Meet Monica Nelsas, 2023 Hispanic Woman of Distinction, Bilingual Parent Outreach Specialist, Broward County Public Schools
“We, as Hispanic women, represent the stronger, resilient, brave women who are raising the leaders of tomorrow, and who are in charge of building a community ready for the coming changes.
Starting to build a life in a foreign country can be overwhelming. Immigrants may not know the language, and they are often ill equipped to understand the American way of life. With their school-age children, they are challenged to learn what education options are available and best for their child. As the Bilingual Parent Outreach Specialist for Broward County, Monica Nelsas is a beacon of light to help guide these parents during these difficult transition periods.
A native of Venezuela, Monica understands what others like herself face when they land on our shores. She is dedicated to helping them succeed as she did.
Her efforts as a volunteer for the Bilingual/ESO Department were noticed,, and she was hired to work in the Parent Outreach Office. She and volunteers welcome families into their schools to help them adjust more comfortably to our educational system.
Monica is also working to create the International Welcome Center. Their goal is making immigrants feel supported and welcomed as their learn about the variety of programs available to them. She established the ESOL Game Nights to provide education in a playful manner. The program has been so effective, she’s been invited to speak at a variety of conferences nationally to share how the program works.
Monica is a frequent guest on Spanish-speaking radio and television programs to offer further outreach about the programs available.
As part of the Miami Advisory Council, Monica is involved in several scholarship programs in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties including the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Gates Scholarship. She also serves as a proofreader as part of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and is active as a member of the Hispanic Initiative Workgroup of United Way of Broward County Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention. She also is an Advisor for the National Commissioner of the Girl Scouts of Venezuela and serves as a board member of the Mujeres Latinas Impulsando Mujeres Latinas.
Recognizing that building our future leaders must come from a variety of programs, Monica is a committed member in the diaspora of the Association of Girls Scouts of Venezuela and the World Association of Girl Scouts. Their programs are designed to empower young women and help them participate in activities such working for gender equality, combatting climate change and serving in other areas that affect their lives.
Her efforts have been recognized by Mujeres que Inspiran, the Latino Breakfast Club at Henry D. Perry Education Center, the David M. Clarke, S.J. Award through the Ana G. Mendez University System for academic and community excellence where she received her Master’s in Education degree.
Monica and her husband, Oscar Larraza, a project manager, and their two children, Andres and Oscar, love returning to Venezuela to enjoy the country’s beautiful natural wonders.