Sobrevivir/A Will to Live
Sobrevivir, or "A Will to Live", is a 501C3 not-for-profit organization established in 1991 dedicated to providing outreach, education, information, advocacy, emotional, financial and physical support necessary for Latina, African American, and other women of color in order to survive the psychological/physical aspects of life threatening illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, AIDS and mental health illnesses. Latina and African American women have high instances of mortality as they are less likely to take advangtage of medical interventions and are fearful of entering traditional medical models. In order to survive, they must be reached out to on a multi-generational basis and models of intervention which need to be tailored specific that are culturally inherent and need to be treated with respect and dignity. Only through a multi-generational, culturally sensitive, caring approach can our families be outreached to with a much more successful outcome.

Sobrevivir/A Will to Live is a program that is built on the strengths of each cultural group. It is culturally and linguistically competent and can easily be adapted to a variety of populations. The support of women, their families, and their friends is accomplished through a unique form of volunteer, survivor support groups called Co-Madre - which is based on the Latino concept of extended families. These groups of survivors with life threatening illnesses need to come together and form networks of support reinforcing survivorship promoting self-advocacy and building networks woman to woman, family to family, community to community, generation to generation such that there will be a future where they will be in charge of running their respective diseases rather than running away from them.

Sobrevivir/A Will to Live's Goals Are:

  • Increase community awareness of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, mental illness, AIDS and drug and alcohol addictions
  • Increase the number of girls, women, and families reached
  • Work with existing community, health, and social service agencies in any setting to improve their record in dealing with minority, low-income, and other populations traditionally considered "hard-to-reach"
  • Enhance current treatment and prevention processes with psychological programs that "make a difference" in early detection and empower families to participate fully in the care and treatment of women.
  • Empower women and their families to build upon their individual, family, and community strengths and resources.

All of us, at one time or another in our lives, face significant and devastating trauma. Faced alone, without the tools of education, environment, and support, the crisis may remain unsolved, becoming insurmountable and eventually result in permanent loss. Sobrevivir/A Will to Live is founded on a belief in the intrinsic value and worth of each individual, and that, regardless of ethnic and socio-economic background, each offers inner resources that can be tapped for their own empowerment.

Click here to download a QuickTime movie clip about Sobrevivir.

"Seldom have I met an individual whose dedication has actually saved lives and kept families together that might have been otherwise fallen by the wayside..."

Robert Menendez
13th District
NJ House of Representatives
US Congress