Friday, May 06, 2005

Verizon Wireless Announces Launch of Spanish Language Short Film About Issues Facing Latino Teens

Verizon Wireless recently announced the national release of UBICATE!(TM) (Find Yourself!), the first educational short film in Spanish addressing the complex issues Latino teens face in developing healthy relationships. Funding for the national distribution of the film on Mother's Day is provided through a donation from Verizon Wireless' signature domestic violence prevention program, HopeLine(R). The topics explored in this remarkable short film include serious issues like: a young Latina teen who is in an abusive relationship and thinks she might be pregnant; the underlying sexism of a conflict between brother and sister in a family; the cultural divide between a Latino teen and his parents; and a teen struggling with issues at home who turns to friends with risky behavior. The film was produced by St. Paul, Minn.-based Casa de Esperanza, a non-profit domestic violence prevention agency that conducts national training for other non-profit agencies that receive federal funds.

The Latino population has tripled in the last decade; so have the unique challenges facing Latino youth. According to Casa de Esperanza research, Latino teens have had the highest teen birth rate in the nation since 1994 at 97.4 per 1,000, nearly double the national rate of 52.3 per 1,000. The Latino high school dropout rate is 2.5 times the rate for African Americans and 3.5 times the rate for non-Latino whites. "Verizon Wireless' support helped us produce the short film, and now the company is assisting us to create awareness about this project on a national basis," said Lupe Serrano, executive director of Casa de Esperanza. "Our aim is to expand a dialogue within the Latino community, and among Latino teens. Sending our message on a family-oriented holiday like Mother's Day, is especially appropriate."

"Verizon Wireless is fully committed to supporting domestic violence prevention programs and related initiatives," said Oscar Madrid, Verizon Wireless' associate director - national multicultural marketing. "We believe that UBICATE!(TM) will provide a valuable and much-needed tool for educators, non-profit agencies and the news media to address relationship issues faced by Latino teenagers and their families and provide important messages about family, peer and dating relationships."

The film was developed with input from Latino teens about the issues they face - from dating violence to communicating with parents to sexism within families. Casa de Esperanza's research indicates this is the first Spanish-language film specifically geared to facilitate youth discussion on these issues. Two-time Grammy-winning band Ozomatli provided two songs used in the short film free of charge. Besides the music from the eclectic Los Angeles-based band, the film also contains other music relevant to Latino teens, including Reggeaton and Hip-Hop.
Limited copies of UBICATE!(TM) are being distributed free of charge to public schools, non-profit domestic violence prevention agencies, and the news media in the United States, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To receive a copy, please send your request on official letterhead to: Casa de Esperanza:
P.O. Box 75177
St. Paul, MN 55175
Additional copies can be purchased from Casa de Esperanza. For more information call Casa de Esperanza at the following number: 651-646-5553 or visit their official Web site:

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