, as local media continues to publicize how UnidosNow makes a difference.

But what was UnidosNow like THEN, when former Sarasota City Mayor Kelly Kirschner, local Spanish-language media publisher Luis Eduardo, and Honduran-American attorney Christopher John (CJ) Czaia mounted a campaign to ensure that the Hispanic/Latino population—the fastest growing segment of our population—was represented?

Kelly set aside time from his schedule as Vice President and Dean of Eckerd College’s Division of Executive and Continuing Education, Board Chair of UnidosNow, and Trustee of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg to reflect about UnidosNow’s beginnings.

Why was there a need in our community for an organization like UnidosNow? 

I was serving as the Mayor of Sarasota in 2010 and, among others in the community – including particularly local Luis Eduardo Baron and CJ Czaia, we were horrified by the 2010 state of Florida election cycle and its results. The winning gubernatorial candidate prior to announcing his candidacy had zero name recognition anywhere outside of Naples. No political pundit gave him any chance of winning. However he invested over $12M in TV, radio and print advertising focusing squarely on a xenophobic, anti-immigrant message that laid the blame for Florida’s deep recession on the immigrant community and promised to remove them all once he was elected, following the lead of Arizona and their recently-passed “Show Me Your Papers” law.

In spite of such rhetoric in 2010, primarily vilifying the Latin American immigrant community, LatinX voters did not participate or show up to vote – particularly in the City of Sarasota where I was serving as Mayor. My recollection is that of our 20% LatinX population, only 2% were registered and only a fraction of that percentage (maybe 30%) participated in the 2010 election. It was a depressing moment for a number of reasons, the biggest being that if you have such a large and growing segment of your population that is not engaging in the most fundamental civic process, then it is a red-flag indicator of an unraveling of capital “C” Community.

When we looked at other areas of civic integration and asked the question:

UnidosNow founders, CJ Czaia (left) and Kelly Kirschner (right) in 2011.

What is the composition of X and is it reflective of this growing minority-majority community? Our local judiciary, are we seeing proportionate numbers of LatinX Sarasota/Manatee County judges? No. How about policing? No. Local civic and corporate leadership? No; utilization of banking services (no); attending cultural arts performances in the region (no); teachers and school administrators (no) – the list would go on and on, being abundantly clear that this was a marginalized and isolated community. Something needed to be done and greater attention had to be focused on integrating the region’s LatinX and immigrant population into the full cultural, economic, educational and civic weave of the Community. 

How did you get involved?  How does your background/career lend itself to the founding of UnidosNow?

As Mayor from 2010-11, I had made it a focus of my period to celebrate our immigrant community and seek to draw a greater percentage of the population into civic conversations with their City government – in particular as it related to policing.

There was a natural evolution then in working with individuals like Luis Eduardo and CJ to encaminar (guide) the creation of UnidosNow. Having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Guatemala where I lived and worked for close to four years; a Masters degree in Latin American Studies and a significant amount of time studying and working in Latin America, it was natural for me to work with this population. 

What did UnidosNow look like when it opened its doors?

For starters there were no doors. But let’s take a step back…If it weren’t for the initial vision and philanthropic support of CJ, UnidosNow would have never been created. CJ was the catalyst amongst our triumvirate to do something. I had started a non-profit in Guatemala but never in the US. Individually the three of us had understood for a number of years that something needed to be done to draw this community into greater civic conversations, but it was CJ that put up the dollars for many months to get it going.

What was the first UnidosNow project?

When I stepped down as Mayor, I took the lead as the first Executive Director and just as with the Peace Corps, it was an incredibly hard, but equally rewarding job. Our ‘offices’ were local coffee shops with free WiFi. I had a volunteer intern -Victor Yengle, a Dreamer who grew up in Sarasota and had to drop out of UF because they revoked his scholarship and in-state tuition the day he arrived to move in as a freshman and couldn’t prove his citizenship. (I’m proud to say that Victor is now a US citizen, a UF graduate and is in graduate school at Cornell University currently.)

