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Latino Youth Hike Gila River to Learn Firsthand Why Preservation Is Needed Group will testify today on protecting Gila before State Senate Committee

October 14, 2013 by  

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WASHINGTON – As the group of 25 Latino youth from Las Cruces stood before the recently washed out trail they traveled three hours to hike, the group took a vote on whether to proceed or turn back. Unanimously, the Santa Rosa de Lima Church youth group chose to continue their journey to the Gila River — New Mexico’s last free flowing river — and learn more about the threats it faces from the proposal to divert its water.

The 25 Latino youth, aged 14 to 19, spent the first weekend of October camping in the Gila National Forest and taking part in a six-hour hike along the West Fork of the Gila River. Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), a national nonprofit working to expose more Latinos to the nation’s public lands and emphasize through experience the importance of preserving it for future generations, sponsored the trip.

“These kids are vocal champions for the outdoors,” said Maite Arce, president HAF. “This weekend was about showing them the beauty of the Gila River and its surroundings. With their personal experience, they are eager to make a difference for the Gila – they are inspired to fight for its protection so that other young people will be able to enjoy it in the future.”

In fact, the youth group will testify today before the State Senate Water and Natural Resources Committee regarding the proposed Gila River Diversion Project, which would not only cost taxpayers approximately $200 million, but it would also end the Gila’s status as the last free flowing river in New Mexico.

“Having the opportunity to learn about the Gila River and what it offers to its ecosystem is incredible,” said Paola Rivera, 17, a member of A.T.O.M.I.C. Youth Group from Santa Rosa de Lima Church. “If they were to make a diversion in the river it can affect the things around it greatly. There are animals, plants, trees, and insects that need the river…making a diversion could help at moments, but in the long run it wouldn’t have been worth it.”

The thoughts and opinions of this youth group on the Gila River echo that of the state as a whole. A recent poll from Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies found that 81 percent of New Mexicans are concerned about water levels in the state’s rivers and 72 percent were concerned about river health in general.

“My experience coming to the Gila River was life-changing,” said Amanda Aguirre, 15, another member of A.T.O.M.I.C. “I think it is important that we do everything we can do keep this river flowing. Why are you going to destroy something so beautiful?”

A brief video story of the trip is also available for viewing on YouTube at http://youtu.be/rxlxEJUQSSY.

HAF Announces the Winner of the Chicago New Futuro Laptop Photo Contest

December 4, 2012 by  

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 Congratulations to Jasmine Desiree Cortes.

Cortes , a 17-year-old twelfth grader from Chicago, was born in Puerto Rico and is now deciding on her college, which is between Occidental College, Northwestern University, Boston University, University of Miami and the University of Iowa.  She would like to become an editor or possibly an author after graduation.  She fondly remembers reading her first book with her mother and the bond that formed between them.  She would like to help others to experience that too. 

Cortes was made awared of the New Futuro opportunity by Chicago Scholars, which provided transportation for her and her mother to Navy Pier for the event.

“I would like to thank the 1,463 Facebook friends who liked my picture and for their encouraging comments.  I would also like to thank the Hispanic Access Foundaion for his amazing opportunity!” said Cortes.  “It is so much help and one less thing to worry about as an entering college freshman.  My family and I can’ thank you enough.”

Hispanic Access Foundation participated in the New Futuro college prep fairs because, even though families place a high value on college education, Hispanics are not graduating from college at the rates this country needs for its economic future and prosperity.

How else has Hispanic Access Foundation been involved?

  •  Executive Director Maite Arce served as an expert panelist on a televised Spanish-language discussion with parents and students regarding meaningful access to college.
  •  HAF Board Member, Marta Sanchez and Liz Neuenschwander, HAF’s operations manager, gave presentations to parents and students titled, “Family Involvement in Education” and “Pathway to College.”
  •  H&R Block sponsored HAF’s involvement in the New Futuro events.

Latino Population Growth Underscores Need for Higher Education

November 25, 2012 by  

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Hispanic Access Foundation takes action to help more Latinos get into college

With Latinos now making up nearly a quarter of the 18-and-under population in the country and projected to grow, the importance of promoting and expanding post-secondary opportunities for them has become a critical need. As part of this effort, Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) has made education one of its four core priorities and will be participating in New Futuro’s College Prep Fair.

