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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.

“Thank you to everyone in UnidosNow for the experience of a lifetime.”

August, 6, 2020

By Juan Arcila

UnidosNow’s Future Leaders Academy college tour at the University of Central Florida in 2018.

I can remember the first time I was introduced to UnidosNow as if it was just yesterday. It was one of those rare and special moments in life where you feel you are at the right place at the right time. It was my first week on the job as a bilingual admissions counselor for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus. My supervisor suggested I attend a closing ceremony for their Future Leaders Academy graduation they were having on campus. I’ve never heard about UnidosNow before and decided to do some research on the web prior to attending the ceremony. However, I could not find anything about the nonprofit. I went back to my supervisor confused and told him I was unable to find anything about the organization. He asked me how I was spelling it and laughed when I told him I mistakenly interpreted the name of the nonprofit as “YOU-NEED-US-NOW.” 

He corrected me in his endearing American accent:

“It’s U-NEEDOS-NOW.” 

UnidosNow. It’s a name I will never forget.

When I attended the closing ceremony, I remember getting goosebumps the entire time. I was completely mesmerized by the speeches of the graduating “FLA Scholars.” Even though I’ve been in the organization for four years, it’s still one of my most vivid memories. Sitting in the audience for the first time and hearing the incredibly powerful stories of each of the scholars was moving beyond what words can describe. 

2017 UnidosNow’s Board at our Future Leaders Academy’s Decision Day.

Since that moment, I knew I wanted to get involved with the organization in some way.

My relationship with UnidosNow started as a volunteer in the Millennial Challenge initiative for the Giving Challenge that year. As a recent college graduate, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but with the support of our incredible UnidosNow staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors, we managed to win first place in the challenge.

I was then invited to serve in the Board of Directors, before finally transitioning to a full-time role in the proverbial UnidosNow “Dream Team.”

The rest is history as they say. 

Every single day has been a privilege and an honor to serve in such a unique and special organization.

Even though there were challenges and frustrations along the way, I would not trade a single moment spent with Luz, Hector, Wendy, Lisbeth, Beatriz, Robin, Wil Colón, Cintia, Esther, and all of our incredible Board members, donors, mentors, volunteers, and all the partners and extended community that makes up the UnidosNow family.

Luz Corcuera, Wendy Barroso, Lisa Ramirez and Juan Arcila at a The Patterson Foundation’s No Margin. No Mission session in 2018.

Now it’s time for me to spread my wings and continue on to the next chapter of my life. It is with an aching heart that I say farewell to UnidosNow and the families we serve. However, this is not goodbye. Even though I will not be a full-time staff member, I will continue to work with our students and support our programs from afar as needed. 

Thank you to everyone in UnidosNow for the experience of a lifetime. 

I’m proud to say that UnidosNow is my family and will always be. It’s an understatement to say that I fell in love with the organization from day one. 

That love for our students, families, and mission still burns as strong 1,459 days later, and will continue for many years to come.

As our beloved executive director likes to say “UnidosNow is like Hotel California. Once you check-in, you never check-out.”

Onward,

Juan Arcila

It’s Time to Register!

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

Incoming voters! It’s time to registe: the deadline to register to vote is October 5th! Luckily, there are two ways you can register to vote. One is through an online form and another is through a hard copy form. Both are easy and quick to fill out. All the information you need is your Florida Identification Card (Florida ID Card)/Florida Driver’s License and the last four digits of your social security number.

First Things First

Before we get into how to register to vote, we must first establish the eligibility requirements. In order to vote in Florida, you must be a:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Florida Resident
  • 18 years old or older. (However, if you are over the age of 16, you can still pre-register to vote.)

You will not be eligible to vote if you do not meet any one of the above requirements, and/or if you have been:

  • Convicted of a felony and do not have your voting rights restored
  • or have been found to be mentally incapacitated by a court and do not have your voting rights restored

What’s Next

Okay! So now that we know you are eligible, it is time to register! The first way to register is through an online application. Here are the steps to register in Florida through this method:

  1. Go to registertovoteflorida.gov.
  2. Click on “Register or update”. It is a blue button that should be in the center of your screen under “Welcome!”.
  3. Here, you will find the Eligibility portion of the application. This part double checks to make sure you are eligible to register to vote. Then press “Continue” when finished.
  4. Under the “This Is” part, you will want to check off “New Registration”.
  5. Follow the instructions given and fill out the “Personal Identification Information” part.
  6. When you are finished, press “Continue”. Fill out the following sections and press “Continue” when finished.
  7. Review to make sure all of your information is correct. Read over and check off the “Oath” to submit. If you want to edit anything before submitting, do so by clicking the “Edit” button.