Future Leaders Academy Class of 2015

The two of us were probably in a state of complete disorder trying to address as many issues in the region as we could at once, coupled with great energy and an unspoken understanding of the late John Lewis’ call for all of us to find the spaces in life where we are obligated to start “good trouble”. The biggest issue in our first year was addressing that “Show Me Your Papers” bill that the Governor promised he would make law in Florida when elected.

UnidosNow worked with a number of other immigrant/Latino-support organizations, Spanish-language media outlets, University of South Florida and its Institute for Public Policy and Leadership, New College, and southwest Florida faith-leaders for more than seven months, awakening the conscience of the state’s Hispanic/Latino community.

Through organized advocacy that led multiple groups to Tallahassee as well as local protests, the proposal never made it to the floor nor has it been brought up again since then. A number of individuals and groups throughout the state point to the work of Unidos in being critical to help stop that. 

UnidosNow at a community event providing books for children and information.

After defeating the “Show Me Your Papers” bill, what were your next steps?

Our vision has always been that UnidosNow would be a large-tent, immigrant-integration organization—working across the spectrum of education, culture, civics, and economics to better integrate this community into the full fabric of our larger Community.

After our first year, education emerged as our primary focus.  We were fortunate to partner with the former Sarasota YMCA Hispanic Achievers Program Director Estela Curiel on building the first cohort of our college-prep program:  FLA, which has evolved over time, particularly with the involvement of Hector Tejeda, and continues helping phenomenal students attend some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in this country. We hope and expect that these students will one-day return to their home in SW Florida and be these eponymous leaders of our region. 

How did you decide on the name UnidosNow?

Our current Executive Director, Luz Corcuera, has told me since I first met her over a decade ago that this concept of a melting pot in the United States is terribly flawed. There is no melting. What makes the US such a brilliant country is its diversity and the maintenance of customs and traditions from around the world that not only brings the world to a nation, but brings the enterprising, risk-taking spirit of an immigrant who leaves all that is loved and familiar to travel to our distant land to make a new life.

As such, Luz said the US has the most brilliant, complimentary fruit salad – where all immigrants represent their own, ripe, delicious, unique fruit and flavor profile – and together they make a perfect dessert. The creation of our name then sought to reflect that respect of richness, diversity; that multilingual is actually better than monolingual. It is also a play on words in that the United States in Spanish is “Estados Unidos” – so the fusion of Unidos with the urgent “Now” for an immigrant integration organization focusing on the LatinX community seemed to be about perfect. Uniting the community now – for the greater good of the United States is embodied in the name and our red, white and blue color palette. 

What challenges did you have to overcome in achieving your goals? How have you overcome these challenges?

When we first started, I think we confused many people. Some thought we were nothing more than a “flash-in-the-pan” political noise that would soon pass and fold.

Luz Corcuera, current UnidosNow Executive Director and fearless leader.

As a result, it was very hard to fundraise for our core programs, like FLA, with institutional funders. At some point in our second year, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation was the first large area foundation that felt they had done their due diligence on us and could invest in our work.

I’m proud to say that we have done everything we have said we would do not only for our friends with Gulf Coast, but all of our other funding partners, private donors and volunteers. That has grown the trust and level of credibility in the organization in the region and something we are very jealous of maintaining. 

Luz Corcuera’s leadership is foundational to this respect and credibility and we cannot begin to give her enough credit for how she has grown Unidos and our impact to levels that the three founders only dreamed of accomplishing in 2010.

Cómo reconocer los síntomas de Covid-19 en niños, según los consejos de los pediatras

Por Sandee LaMotte, Katia Hetter, Kristen Rogers y Ryan Prior, CNN

Actualizado a las 12:39 AM ET, sábado, 15 de agosto, 2020

Artículo de CNN, publicado originalmente en inglés

(CNN) – ¿Realmente se supone que los padres deben sentirse tranquilos con todo lo que se dice sobre casos “leves” de Covid-19 en niños? ¿Qué pasa con los “pocos” jóvenes desafortunados que han muerto o han contraído una extraña y grave enfermedad asociada?