“Education is the key to building a better life. A strong foundation of learning can unlock doors to financial and personal success for Latinos,” said Maite Arce, HAF’s executive director. “Education is the critical centerpiece not only to the future of the Hispanic community but also to the country’s future.”

While Latinos aged 18 and under currently make up 23 percent of the country’s population, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that total to rise to 36 percent by 2020. As of 2010, only 13 percent of Hispanics held at least a bachelor’s degree, while 6.2 percent of full-time college students were Hispanic.

“The numbers tell us that more needs to be done to help Latinos gain access to higher-education opportunities,” said Arce. “Latinos want to go to college and parents place an extremely high value on education, but often times they lack the knowledge, resources or support to make it happen.”

Affordability is often one of the main barriers for Hispanics in attending or completing college. A Pew Research Center study found that 87 percent of Latinos identified lack of resources as a barrier to their higher education and career development.

As part of the College Prep Fair, HAF is providing workshops for parents and students on how to prepare for and finance higher education, including the use of financial aid, tax-free savings accounts and scholarships. Additionally, Arce is participating on the College Prep Fair’s panel discussion televised by Telemundo. In the exhibit hall, HAF has been providing laptop giveaways to those students who show their desire to go to college through HAF’s Facebook page.

This work has been an extension of HAF’s other work. In its tax education workshops, held throughout the county, HAF has helped parents and students get their financial documentation in order to apply for financial aid. The organization has also launched youth leadership development initiatives in Colorado.

“We need to make sure Hispanics understand how to navigate the university system,” said Arce. “They need the tools to tear down the roadblocks and continue on the college-degree path. If we don’t take action now, a vast segment of our country’s population will lack the education necessary to strengthen us as a whole.”

The next College Prep Fair, which takes place on Nov. 10 in Chicago, is one of several in a series that have taken place this fall. HAF has presented at the fairs in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Houston.

Hispanic Access Foundation Announces the Second Winner of the New York New Futuro Laptop Photo Contest!

November 12, 2012 by  

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In New York there was a tie for the number of the most likes, with both contestants getting more than 1,200 likes!  We are now announcing our second winner, Miss Ana Rodriguez.

A little about Ana: She is Mexican- American and lives in the Bronx.  She’s currently a 10th grader.  At her high school she is studying design and construction because she wants to be an architect.   She wants to go to college in Florida.

Her sister took her to the New Futuro event, after her Spanish teacher had encouraged her to go.

Hispanic Access Foundation participated in the New Futuro college prep fairs because we know that for families a college education is very important but that Hispanics are still not graduating from college at the rates this country needs for its economic future and prosperity.

How else has Hispanic Access Foundation be involved?

  • Executive Director Maite Arce is served as an expert panelist on a televised Spanish-language discussion with parents and students regarding meaningful access to college
  • HAF Board Member, Marta Sanchez and HAF team member Liz Neuenschwander gave presentations to parents and students titled, “Family Involvement in Education” and “Pathway to College.”
  • H&R Block sponsored Hispanic Access’ involvement in the New Futuro events, so to find us follow the signs for the H&R Block booths and workshops.

 

HAF Announces the Winner of the Miami New Futuro Laptop Photo Contest

November 10, 2012 by  

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Congratulations to Elianeth Mary Brito.

Brito, a 15-year-old 11th grader from Miami, was born in Puerto Rico and wants to attend the University of Florida or the University of Central Florida to major in Creative Writing and minor in Drama.

Brito wants to thank everyone who liked her picture, as well as her brothers, mom (who brought her to the New Futuro event), and best friends Chelsie and Lailonny for spreading the word about the contest.

Hispanic Access Foundation participated in the New Futuro college prep fairs because we know that for families a college education is very important but that Hispanics are still not graduating from college at the rates this country needs for its economic future and prosperity.

How else has Hispanic Access Foundation be involved?

  • Executive Director Maite Arce is served as an expert panelist on a televised Spanish-language discussion with parents and students regarding meaningful access to college
  • HAF Board Member, Marta Sanchez and HAF team member Liz Neuenschwander gave presentations to parents and students titled, “Family Involvement in Education” and “Pathway to College.”
  • H&R Block sponsored Hispanic Access’ involvement in the New Futuro events.
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