Spotlight Non-profit: Tapping bilingual students’ skills to give back to the community

LatinaLista – It’s not often that a high school Latino student organization offers their members as mentor tutors to junior high and elementary-age students. Yet, that’s part of the mission of Utah-based Latinos in Action (LIA).

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LIA is class/program for junior high and high schoolers that encourages Latino students to use their bilingual abilities to help mentor younger students, perform service work in their local community and be focused on the goal of graduating from college.

Latinos In Action gained its roots during the summer of 2000 in the state of Utah. Mr. Jose Enriquez initiated it at Timpview High School. Realizing the lack of support in the education system, Jose created Latinos In Action with the purpose of providing a K-16 pipeline support system. Latinos In Action is aimed to identify top Hispanic students at the High School and Junior High who could serve as role models and Para-educators in the local Elementary and Junior High schools

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LIA students also perform an invaluable service acting as translators between Spanish-speaking parents and teachers at parent-teacher conferences, not only in their own schools but for elementary school parent-teacher conferences too.

So far, LIA students have a 100 percent graduation rate from high school and an 85 percent college entry rate. The student group can be found in 39 schools in Utah and one in each state of Washington and Idaho.

Public donations are used to pay for student trips to local universities, provide students with educational resources and tools and fund scholarships for graduating high school seniors.

Due to the success of Latinos in Action, more than 7,000 students, parents and educators have benefited from the organization and the high expectations it has of every student who deliver quality in character and service.

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