Ningún padre quiere enfrentarse a las probabilidades de que su hijo sea la excepción a la regla.

“Ya hemos tenido 90 muertes de niños en los Estados Unidos, en solo unos pocos meses”, dijo el lunes el Dr. Sean O’Leary, vicepresidente del Comité de Enfermedades Infecciosas de la Academia Estadounidense de Pediatría (APP), a Anderson Cooper de CNN.

“No es justo decir que este virus es completamente benigno en los niños”, dijo.

A medida que varias escuelas y universidades de todo el país han comenzado las clases o están avanzando con planes para comenzar la instrucción en persona, total o parcialmente en las próximas semanas, los temores entre las familias van en aumento. Surge la pregunta: ¿Estarán a salvo nuestros niños?

Después de todo, ya ha habido un aumento del 90% en el número de casos de Covid-19 entre los niños en los EE. UU. En solo las últimas cuatro semanas, según los datos publicados esta semana por la AAP.

En Florida, donde la mayoría de las escuelas públicas aún no han abierto, siete niños han muerto, tres solo en el último mes. Las hospitalizaciones por Covid-19 entre niños en Florida aumentaron en un 105% durante el mismo período de cuatro semanas, de 213 a 436 casos.

Debido a que la mayoría de los niños se han refugiado en casa hasta hace poco, no es sorprendente que el número de casos en niños fuera bajo al comienzo de la pandemia.

“Los niños simplemente no han tenido tantos contactos”, dice el Dr. Sanjay Gupta, corresponsal médico jefe de CNN, en un evento de Facebook Live el martes. “A medida que vemos que los niños desarrollan más y más contactos, vemos que los números aumentan. Y están aumentando a un ritmo cada vez más rápido. Por eso me preocupan las escuelas.

“Tenemos que abordar esto con prudencia porque si tenemos brotes terribles en las escuelas, y si la gente se enferma (niños o profesores, quienquiera que enferme y muera), obviamente más allá del costo físico, existe el costo psicológico, así también en las comunidades “, dice Gupta. “Que es algo que realmente me preocupa”.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas?

Los síntomas de Covid-19 son los mismos en los niños que en los adultos.

“Si observa la larga lista de síntomas potenciales (congestión, tos, fiebre, pérdida del sentido del olfato), todos pueden ocurrir tanto en adultos como en niños”, dice O’Leary.

Otros signos clave incluyen cualquier dificultad para respirar; una erupción, especialmente una que se está extendiendo rápidamente; falta de energía; y problemas para mantener despierto a un niño, dice el pediatra Dr. Daniel Cohen, que ejerce cerca del epicentro del brote de New Rochelle, Nueva York, donde casi 2,900 personas se infectaron desde principios de marzo hasta finales de mayo.

“Es muy importante informar al médico de inmediato si realmente no puede levantarlos, si se quedan dormidos todo el tiempo y simplemente están agotados, si no beben, no comen, las actividades de la vida diaria.” Dice Cohen.

No dude en llamar al doctor

No preocuparse es demasiado pequeño para comunicarlo a su pediatra, dicen los expertos. Los padres son los mejores detectives porque saben cómo se comporta normalmente su hijo.

“Puede ser algo que no puedes comunicar, pero algo te molesta”, dice Cohen. “Siempre les digo a los padres: ‘Mira, si estás nervioso, yo también debería estarlo. Así son las cosas ahora'”. La única llamada que es incorrecta es la que no se hace”.

O’Leary está de acuerdo. Si los padres “ven que su hijo se ve particularmente enfermo o más enfermo de lo que esperarían con un resfriado o una enfermedad típicos, deben llamar a su pediatra para hablar. Cualquier cosa grave siempre es una preocupación”.

La pandemia está afectando la forma en que se practica la medicina. Pensemos en la fiebre, por ejemplo, un signo común de enfermedad en los niños que podría haber sido incluido en la lista de “ver y observar” en tiempos anteriores al Covid.

“Hoy, si vemos un niño con fiebre, hablo con esos padres a diario debido a la ambigüedad y el miedo que todos tenemos”, dijo Cohen. “No queremos perder a ese niño”.