If you do not have a Florida Identification Card/Florida Driver’s License you can still use this application, the submission process will just be different. The first 6 steps are the same as before, but the highlighted portion is different:

  1. Go to registertovoteflorida.gov.
  2. Click on “Register or update”. It is a blue button that should be in the center of your screen under “Welcome!”.
  3. Here you will find the Eligibility portion of the application. This part double checks to make sure you are eligible to register to vote. Then press “Continue” when finished.
  4. Under the “This Is” part, you will want to check off “New Registration”.
  5. Follow the instructions given and fill out the “Personal Identification Information” part.
  6. When you are finished press “Continue”. Fill out the following sections and press “Continue” when finished.
  7. Next, review the information, and press “ Print Paper Application” when finished. 
  8. Print out the form and make sure you sign it in the “SIGN/MARK HERE” box.
  9. Lastly, you will need to either mail or hand deliver your application to your county’s Supervisor of Elections office. 

Here are the addresses and contact information for the Supervisor of Elections offices in Manatee and Sarasota counties:

Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office

600 301 Blvd. W., Suite 108, Bradenton FL 34205

Mailing: PO Box 1000, Bradenton FL 34206-1000

Tel: 941-741-3823.

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office

Terrace Building 101 South Washington Blvd, Sarasota, FL, 34236

Tel: 941.861.8600

One More Very Important Thing

If you are a first-time voter in Florida, and have not been issued a Florida Identification Card/Driver’s License, then you need to add one of the following to your application:

  • A COPY of an identification card you own that has your name and a picture of you (Ex: Student ID, passport, credit or debit card, etc.).
  • Or a COPY of an identification that includes your home address and name (Ex. Bills, checks, government document)

You need to send one COPY that proves your identification to your county’s Supervisor of Elections office (above).

The second way to register is through a hard copy form. If you live in Manatee County, the Mi Voto, Mi Futuro campaign can send you a form, directly, in the mail. The form will come with a stamped and addressed envelope to Manatee County’s Supervisor of Elections Office, so you can mail in your registration. If you would like us to send you a hard copy application, email us at [email protected] requesting this. If you live in Sarasota County, you will need to pick up a hard copy at the Supervisor of Elections office.

That’s all there is to it! You should receive your Voter Information Card in the mail soon after registering. To find more information about registering, voting by mail, and election day click here: https://unidosnow.org/vote/ 

Resources

UnidosNow Fights Back

by Sandy Chase 7/25/2020

Scholars and alumni have answered the UnidosNow call for help during COVID-19 because they understand the difficulties Latino youngsters and their parents face.

Almost immediately, scholars and guest college students registered to tutor one or two younger Latinos. Tutors are meeting once or twice weekly, helping students with homework and online learning.

Look for interviews from Future Leaders Academy (FLA) scholars and alumni who selflessly donate their time to “educate” students and their families.

Also, look for upcoming interviews from young students (tutees) continuing their education, even though schools are closed. Because these youngsters have been receiving academic assistance, they too can become the next generation of leaders.

Together, UnidosNow will win the fight.

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Covid -19 continues to wreak havoc on this country—infecting us, killing people, and closing schools, businesses, and our favorite places to eat and play. But UnidosNow will not surrender to this virus, especially when it comes to our community.

UnidosNow is fortunate that its tutors are dedicated to strengthening educational opportunities—a cornerstone of its mission.

To quote Executive Director Luz Corcuera, “We are grateful to our scholars who have added their talent, energy, creativity, and tech skills to support our younger students and parents as they adjust to online instruction.”

For almost 10 years since UnidosNow began, this organizations has been empowering Latinos to achieve their American Dream—through education, integration, and civic engagement.

COVID challenges UnidosNow. But because of staunch supporters, the organization won’t give the virus a chance.

A 4th of July Message

By Kelly Kirschner, UnidosNow Board Chair

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On behalf of the UnidosNow Board, our staff, dedicated volunteers, students, and families, I want to wish you a happy and safe 4th of July holiday. Never in my lifetime has there been a more sober period in our national experience to honor and celebrate Independence Day. 

