Latina non-profit supplies feminine products and scholarships to students

Mujeres Ayudando La Raza provides for their community


Mujeres Ayudando La Raza co-coordinator and third-year anthropology major Lexi Bravo poses in front of a tree outside of the Sac State Library on Thursday, April 7, 2022. Bravo said MAR helps Latinx students become more involved in their community. (Photo by Alexis Perales)

Alexis Perales

In some bathrooms around campus, there are little boxes full of women’s products with an Instagram logo imprinted on them. The contents include pads and tampons that are up for grabs for anyone who may need them. 

The organization responsible for donating and gathering these products is Mujeres Ayudando La Raza, which translates to “women helping out the community.”  

MAR is a multicultural non-profit organization created at UC Davis in 1990 before a chapter opened at Sac State in 1999.

MAR incorporates different aspects of Latinx culture by participating in community service events while also forming new friendships and bonds, third-year anthropology major and club co-coordinator Lexi Bravo said. 

 The club’s board of directors takes a different approach to leadership compared to other organizations. Bravo said that instead of a president, vice president and secretary, their board consists of three co-coordinators who oversee the club and its other board members.

According to Bravo, her mother was a founding member of MAR at UC Davis and said the club reformed its roles because the members wanted it to be cohesive in how they ran things to prevent just one person from being in charge. 

“Nowadays, I think it makes it a lot easier because I’m not worried about everything I have to look over,” Bravo said. “We have backup and people to lean on to help us out when we’re running events like the youth conference.” 

The youth conference is a scholarship-based conference for high school seniors to apply for money for college that the club fundraises for, Bravo said.  

MAR co-coordinator and fourth-year criminal justice major Karina Baltazar poses in front of a bush by Riverfront Center on Thursday, April 7, 2022. Baltazar said that MAR helps her open up and connect with other members who hold backgrounds similar to hers. (Photo by Alexis Perales)

Karina Baltazar, a fourth-year criminal justice major who serves as one of the co-coordinators of MAR,  said the youth conference is an all-day event for high school seniors that provides them with resources for mental health or education questions. 

“We do a lot of fundraising throughout the school year specifically for that event,” Baltazar said. 

She said their most recent fundraising event included a partnership with Round Table, where a certain amount of money went to them for their scholarship. 

Baltazar, who joined MAR in 2018 as a freshman, said finding this community was nice because she was able to find other people with similar backgrounds and a passion for community service which she liked and enjoyed. 

“It can get hard at times, especially being a first-generation student,” Baltazar said. “There’s a lot of weight that is put on us in a lot of the things that we go through and we don’t always talk about it.” 

She said this club has allowed her to connect with people who make it comfortable for her to open up and talk about these issues and connect on a deeper level.

Fourth-year Spanish major and MAR club member America Armenta poses in front of the Ernest E. Tschannen science complex building on Thursday, April, 7, 2022. Armenta said she was still able to connect with the in-person members despite tuning in virtually via Zoom when she first joined. (Photo by Alexis Perales)

America Armenta, a fourth-year Spanish major, said she was able to find a sense of belonging and togetherness in the club.

Armenta joined MAR last semester virtually but said that didn’t stop her from being able to connect with the members who were present and online with her. 

“They’re very welcoming and they really wanted me to join and be a part of it,” Armenta said. 

She said the club is helpful for Latina students on campus because they are forming lasting friendships and leaving little acts of kindness around through community service opportunities.

Third year criminal justice major Teresita Soto-Perez joined MAR upon transferring to Sac State at the beginning of the spring 2022 semester. She said she joined because of her older sibling who was in the club before her.

Third-year criminal justice major and MAR club member Teresita Soto-Perez poses in front of a bush by the Riverfront Center on Thursday, April 7, 2022. Soto-Perez said she joined MAR due to an older sibling’s request and has learned to be more outgoing since joining. (Photo by Alexis Perales)

Soto-Perez said the club has helped her become less introverted because of how accepting the members are to one another.

“I know it’s very empowering for a lot of women from the Hispanic culture and just for women in general to know that we are better together,” Soto-Perez said. 

She said she hopes to continue with the club next year as well because it has helped create a good mindset for her and her friends. 

“We are women out in the world and we need to stick up for each other and do a lot that people say we can’t do,” Soto-Perez said.