No es solo el diagnóstico de Covid-19, dice. “Es observar la progresión de la enfermedad. ¿Este niño se enferma más rápido de lo que le gustaría ver? Y es entonces cuando quiere que lo atiendan”, agregó Cohen.

Esa guía también se aplica a la salud emocional y psicológica de los niños, dijo O’Leary.

“Los niños están más aislados, los niños muestran más ansiedad, más depresión”, dice O’Leary. “Esas son cosas, aunque no están directamente relacionadas con Covid, que necesitan atención”.

¿Puede saber si su hijo está enfermo?

Es una realidad especialmente aterradora para los padres que muchos niños pequeños son asintomáticos, lo que significa que no hay signos o síntomas de que sus hijos sean portadores del virus. Otros tienen un caso extremadamente leve con pocos problemas.

Eso debería ser un alivio para los padres cuando se trata de la seguridad de sus hijos, porque si un niño con Covid-19 está resistiendo bien el virus, los pediatras solo están apoyando y guiando a los padres durante la enfermedad, dice Cohen.

La preocupación luego se centra en proteger a otros, como hermanos, padres, abuelos y la comunidad.

“Los niños pueden ser una chispa y no queremos que el fuego se extienda”, agrega Cohen. “La mejor manera de deshacerse de un incendio es quitar el combustible, así mantenemos a todos separados”.

La única forma en que un padre puede sospechar una enfermedad asintomática es rastreando la exposición de su hijo con otros con Covid-19 y estar al tanto de lo que está sucediendo en la escuela a la que asiste el niño.

“Conocer sus hábitos, saber con quién estaba, saber que sus exposiciones son clave”, dice Cohen. “Sabe, un niño que no usa mascarilla en Georgia es diferente en este momento a un niño que no usa mascarilla en Nueva York, porque los casos están aumentando en Georgia”.

Si los niños asintomáticos deben hacerse la prueba de infección por coronavirus depende de “la frecuencia con la que los niños están expuestos a otras personas” y la cantidad de pruebas realizadas en sus comunidades, dice O’Leary.

“Lo más importante para que los niños vuelvan a la escuela es controlar realmente el virus en la comunidad circundante”, dice.

Las medidas de mitigación que funcionan para disminuir la transmisión del virus (usar mascarilla, lavarse las manos y distanciarse físicamente) son las más importantes, agrega O’Leary.

Enfermedad rara pero grave relacionada con Covid-19

Otra preocupación para los padres es el síndrome inflamatorio multisistémico en los niños (MIS-C).

Es una presentación rara e inusual en los niños que puede aparecer unos días o semanas después de que un niño haya estado expuesto al Covid-19.

“Se parece a algo conocido como Kawasaki, que también es un síndrome inflamatorio en el cuerpo. Y puede ser bastante devastador para los niños”, dice Gupta.

“Afortunadamente, es raro, pero sucede”, agrega Gupta. “Parece suceder en los Estados Unidos y en el Reino Unido, más que en otros países del mundo, y todavía no estamos seguros de por qué es así. Pero esto es algo que los médicos, pediatras y padres, todos, están manteniendo un ojo en ello”.

Hasta el 6 de agosto, los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades de EE. UU. Habían confirmado 570 casos de MIS-C en 40 estados y el Distrito de Columbia, incluidas 10 muertes. La edad promedio de esos casos es de 8 años y el 70% de los casos han ocurrido en niños latinos o afroamericanos.

El Dr. Kevin Friedman, cardiólogo pediátrico del Boston Children’s Hospital, dice que aunque podría haber aspectos del sistema inmunológico que predisponen a ciertos grupos a MIS-C, el efecto en las comunidades de color también podría estar relacionado con tasas más altas de condiciones de vida multifamiliares, padres que tienen trabajos como trabajadores esenciales fuera del hogar y mayores tasas de condiciones de salud preexistentes.

