Students who gathered at the conference today say it has helped them prepare for their future. Many said they felt lost before, as if college and a great career wasn’t in their future. They say this conference has given them something to aspire to.
“None of my parents, or my aunts or uncles graduated from college or went to college so, I want to do that. I want to be one of the first,” said Cynthia Isais who has attended the conference before.
Lani Garcia added, “I’m planning to graduate high school, go to college, and I want to become a dentist so that I can help my mom because she’s a single mother.”
Through workshops they help students become engaged in their school and communities. To take on leadership roles and become role models to kids. They provide them with the tools to succeed in school, and to break down the barriers that hold many Latinos back. They also empower them to take pride in their heritage and culture.
Throughout the day there were performances from Mariachi bands, a DJ playing popular Latin music, and kids dancing.
“Our goal really is to place another face out there for the Latino student and Latinos in general. We want people to see how brilliant, and how creative, and how much of a future they are within our communities,” said Jose Enriquez Executive Director and Founder of Latinos in Action.
Speaking at the event was Consuelo Castillo, who became the highest ranking Latino woman in the combat support field of the US Army and helped set records and brake barriers for Latinos. To connect with the students she shared stories of immigrants and her experiences growing up. One story that resonated with students in particular was the story of her mother, who was a maid.
Many of the kids said they could relate to her story and made them appreciate and respect their parents even more.
“I came here to tell those stories of yesterday, what goes on today and certainly to put in their minds that tomorrow is in their hands,” said Kastillo.
To learn more about Latinos in Action click here.