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CO students participate in local Youth Leadership Project

Sergio+Gomez+and+Victoria+Olivas+applied+and+were+accepted+in+the+Los+Angeles+Institute+of+the+Chicano%2FLatino+Leadership+Project.+They+spent+the+weekend+at+UCLA.
Sergio Gomez and Victoria Olivas applied and were accepted in the Los Angeles Institute of the Chicano/Latino Leadership Project. They spent the weekend at UCLA.

Sergio Gomez and Victoria Olivas applied and were accepted in the Los Angeles Institute of the Chicano/Latino Leadership Project. They spent the weekend at UCLA.

Jaylee Cortes

Jaylee Cortes

Sergio Gomez and Victoria Olivas applied and were accepted in the Los Angeles Institute of the Chicano/Latino Leadership Project. They spent the weekend at UCLA.

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What were you doing the weekend before school started? School shopping? Going to Raging Waters? Bemoaning the end of summer vacation?

Victoria Olivas, junior, and Sergio Adame, senior, were in Los Angeles meeting Mayor Eric Garcetti, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, and other political and community leaders. Out of 500 applications, they were two of the fifty students chosen to participate in the Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Project Los Angeles Institute.

On the first day of the Institute, Victoria and Sergio met community leaders and learned about the political process. Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers, talked about how to instigate change in the community. Sergio said that meeting political and community leaders was a part of the Institute that he found most interesting.

While the Institute is open to students of all ethnic backgrounds, the Latino culture is highlighted. Victoria said that she appreciated finding out more about her roots and the role Latinos and Latinas have played in Los Angeles and the nation, including the Civil War.

The Institute also gave Victoria and Sergio a taste of college life. They stayed on University of California Los Angeles campus while learning about the college application process and financial aid possibilities. Sergio said, “The event gave me a vision for my future.” One of the most valuable aspects of the weekend for Victoria was learning about other’s experiences, and she believes it will help her in applying for college.

The purpose of the Institute is fourfold: to expose the next generation of leaders to role models, to educate individuals on the impact the Latinos have had in the community, to prepare participants to apply for college, and to prepare them for careers. “Through their LAI experience, students gain valuable leadership training skills, meet and learn from many accomplished professionals, receive important college information, and create long lasting friendships and peer/professional networks,” says the Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership web site.

While four institutes are offered throughout the state, students in Los Angeles County are only eligible for the Los Angeles Institute and the Sacramento Leadership Conference. The Sacramento Leadership Conference, started 35 years ago, brings together 120 students from across the state to participate in a week-long leadership program. SLC, in addition to the goals of the LAI, teaches students how to organize and run political campaigns.

Students participate at no cost for housing, meals, and program materials. The SLC also provides transportation.

Current sophomore and juniors can apply for the annual events next year. Applications open in February and close in April. Students interested in attending should watch the web site for future event and application dates and requirements.

Victoria said, “The Institute made me more aware of my heritage and college possibilities.” She thought the weekend was worthwhile and recommends it to other students.

 

 

 

 

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CO students participate in local Youth Leadership Project