Las pistas de este raro síndrome

La primera pista de MIS-C es una fiebre persistente sin una causa clara, según la AAP. Si eso aparece en un niño que ha estado expuesto recientemente a alguien que pueda haber tenido Covid-19, debería “levantar sospechas”.

Otros signos a buscar incluyen dolor abdominal, diarrea, glándulas inflamadas, manos y pies enrojecidos o hinchados, labios rojos agrietados y ojos rosados o rojos, lo que se conoce como conjuntivitis. También puede haber respiración rápida u otros signos respiratorios, pero no son tan comunes.

Además de los síntomas comunes de fiebre, los síntomas gastrointestinales son más frecuentes en los niños con MIS-C, y entre el 80% y el 90% de los pacientes los padecen, dice Friedman, quien también es profesor asistente de pediatría en la Escuela de Medicina de Harvard.

Los niños con MIS-C se enferman rápidamente, dice la AAP, y pronto pueden mostrar signos de shock. Cuando son examinados, muestran síntomas de disfunción multiorgánica y niveles elevados de inflamación en sangre.

La mayoría de los niños con MIS-C necesitarán ir al hospital, dicen los CDC, y algunos necesitarán atención en la unidad de cuidados intensivos pediátricos.

Sin embargo, expertos como Friedman creen que hay una forma más leve de MIS-C que no aparece del todo en los informes de salud pública. “Probablemente solo estemos experimentando la punta del iceberg con esta enfermedad”, dijo. “También están ocurriendo algunos casos leves”.

MIS-C se puede prevenir de la misma manera que evitamos la propagación del coronavirus en general, agregó. Eso significa asegurarse de que usted y su familia se laven las manos con regularidad, cumplan con la recomendación universal de llevar mascarilla y practiquen el distanciamiento social.

Es una cosa más a tener en cuenta cuando los niños regresan a la escuela, pero la afección aún es muy rara.

“En cualquier lugar donde haya exposición a Covid, también habrá MIS-C. Es inevitable que veamos esto con la reapertura de las escuelas”, dice Friedman, y agrega que, según su experiencia, la gran mayoría de los niños con MIS-C mejoran y “lo hacen bastante rápido”.

¿No está seguro de que su hijo esté enfermo o simplemente estresado?

Algunos padres pueden estar preocupados por problemas de crianza más típicos, como si su hijo está realmente enfermo o si simplemente evita levantarse temprano. Debido a que estamos en una pandemia, los expertos dicen que es mejor asumir que el niño no está fingiendo síntomas.

“Muchos niños están teniendo depresión o reacciones del estado de ánimo a la pandemia, por lo que también pueden afectar el nivel de energía y la motivación”, dice la pediatra del desarrollo conductual, la Dra. Jenny Radesky, profesora asistente de pediatría en la Universidad de Michigan.

“De manera similar, si su hijo tiende a tener dolores de cabeza o de estómago en respuesta al estrés, o tiene un estómago sensible, utilice esa información para no reaccionar de forma exagerada ante nuevas quejas”, agrega.

Después de todo, todos estamos acumulando mucho estrés en nuestros cuerpos estos días. Cuando pregunte acerca de los síntomas, agrega, no haga preguntas directas como “¿Te duele la garganta? ¿Te sientes extraña la barriga?”

“Los niños responderán automáticamente si y no”, dijo Radesky. “En lugar de eso, pregunte ‘¿Qué te duele o molestal? Apúntelo. ¿Cómo te sientes?’ “

Finalmente, recuerde esto: “Es difícil fingir una fiebre. La fiebre no es psicosomática”, dice. “En caso de duda, llame al médico de su hijo. Ellos saben cómo diferenciar los síntomas orgánicos de las reacciones psicosomáticas”.

Todavía podrías enviar a un niño enfermo a la escuela

Aún así, no importa cuán cuidadosos sean los padres, “debido a que muchos niños con Covid-19 son asintomáticos, ciertamente es posible que envíe a un niño con Covid-19 asintomático a la escuela”, dice Radesky.

“Necesitamos más pruebas de vigilancia de estudiantes y maestros asintomáticos, de lo contrario, podemos sentir una falsa seguridad de que estamos enviando a un niño no contagioso a la escuela”, dice Radesky.