The celebrations in 2020 will be muted as public fireworks performances, festivals, and parades are cancelled, and we all wrestle with the pain of the ongoing pandemic; the global financial and unemployment crisis; and a reckoning with our long-held myth of American exceptionalism, in particular as it relates to our neighbors of color being able to equally participate in such an exceptional land.

With the backdrop of the current Black Lives Matter protests and the tumbling of statues around the country, it is a good moment to reflect on the history of the Statue of Liberty–our nation’s most iconic and recognized statue and its intersections with our current national challenges and the work of UnidosNow. As documented in this 2019 Washington Post article, the Statue of Liberty was originally conceived in 1865 to celebrate freed slaves, not immigrants. 

The plaque with Emma Lazarus’ poem—“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” was not added to the base until 1903, not too far from the broken shackles of slavery that lie at Lady Liberty’s feet, but rarely do we see included in images of her. The same French benefactors who beat the bushes to raise money to make the statue were also eagerly raising money to support recently freed slaves, who had been set forth into a land without a penny in their pocket, much less any benevolent-aid organizations to help them adjust to such a radically different life. 

African slaves were immigrants—not of choice but by brutal force. Yet in many ways, the Lazarus’ poem does apply as much to the descendants of slaves as it does to today’s immigrant community: this nation, founded on the premise of Liberty, stands out amongst all others in the world, as you will breathe free here and share in the equal opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. 

Amidst these uncertain and tumultuous times, there is a latent sadness many of us share with how our nation’s ideals continue to be elusive, if not an outright scam for so many of our fellow citizens of color. Maybe this was best encapsulated on July 4, 1936, when President Franklin Roosevelt honestly reflected on our nation’s Founding Fathers during an Independence Day celebration at Monticello, the former slave plantation of Declaration of Independence author and President Thomas Jefferson: “Theirs were not the gods of things as they were, but the gods of things as they ought to be.” 

As a supporter of UnidosNow, helping us raise an astounding $282,000 during the recent 2020 Giving Challenge that now supports over 400 of the region’s most vulnerable families bridge our current crisis, it is with utmost gratitude and appreciation that you are here with us and support us in this effort to build and make things as they ought to be in our community today – continuing to call into being the promise of our nation that was laid out on July 4, 1776. 

Please enjoy your holiday, be safe and thank you for your continuing support.

Our Required Work

By Kelly Kirschner, UnidosNow Board Chair

2020 marks the tenth anniversary since the local immigrant-integration, non-profit UnidosNow was formed. I am proud to be one of the founding members, having done so amidst the backdrop of local, state and national issues negatively impacting immigrant communities. On a local level, from 2009 to 2012, a period during which I served as City Commissioner and Mayor, the bright light of disparate treatment of minorities by law enforcement focused on the City of Sarasota’s Police Department. 

Similar to recorded killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, the only reason that this came to the public’s attention and outrage was due to the Sarasota Herald’s publication of a video recording showing an SPD officer allow an inebriated immigrant, Juan Perez, climb out of a squad car and fall six feet onto his head, his hands handcuffed behind his back. The officer then proceeded to kick and stand on the man. It ultimately led to the firing of the officer, the resignation of the Chief of Police, the creation of a City Police Complaint Committee and an Independent Police Advisory Panel. In spite of a history of other complaints of excessive use of force against the offending officer, similar to what is seen in Minneapolis with former Officer Chauvin’s record, he remained and advanced with the force prior to the Perez incident that ultimately cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuit settlements and legal fees. Perhaps most disturbing, three years after the incident, a panel of Sarasota residents that included a former and current City Commissioner on the Civil Service Review board voted unanimously to reinstate the fired officer, giving him three years of back pay, in spite of the then African-American Chief of Police appearing before the board advocating that they ratify the officer’s termination, due to his dangerous disregard of policies and protocol in caring for a handcuffed individual.

I share this story because the frustration and the violence we are seeing in our country today is not just about the individuals who police us; it is really about us and a four-hundred year history since African slaves were brought to these shores of not demanding better, in spite of our insistent belief in American exceptionalism. When I say ‘us’, I’m really referring to us, the majority white population of this country that inherit, whether we like it or not, the legacy of our nation’s forefathers who wrote and signed a “Declaration of Independence” that declared “all men are created equal”, while many of the signers, including the principal author, Thomas Jefferson, owned thousands of African slaves, including their own children. A little over a decade later, this caste system was enshrined in the Constitution, an amended version that we still use today, determining that a slave was only 3/5ths of a human being. This year’s Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones, wrote in her award winning New York Times essay last fall, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.”

