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November 4, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
Sergio Duran, Wildlife Biology Student at Arapahoe Community College, Denver CO to accompany EcoFlight on a week-long environmental student program
Monday November 4th – Friday November 8th
EcoFlight, a non-profit based out of Aspen, CO, will be conducting its 10th annual Flight Across America (FLAA) Student Program from Monday, November 4th to Friday, November 8th, 2013.
The focus of this year’s program is the “alphabet soup” of designations and protections of public wild lands and the threats facing wilderness-quality lands in the West.
Using flight and ground-based education, EcoFlight’s FLAA program is designed to involve and inform college age students about current conservation issues from a broad range of perspectives and show them through flight how such issues personally impact their lives and the world around them.
Sergio Duran, an alumnus of Environmental Learning for Kids in Denver will be one of eight college students accompanying EcoFlight on overflights of protected and threatened areas in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. They will meet with national and local conservation organizations, sportsmen, business leaders, government officials, the media, local high schools and Navajo youth along the route.
Sergio intends to share his Flight Across America experience by producing an article for the wider Latino community.
Contact: Krysia Carter-Giez, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 366 8822
Jane Pargiter, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 618 5443
Michael Gorman, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 274 4719
It’s Tax Season and April 15 Is Around the Corner Regardless of Immigration Status, We All Must File
March 21, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
By: Javier Sierra
Remember: the deadline to submit your tax return documents is April 15. And there is a lot at stake for Latinos, regardless of your immigration status.
It’s not only the satisfaction of fulfilling your civic duties. Filing and paying your taxes is also a legal obligation that must be met with strict regularity.
If you are a legal resident, and you fail to declare your taxes, you can be deported. If you are a citizen, it can cost you heavy fines or even a prison term. In any instance, it can make your life very complicated.
“When applying for a loan, the tax return is required in the process. If you want to send your kids to college, the first thing financial aid providers will ask for is the tax return documents for that year,” says Helen Orosz, a tax advisor.
And if you are looking to legalize your immigration status, “it is a requirement to provide proof that you have paid your taxes during the last few years,” she adds.
“If you fail this test, they will not approve your application,” says Orosz. “If anyone wishes to legalize their situation, they need to start paying taxes right now if they have not done so in the past.”
To meet this prerequisite to achieve legal status, the first thing you need to do is request an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Remember this advice especially now that the U.S. Congress is debating immigration reform, which could make the path to legal residency and citizenship much easier for millions of Latinos in the country. But, current and accurate tax documentation will be one of the first prerequisites.
And don’t be afraid to request this crucial number from the IRS. You will have no immigration questions asked.
“The IRS is one the most powerful government agencies in Washington,” says Orosz, “but, it does not share information with Citizenship and Immigration Services. The IRS does not look at or determine immigration eligibility. Their job is to make sure that all tax obligations are met.”
There is another important aspect. Your tax return will be used to determine your situation regarding the Affordable Care Act, which requires that practically all of us have health insurance coverage by 2014.
If you cannot afford health insurance, your tax return this year will help establish your eligibility to receive a government subsidy to fulfill this requisite. But if you are indeed capable of buying this insurance, then the situation changes.
“If you fail to get insurance, then you will have to pay a fine, any amount between $50 and $950,” says Orosz. “Undocumented workers are also liable to pay a fine and won’t be eligible to receive any subsidies until they legalize their situation.”
And finally, your retirement is also at stake. When you pay your taxes, the IRS sets aside contributions to Social Security (your retirement money) and Medicare (medical help for seniors).
If you are an undocumented worker, “you won’t lose that money because the moment you legalize your situation and notify the IRS, you automatically become eligible to receive it,” adds Orosz.
Regardless of your immigration status, you must declare and pay your taxes to make a more prosperous future for your family.
For more bilingual information about your taxes, visit pormifuturo.org or call toll free 800.206.9096.
Javier Sierra comments about issues of national relevance for Latinos.
December 4, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
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.
November 25, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
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 Jennifer Brandt
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.