Margarita Flores, a pastoral associate and chaplain for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who founded Instituto Latino Life Coaching in Compton, said many in the Latino community suffer from a crisis of confidence.
"In the Hispanic community, you don't have too many people encouraging you to ask yourself, 'What is the next step in my life,' because the next step requires change," she said, "and change is the biggest fear that people carry."
Instituto Latino offers life-coaching sessions in Spanish at very low rates on a sliding scale, so even people who are struggling financially can work on personal development, organizational skills and self-esteem.
A recent study called "A Portrait of California 2021-2022" found that Latinos have made the most progress of any ethnic group in health, education and standard of living over the past 10 years. However, Latinos still remain the lowest-paid ethnic group. In particular, Latinas in the Golden State earn on average just over $25,000 per year, compared with about $62,000 for white men.
Flores said Latinos make up almost 40% of the state, so the future of California depends on the success of this community.
"I believe that helping self-esteem and empowerment for mothers, fathers, entrepreneurs, leaders in our churches and communities is very essential," she said.
With determination and a helping hand to guide and encourage them, she said, people can develop the courage to go for that next job opportunity, improve relationships with family and friends, get a handle on debt and live their best lives.
By Suzanne Potter for Public News Service