Things That Matter

These Latina Teens Invented A High-Tech Tent, But It’s Not For Fancy Camping Trips

A group of 12 Latina teens from San Fernando High School in Southern California have invented a solar-powered tent that has insulated fabric, solar panels, a safety locking system and even includes a UV sanitizing system.

This tent is sure to be the envy of camping enthusiasts everywhere, but it wasn’t invented for folks that camp out in the elements for fun. It was invented for those who don’t have the means to live anywhere other than on the streets: the homeless.

This group of caring student engineers is the only all-female team out of 15 teams to be awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant from the Massachusettes Institute of Technology to develop their invention. The grants are awarded to teams of “high school students, educators, and mentors that receive up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing.”

Homelessness, the real-world problem the girls chose to find a solution to, hits close to home because last year, the San Fernando Valley saw a rise in the homeless population. The tent was created to serve this population in particular. “It’s not about us. It’s not about what we do or how great we can be. It’s what we can do to make this world a better place for these people, a better place for everyone,” says 12th-grader and team member Maggie Mejia.

What’s next for these socially conscious teenage inventors? They would like to head to Cambridge, Mass. in June to present their invention at EurekaFest with all the other InvenTeams, but money is an issue. The girls come from low-income families that can’t afford the cost of the trip. They’re not giving up, though and are determined to raise the funds they need to head to Boston.

They need to raise a minimum of $15,000 to get themselves to Boston. You can help by donating to their GoFundMe page here.


Find out more about the all-female high school engineering team here.

Don’t forget to share their incredible story by clicking the button below!

This 11-Year-Old Latina Has Thousands Of Followers On TikTok And The Most Hilarious Sense Of Humor About Latinidad

Things That Matter

This 11-Year-Old Latina Has Thousands Of Followers On TikTok And The Most Hilarious Sense Of Humor About Latinidad

Of the new class of TikTok talent that has cropped up since the app’s boom in popularity, no one is as relatable or as hilarious as adorable superstar-in-the-making Oliva Olivarez. Daughter of one of the reigning queens of TikTok, Ashlay Soto, Olivarez started out as a co-star in her mom’s viral short movies and quickly upgraded to scene-stealer. The videos were so popular because they riffed on the old “mother knows best” adage and playfully acted out the consequences of what would happen if alternate-reality Olivia rebelled against her Mom’s good (if strict) intentions.

Now, this little Latina upstart of Mexican descent has her own TikTok account that boasts over 1 million followers–not a shabby number for a girl who isn’t even 12-years-old yet! Needless to say, Olivia has an incredibly bright future ahead of her and we can’t wait to see more of it. In honor of Olivarez 12th birthday coming up on July 29th, we’ve compiled a list of Olivia’s top TikTok videos that illustrate precisely why she’s the reigning Princess of TikTok. 

Here is a round-up of Olivia Olivarez’s top Tik Toks!

1. Olivia Stealing the Spotlight

One of Soto/Olivarez family’s best videos because of how candid it is, Ashlay is getting really into her performance when Olivia pops in and does a sassy hair flip, completely stealing her mom’s spotlight.

2. The “No Boys Ever” Video

Ashlay makes it no secret that she’s not a fan of the idea of her daughter growing up and dating. This is one of many videos where she makes her feelings known.

3. When Olivia Reveals the Man Behind the Curtain

Olivia is not afraid of calling out her mom for her online shenanigans when they’re misleading. This is why we love Olivia–she’s all about keeping it real.

3. When Mom finds out you’ve been lying about boys…

In another hilarious video of Ashlay’s reactions to Olivia talking to boys, Olivia denies she’s talking to one before her mom catches her in the act and chases her off screen. This is an ongoing bit for the mom-daughter duo that, frankly, never gets old.

4. The Adorable #TBT of Young Olivia

Here’s a #TBT to when Olivia was super young and super adorable. As her mom and her brother sing One Direction’s “Olivia” on a split-screen, Olivia dances and sings before her hair suddenly turns into colorful braids. 

5. Mama Knows Best!

Both Olivia and her mom lipsync the lyrics to the song “Weak”–an ode to resisting the temptation of vices like drugs, alcohol, and sex. In the end, as usual, Olivia hilariously rebels against her mom making for comedic gold.

6. Me: “Momma, I’m a big girl now”. Momma: “Not if I have anything to do with it”.

Another hilarious “no boys” Tik Tok, Olivia sings Hairspray’s “Momma I’m a Big Girl Now” song and when she gets to the line “now I’d rather play around with teenage boys”, Ashlay cuts in and tells Olivia “You better run”. 

7. When the tables have turned

In a hilarious turning of tables, while usually, Olivia is the one to run away from Ashlay, when Ashlay tells Olivia “I don’t care about Fortnite”, she ends up being the one running!

8. Instant Regret.

The family drama continues! We’ve all been in the situation where we talk back to our madre and then immediately regret it. This Tik Tok illustrates that feeling of instant regret perfectly.

9. Potty Mouth

We know that if we had Ashlay as a mother, we’d be terrified to step out of line. Like in this video when Olivia is about to sing along to a song with the f-word and Ashlay steps in and makes her think twice about cussing.

10. Relatable AF

“Mom, I just want to tell you that I love you.” “What do you want?” How many of our moms have responded EXACTLY like that when we say those words to them? As usual, Ashlay and Olivia are spot-on with their interpretations of everyday life. 

‘Our Quinceañera’ Is A Documentary Featuring A Principal Who Has Been Throwing Quinces For Students Who Can’t Afford Them

Culture

‘Our Quinceañera’ Is A Documentary Featuring A Principal Who Has Been Throwing Quinces For Students Who Can’t Afford Them

In the small Mexican-American town of San Benito in Texas, many girls dream of the day that they will make their debut as women to their family and community. But the tabs for orders of gowns, crowns, food, decorations, and DJs often run so high that for awhile such events for the girls in town were out of reach.

Then, Gilbert Galvan, the principal of San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy, came up with an idea that meant that not a single girl would be forced to miss out on the opportunity to take part in the tradition.

Since 2015, San Benito has hosted an annual quinceañera event for young girls and their families.

CREDIT: Avenida Productions

Nearly five years ago, Gilbert Galvan Sr. found himself being invited to quinceañeras by the students at his school. Then one day, some of the answers from the young women at his school caught his attention. After a few of his female students opened up to him about the fact that they did not have enough money to afford a quinceañera, Galvan Sr. was inspired to do put on a party for them on his own.

In just a matter of months, the educator sought out donations from his community to put on one massive quinceañera. Donations and gifts came in all forms– from cakes and dresses to crowns and the volunteered time of makeup artists and mariachi singers. That was the first year.

In the years that have followed, Galvan Sr. has continued to put on the event where as many as 40 girls have attended at a time. Today, donations for the girls come in from across the country.

The community quinceañera has gained so much attention that it’s now becoming captured in a documentary.

CREDIT: Avenida Productions

As reported by FIERCE by mitú last year, Galvan’s son, Gilbert Galvan Jr. —who has worked in the entertainment industry for ten years— was inspired by his father’s efforts and pitched the event as a documentary concept to Fanny Véliz, the award-winning filmmaker and CEO behind Avenida Productions. Now, having been directed by Véliz and given the name “Our Quinceañera” appears to be closer to its release. According to the documentary’s site, the film is in submission for festivals!

During an interview with FIERCE last year, Galvan Jr. said he hoped the documentary will inspire viewers to “embrace their heritage and celebrate the power of community… We want to document this historic event while empowering and inspiring Latina girls across the country to pursue and achieve their dreams.”

Check out the full trailer below!