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Organization Mission

The mission of Senderos is to create pathways to success and build community by sharing Latino culture through traditional arts and by fostering educational opportunities. Senderos means “pathways,” and provides equitable access to after school folkloric dance and traditional music classes. Senderos creates a shared sense of belonging for immigrant families, preserving their cultural heritage across generations, and supporting pathways to academic success.

Senderos youth feel supported in their development, proudly showcasing their talent in community and school festivals, and encouraged to achieve their dreams for college and career. For 21 years, Senderos has brought cultural arts, education, and community together while increasing an understanding and acceptance of diversity throughout Santa Cruz County.

The Big Idea 2023:
Cultural Arts Pathways for Latinx Youth and Families

To meet the increased needs of the community, Senderos will expand FREE after-school Mexican folkloric dance and traditional music instruction for Latinx youth, most of whom are low-income. We provide musical instruments and traditional dance outfits for practice and performance. Senderos programs connect young people to their family heritage, enhance self-esteem, and push for academic success leading to higher education.

Showcased in many community and school events each year, Senderos youth and their families feel valued in the public arena, opening up avenues for positive collaboration and greater tolerance. The results reverberate into the community by encouraging confidence, problem-solving, creativity, resilience, cultural awareness, relationship building, and dreaming big.

Most of our participants will be the first in their families to attend college, so we’d also like to increase college scholarships offered to first generation students. We will offer resource information, assistance with applications, and motivation with activities such as the Latino Role Models Conference (presented with Cabrillo and county school districts).

Senderos has shaped me into the person I am today; I felt welcomed and met so many others with similar backgrounds who understand my struggles as a first generation student. I got to see so many people work hard and grow — and being surrounded by strong and kind people, especially and mostly women, has really inspired me to persevere, be more confident, not afraid to speak up for myself.

Ibeth, Santa Cruz, 18