En un artículo publicado el martes en la revista JAMA Pediatrics, un equipo de pediatría de la Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Stanford recomendó que las escuelas sigan un enfoque de prueba de tres puntas, que se lleva a cabo en colaboración con los hospitales locales:

  • Todos los estudiantes con síntomas deben ser evaluados
  • Las escuelas deben realizar pruebas al azar para los estudiantes y el personal para identificar a los pacientes asintomáticos (importante especialmente para los niños)
  • Los estudiantes de hogares de alto riesgo se les debe ofrecer pruebas con más frecuencia

“Dado que muchos distritos escolares tienen limitaciones presupuestarias, las escuelas deben evaluar sus opciones e identificar las medidas que sean particularmente importantes y factibles para sus comunidades”, escriben los autores.

Jen Christensen, Rosa Flores, Melissa Mahtani, Lauren Mascarenhas, Christina Maxouris, Ray Sanchez y Sara Weisfeldt de CNN contribuyeron a este artículo.

Opening Doors. Our FLA Barancik Scholars Reflect on the FLA Program

Miranda Clapp: “FLA means getting connected with some of the most ambitious students in the area and watching each other grow over the course of the year. We are all brimming with potential.”

Maria Prisila Enriquez Vega: “FLA means an opportunity for the future because I’m not only learning for myself, I’m learning for five. FLA has given me not only the information but the resources to be prepared for the future. And be able to help my family and others by sharing what I learned, so they too have an opportunity for a brighter future.”

Denny Lu: “FLA is an opportunity to grow, learn, and challenge myself. I have been so fortunate to be able to gain insight from such impactful community leaders and learn from my peers every step of the way. My goal is to contribute back to my community in the profession of service that I desire in order to serve to the best of my ability.”

Sebastian Martinez: “Well, to me it means a lot, It means getting information and tips from dedicated people and mentors. It’s an organization that provides a lot of information that I didn’t even know about nor that I knew I needed.”

Nicholas Coelho: “FLA means: an open door to college, hardworking students, life advice and guidance. FLA creates new possibilities and shapes young leaders in our community.”

Helen Cala: “FLA means having a community that brings you confidence in your abilities and chances at a college education. Oftentimes we look at those who sacrificed everything for us and question whether we’ll have the tools or information necessary during the college process to make their hard work pay off.”

Adriana Alvarado: “FLA means the ability to open my own doors after all other doors were shut on me.”

Joshua Segebre, replying to an email from Cintia Elnestar: “I have been wanting to write this for a while. The other day in an email you sent ‘What does FLA mean to you?’. While what I am about to say doesn’t specifically answer that, I want to write about my experience.

“This program has tremendously helped me focus on my goals and I have also seen a huge development in my character. I remember close to a year ago, I was sitting in class excited that I had a substitute teacher for my Aice Spanish class. Then I was suddenly requested to visit the College and Career Center, that is where I learned about UnidosNow and met you.

“I was highly interested in the organization. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get involved in the FLA program due to transportation issues at the time during the summer of 2020. Fast forward to March, and many global events later, I was able to apply thanks to Esther who reached out to me who told me that you referred me. I was relieved to hear that the program would be
taking online via Zoom.

“I remember in my interview for this program; I told the three Hector, Luz, and you my academic goals and thought I had it all together in terms of my future. However, I was proved wrong by the end of the first workshop. I remember Hector told us in a workshop to not be confined by what is around you, and not only dream big, but do big. I intend to do just that.

“While I know this program isn’t over yet, I want to thank you once again for this opportunity as well as your persistence to recruit me. No amount of words can express how grateful I am to be in this program. I have learned more than just University prep work, but also valuable life skills. With gratitude.”

Students Giving Back

Family Engagement Director Lisbeth Oscuvilca Rodriguez Highlights How the UnidosNow Tutoring Program Is Making a Difference

by Sandy Chase

During this pandemic, Future Leaders Academy Barancik Scholars (FLA) alumni and other college students have dedicated their time to help foster the UnidosNow mission of educating its youth—as scholars are giving back so others aren’t left behind. Other volunteers, like retired teachers, have also answered the call.

