Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nonprofit launches new websites for college bound Hispanics

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 12, 2008


A Hispanic Youth Symposium website – click on image to enlarge

Photos: The Hispanic College Fund

Last week, the Hispanic College Fund launched seven regionally-focused websites dedicated to its annual Hispanic Youth Symposia taking place this summer. Each website is designed to provide an online forum for local communities to support their Hispanic Youth Symposium (HYS) by informing visitors about community partners and sponsors, and providing instructions on how to donate and volunteer.

Representatives of the Hispanic College Fund, established in 2004, hope to reach a national audience of 8,000 people. They are promoting the websites through a press release distribution, on the organization’s upcoming e-newsletter targeting 125,000 past scholarship applicants, and on Facebook.

In 2008, the Hispanic College Fund will offer a symposium in seven cities: Fresno, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Washington, DC; Baltimore, Maryland; Fairfax and Richmond, Virginia. Organizers plan to expand the program to four or more cities in Southern California and other regions in 2009. Fund representatives believe that 1,400 students, participants in each of the seven 2008 Hispanic Youth Symposia across the nation, will directly benefit from the websites.

The websites provide information for students including how to apply for symposia that are still open and who to contact. There is also information on year-round programming that follows HYS, answers to frequently asked questions, an interactive national map and details about activities like workshops on business etiquette and resume writing. Visitors may also join the Hispanic College Fund’s list serve.


Lisa Sandoval, director of Communications, Hispanic College Fund

“The Hispanic College Fund believes that community involvement is the key to success for our Hispanic Youth Symposia,” said Lisa Sandoval, director of Communications for the Hispanic College Fund. “These websites embody our community-oriented focus on local students. Both fun and functional, the sites let local communities see that the Hispanic Youth Symposium is their very own.”

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Idalia Fernandez, president, Hispanic College Fund

“A heavy investment has been made in these sites because the Hispanic College Fund recognizes the power of creating positive change at the grassroots level,” said Idalia Fernandez, president of the Hispanic College Fund. “With students getting much of their information from social networking sites like Facebook, we want these sites to be just as exciting while providing substantial information for all students, as well as the community at large. In fact, the websites include a link to a Hispanic Youth Symposium Facebook Cause, where students can obtain information about college and career opportunities posted by their peers.”

The Hispanic Youth Symposium Program is dedicated to creating a pool of Hispanic high school students focused on attending college and securing professional careers. Ideal participants are Hispanic high school students who live in one of the seven cities and surrounding counties where this year’s symposia will take place; have a GPA of 2.5 or higher; and will be a sophomore, junior, or senior next year.

During the initiative, 200 students travel to a local college campus for a three-night, four-day program. The short term goal is for students develop a network of like-minded peers, connect with role models and mentors, learn about resources that will earn them a seat in college, compete for scholarships, and develop long-term career vision.

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More than 100 community volunteers assist with on-site coordination while businesses provide sponsorships, speakers, mentors, and recruiting opportunities. Representatives from various colleges present sessions on college preparation and admission. Following the symposium, participants may have access to additional information and resources to further their college bound goals. Funding is based on donations from individual donors and corporate sponsors, including companies such as Sallie Mae, Lockheed Martin, and Google.

“We still need funding for 400 of the 1,300 students attending symposia this summer. We are currently launching a Match Campaign in which an anonymous donor will match a percentage of the total amount we are able to raise in order to fund these 400 students,” said Sandoval.

Founded in 1993, the Hispanic College Fund is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., with a mission is to develop the next generation of Hispanic professionals. The organization has provided scholarships internship and mentoring programs for students throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The Hispanic College Fund has an annual budget of $6 million and 20 full-time employees.

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