the sentido story
Sentido is an effort to understand 2nd- and 3rd-generation Latino Millennials by directly engaging them, getting to know them, and creating vibrant and innovative experiences with them, not just for them.
The original inspiration for Sentido came in 2015, after Pax Escobar (project lead) attended the annual meeting of MARCHA, the national Hispanic / Latino caucus within the United Methodist Church and the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico.
“At the event, I became very curious about why there were so few new faces,” Pax says. “I mentioned this to a leader and his response was that if this bothered me, I should help do something about it.”
Through research and deep listening at various events over the next year and a half, it became evident that a possible reason for the lack of young Latino adults in church events was that there was some sort of disconnect between church leaders and Millennial and Generation Z young adults. This seemed particularly true for those who live in an in-between world of being both of Latino heritage and born into American culture.
It also became evident that this disconnect would be something that would not go away anytime soon.
According to the Pew Research Center, 6 in 10 Latinos in the United States are Millennials or younger. And by 2050, Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population.
And so, it was out of this perceived disconnect and powerful statistical support that a movement to create Sentido was born.
In March 2016, after attending Hatch-a-Thon, a Princeton Theological Seminary initiative to incubate innovative projects within the church, the beginnings of a proposal were taking shape. This proposal was for a project that aimed to understand the spiritual needs and values of Latino young adults.
The proposal received the support of the National Plan for Hispanic / Latino Ministry in November 2016.
Over the next year and a half, the team worked through logistical issues resulting in the current iteration of the Sentido team.
our current work
Through human-centered design, the Sentido team aims to understand the needs and values of Latino young adults and design experiences that support them in their search for meaning.
Human-centered design consists of three phases: Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation. We are currently in the middle of the Inspiration phase, where we learn directly from the people we are designing for by immersing ourselves in their lives to develop a better understanding of their needs and values. Along the way, we are gathering insights that help us further refine our research question and develop a set of transferable principles to help leaders in creating new experiences with Latino Millennials.
Our belief is that a deeper and more empathetic understanding of the needs and values of these Latino young adults will help leaders to reach them where they are. We will learn strategies to contextualize our findings by listening to these young adults and help leaders consider innovative ways of creating experiences and engagement opportunities that are socially impactful and grounded in love.
Our hope and aspiration is that Latino young adults feel that they belong to a community where they feel valued, heard and understood.