UnidosNow was formed in many ways, then, to stand in solidarity with our black community and join the fight to make these ideals true as we seek to integrate our vibrant immigrant community into the social, economic and civic weave of the American Dream. The fight is not a struggle that our black and LatinX neighbors (many of whom are also descendants of African slaves brought to Latin America) must wage on their own. Indeed, the truth and reconciliation process must take place within our nation’s Caucasian community where the hope of any progress to get us beyond where we are now will take place. As Dr. Ibram Kendi in his best-selling book, “How to be an Anti-Racist”, points out – it is not acceptable to simply say, “I am not a racist.” The question for all of us is rather, “how are we being and behaving in an actively anti-racist manner?” Anyone who has watched the videos from Georgia and Minneapolis this past month is horrified. Many are moved to action, as witnessed Sunday in Payne Park with hundreds of local residents peacefully convening and marching throughout downtown Sarasota calling for greater police accountability. While this is a start, white residents have the obligation to educate themselves how to be better allies and active, committed anti-racists. As Americans guided by the noble aspirations of our Founding Fathers, it is our obligation to help create a more just and equitable society where all people have a fair chance to be healthy, free and alive. To better empower conversations and civic activism in that process for white residents and parents, here is a link to a myriad of resources that will help you become a more engaged, anti-racist: bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES

My UnidosNow Story by Rey Claro

Back in the start of freshman year in high school, sweets and a well-lit room welcomed me. And there he was: Hector Tejeda was sitting there, smiling looking at everyone and asking their names. That is when I knew: this club is The One. 

I got to understand UnidosNow’s vision and what they wanted us to grasp from them: presentation skills, communication skills, and most importantly, loyalty. 

UnidosNow showed me the ins and outs of college, starting with New College, all the way to talks with an admissions officer at UPenn. These skills were fully grasped with the Future Leaders Academy program. 

With special training and dedication from the UnidosNow team, they helped me succeed in my college journey. I can’t be grateful enough for the whole team starting with Juan Arcila, who was funny, but got serious when he wanted to, to Hector and Luz, who started this whole connection together. 

FLA helped me step out of my comfort zone by hosting classes at Mote Marine with a professor from USF showing me new scientific instruments I had never seen. With this being only one of the many things they provided me with all along the way. 

There are two days I will never forget from FLA and those are the days that I first heard of Vassar College and when Robin gave me the final push to making my college essay amazing. For the first day, Robin was calling out students and giving them clear cut matches on what schools they should be looking at according to their criteria. She calls me out and she reads me off a list of schools that I would like, and then I sat down. Paula, one of my classmates, came back and we compared lists; she had a school that I didn’t get, Vassar. That was then the day I first learned about Vassar and also the day I applied to their fly-in program. The second day, Robin was going around giving college essay help, and she gave me the final boost to help perfect my application. 

All in all, I’m very grateful for FLA and the UnidosNow program for all that they’ve done for me and for all they have continued to do!

Learning Beyond the Classroom

The end of July marked the successful culmination of our 2019 Summer Parent Leadership Program, when our participants met to celebrate their accomplishments. What brought us together was a love of learning—extended beyond classroom walls.

We proudly recall:

  • Visiting the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Library, and the Women’s Resource Center and its Unique Boutique (career closet). 
  • Inviting such amazing community partners to our classes, such as author and business woman, Jane Plitt; artist and Reiki master, Ingrid Brandt; officer and commercial associate of Bank of America, Paula Rincon; and program coordinator for JFCS Healthy Families/Healthy Children, Anna Baker. 
  • Receiving copies of Jane Plitt’s book, Martha the Hairpreneur has inspired participants to start their own business. 
  • Obtaining library cards, learning about managing money, and signing up for programs offered by both the library and the JFCS. 
  • Improving English skills and learning about leadership—thanks to Ingrid and Marnie Howell.  
  • Expanding horizons and becoming aware of many organizations to explore further.
  • Building bridges and fostering lasting friendships.

Thank you to all our partners, especially St. Jude Catholic Church, who generously hosted our parents and children. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Without their generous support, none of these experiences would have been possible.

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