Lisbeth has been an insightful, compassionate advocate—meeting individual academic and psychological needs of those who need it most. A consummate educator, she’s passionate about education and empowerment. Tapping into her creativity and significant experiences as an educational director in her native Peru and the United States, Lisbeth continues to create opportunities for Latino children and their families.

UnidosNow Executive Director Luz Corcuera says, “Lisbeth is an educator who understands that every student is unique and needs a guiding hand.”

Luz highlights Lisbeth’s role: “Helping to implement tutoring to support our young students as they transitioned to online instruction was critical.  She effectively paired younger classmen with senior students—a successful way to benefit both.”

Read about Lisbeth’s story here and the following interview, and you’ll understand why the UnidosNow tutoring program is making a difference as scholars are giving back so no one is left behind.

Who originated the program? 

After spring break, the school lockdown forced students to have full-time online classes. Many children couldn’t adapt quickly, and their parents couldn’t help because they lack or have limited technology literacy. Others didn’t have time because of their jobs and other commitments.

After the first week of online classes, our parents of elementary and middle school children contacted us for academic support for their children. Our Future Leaders Academy of Girls (FLAG) and Future Leaders Academy for Middle Schoolers (FLAM) needed our assistance immediately—prompting us to implement a tutoring program to support our families.

What are the program goals?

We want to make sure that our students continue to develop critical skills during this time of uncertainly—and after.

It’s most important to provide support in the areas where students need to overcome challenges like demotivation, lack of understanding of online assignments, and completing and submitting homework. We don’t want our students to fall behind academically or be affected emotionally.

Will you be continuing the program once school begins?

Yes, we’ll start at the beginning of the school year. Our current FLA Barancik Scholars are getting ready to tutor our young students for the upcoming school year.

What challenges have you faced? Students? Tutors?

Working with elementary-school students has been challenging for two reasons:

  • They weren’t used to studying or working on their own. They quickly fell behind, and some of them needed more than one or two sessions per week.
  • Because parents aren’t technology savvy, we first needed to teach them how to use Zoom, for instance, before tutoring our students.

Tutors found it challenging:

  • To make sure that students were on time for their online sessions because there was no bell or teacher to remind them “to get” to their classes.
  • To teach some subjects like math or writing because tutors aren’t able to see student progress so easily.

The following quotes highlight successful experiences for volunteers and young students:

Tutor Daisy Mendoza, a FLA alum and psychology major at Florida Gulf Coast University, says, “The experience was pretty good! I was able to connect with Jennifer, and we got along really well.

Daisy wasn’t sure what to expect when she first signed up, but she’s happy to have been able to get the experience. “I would be willing to do this again!”

Xena Meneses was recruited by FLA alumni Liam Ordonez (Cornell Class of 2023), another summer tutor.
“I enjoyed tutoring students online,” says Xena, a biology attending Florida State University, “because they were always enthusiastic about attending my sessions. I got to learn a lot more about individual students and was able to help them with homework or just listen to something new they were trying out.”

According to FLAG student, Melany Rodriguez: “I don’t feel behind anymore. I am doing better at school.”

FLAM student, Keira Monter says, “I’m doing well. I needed help and had someone to talk to.”

Parents are also very appreciative. Claudia Ortiz is indebted to the program:

“Definitivamente excelente ayuda y apoyo para los chicos, en lo personal mi hija Kitzia está encantada con la tutoría que recibe de parte de Denny Lu y yo como mamá se lo agradezco de corazón. Gracias, UnidosNow and Denny Lu.”

“Definitely excellent help and support for the children. Personally, Kitzia is thrilled with the tutoring she receives from Denny Lu.  And as a mother, I’m really thankful from the bottom of my heart.  I thank you, UnidosNow, and Denny Lu.”

Look for upcoming interviews with FLA alumni Liam Ordonez and Denny Lu, founder of the nonprofit Your Advance, which partners with UnidosNow.