Harper College

13th Annual Harper College Latino Summit welcomes Leticia Madrigal MA, gathering an expected 450 Latino teens for Higher Education.

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Each year before Harper College’s Annual Latino Summit, attendees are given a survey to gage their thoughts about heading down a path toward higher education.

Latino Summit - web

Many responses are pessimistic or, at best, apathetic: I’m not going to college. College isn’t for me.

After the event, however, the same survey questions produce a far different tone.

“It’s a completely different story at that point,” said Juanita Bassler, a recruiting specialist at Harper and one of the event organizers. “They talk about their potential, their abilities and the opportunities they’ve had their eyes opened to.”

Harper’s Latino Summit is an all-day event focusing on the importance of sticking with school amid the reality that Latino students seek out college less frequently than their peers. The 13th annual gathering is expected to draw about 450 Latino teens from school districts 207, 211, 214 and 220. It takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, on the College’s main campus in Palatine.

The day will begin with opening ceremonies and keynote speaker Ernesto Mejia, the proud son of Mexican immigrants and a true example of the American dream. After dropping out of college, he eventually decided to take school seriously, taking on two jobs and a full course load to finish his degree.

Afterward, Mejia earned his master’s and climbed the administrative ranks at several colleges before pursuing his own personal dream of motivating young people to enroll in college. He now tours the country speaking about the importance of finding the strength and confidence to reach one’s potential, even in the wake of racism and prejudice he knows are alive and well.

Leticia Madrigal MA is one many professionals speaking today. Here’s a few things Leticia talked about.


You are an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and more. Tell us about that?

She is the Principal Industrial/Organizational Psychologist at Madrigal Consulting; Founder and CEO of ÁmateAhora, Voice for Healthy Living. Now with WomenHeart she is expanding her platform by sharing her HeartStory and up to the minute information in Español on Heart Health thanks to the Mayo Clinic and all the WomenHeart partners. 

What are you out to do in your life?

Leticia Madrigal creates a culture of leaders causing leaders. Creating the experience of power and peace of mind by coming to terms with our health. By sharing her families testimony for patient advocacy and empowerment, men’s health and healthy living. Mobilizing healthy families, a healthy workforce at an individual, organizational and community level worldwide.

Tell us what inspired you to create the ÁmateAhora | LoveUNow Movement.

I’ll answer that two fold.

Please raise your hand if you have family, friends, neighbors who have died from a preventable condition? Look around, see for yourself. You are not alone.

Did you know? About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. While almost everyone is affected by heart disease directly or indirectly, Afro-americans and Latinos face even higher risks of cardiovascular diseases because of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Additionally, heart disease is the #1 killer of Hispanic women. Unlike many illnesses, heart disease is preventable!

Leticia shares how her parents inspired her journey to be a voice for healthy living, by founding www,joinamate.org. Her father Natalio Madrigal, withheld his symptoms from everyone including his doctor his silence led to his untimely death in 2012. He was an avid walker then the last few years of his life he walked less, ate the same, hence gained weight and had difficulty breathing. He did not share his symptoms, like many.

On the other hand, her mother’s doctor told her she had 6 months to live after living with Diabetes untreated for 20+ years. Francisca Madrigal’s heart and kidney were compromised. Yes indeed Diabetes is a silent killer. Her mother is a survivor of a TIA and is a pacemaker recipient. She chose to powerfully manage her diabetes and now, years later, she’s loving life.

Thanks to being a caregiver she’s learned a lot. In solidarity with her mother’s well being and honoring her father’s life. They embraced the journey to powerfully manage diabetes and lead a healthy lifestyle. They exercise regularly, practice being continuously hydrated, consuming loads of greens, supplements, staying low on the carbs, consuming moderate amounts of protein, is nourished with a peaceful and happy heart.

You were diagnosis with a Heart Murmur?

Just this September Leticia was diagnosed by an Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Mohahamed Dahodwala, MD, FACC from Cardiac Associates with an Aortic Valve Disorder. First identified by a heart murmur caused by slightly leaky valves including the aortic and tricuspid valves. Dr. Dahodwala says, “To date prognosis is good and requires yearly monitoring”. Thanks to Dr. Estella Hernandez, MD from NutriMedicos and Board of ÁmateAhora. She is most grateful for Dr. Estella’s  light speed referral, most gracious and expeditious appointment. To God Be The Glory.

How do you share your story? 

She stands tall sharing with the world their testimony. They founded ÁmateAhora, LoveUNow Voices for Healthy Living a few months after her father’s passing. Where they coined and hold true, “Love you now, tomorrow may be too late” and “ÁmateAhora, mañana pueda ser muy tarde”. 

How do you mobilize the community?

Collaborating with leaders producing an Annual Health Expo, lead 90Day Health Challenges at NutriMedicos 1743 W. 18Th Street. Run for Causes, Blog for ÁmateAhora at http://www.joinamate.org and Advocate for Healthy Living.

At the Latino Summit, several scholarships totaling $15,000 will be presented to graduating seniors who attended the Latino Summit as freshmen and sophomores. Attendees also will break into groups led by about 50 Latino professionals and 40 college students from the area who believe in the event’s mission.

“The professionals discuss the obstacles they’ve faced and the positive influences in their lives,” Bassler said. “Their perspective is crucial for these students, many of whom are the first in their family to even consider going to college and don’t know about what it takes or why it’s so important.”