Last week I had the honor of emceeing the Portraits of Success Gala of the Hispanic College Fund.
Given my heart for young Latinos, I was truly humbled to have the stage at this stunning event sharing the evening with donors, friends, sponsors, scholars and staff, all of who recognize the necessity of investing in the development and educational goals of this promising and fast growing segment of the population- Latino youth.
My first contact with the HCF was the morning I went to pick up my younger brother from the Virginia 2006 Hispanic Youth Symposium at Marymount University. It didn’t take long before I was in tears as I watched him receive accolades for his participation in the program. The passion and determination I observed in students during that farewell ceremony captivated my attention and I became adamant about becoming involved with the program. In 2008 and 2010 I participated as a Resident Advisor, and became like a mom to the eight girls in my familia for the DC and Maryland Hispanic Youth Institutes. Time and time again, this experience never fails to become the highlight of my year.
I jump at the opportunity to partner with an organization like the HCF, but don’t be mistaken. There are countless others who lay down their lives to come alongside Latino youth, motivate, mentor and inspire them to achieve. Fellow RAs like Ivan who passed up a job opportunity to be a leader among other RAs. Like Andrea whose home in Tennessee was flooded and sought to escape the disaster in her region by serving at the symposium; and countless more whose immigration status stifles their pursuit of their dreams but still invest in students like themselves with their own dreams.