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Home | Tag Archives: CommUnity en Accion

Tag Archives: CommUnity en Accion

8th Annual Young Achievers Forum Welcomes ‘McFarland USA’ Championship Runners

On Saturday, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN—a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for the Hispanic community in El Paso—held its eighth annual Young Achievers Forum (YAF) at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

YAF is an education focused event that gives at-risk sixth-grade students and their families a taste of college for a day.

This year’s keynote address was given by Johnny Samaniego and Thomas Valles, two of the members from the 1987 McFarland High School championship cross country team, of which the Hollywood film starring Kevin Costner, ‘McFarland USA’, is based.

“We want to show that we were once these kids. We came from similar backgrounds and faced similar challenges growing up. But what they need to know is that no dream is too big and that through hard work, determination and the support of family and community they can achieve those dreams,” said Valles.

UTEP and Dr. Diana Natalicio have been key partners of YAF and have hosted the event for eight years in a row.

“UTEP’s strategies to ensure that all students in this region have an opportunity to achieve their dreams begin long before they enter college,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “Our partnership with the Young Achievers Forum enables us to share information about the exciting opportunities on the UTEP campus. Each year, the UTEP team looks very much forward to being part of this energizing event and the opportunity to interact with so many talented young people and their families.”

Parents were highly encouraged to attend the event along with their students. Financial aid workshops and information sessions, in both English and Spanish, were held during YAF ensuring that parents are equipped with the knowledge and resources to help demystify the college and financial aid process.

“Parental involvement has shown to be a key factor in student success,” stated Raymond Palacios, President of Bravo Chevrolet Cadillac and founder of YAF. “Our aim is to create an interactive experience for both the student and the parent; exposing the student to various career paths and giving parents the tools to guide their students long after the conference is over.”

Organizers prepare months in advance to lock in expert speakers and presenters from career fields that are in high demand. The students have an important role of shaping the programming for following years by providing their input at the end of every session.

“Through the years, YAF has built a diverse and compelling presenter list consisting of experts from pharmacologists and aerospace engineers to news anchors and FBI agents,” said Ruben Chavez, this year’s YAF Chair. “We’ve only been able to do this the help of the students.”

In addition to getting their first taste college and touring the campus, students and parents attended hands-on learning and informational sessions covering five broad fields of study: health and medicine; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); business and finance; liberal arts and education; and public safety.

“The interactive career sessions are really the best part of the entire day for these kids,” said said Carmen Perez, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN Member and Partner, Delgado Acosta Spencer Linebarger & Perez Law Firm. “You can see the wonder and excitement in their eyes as they are working as a team to put together a robot. We want to ignite that spark and inspire them to pursue those passions they never knew they had until they experienced it during YAF.”

YAF was created to instill the importance of a higher education in its student attendees and showing them that attaining a college degree is a realistic and tangible goal. Since its inception in 2011, the forum has introduced over 7,000 students across El Paso County to the possibility of a higher education and each year its impact continues to grow in the region.

The program will also take place in Southern New Mexico on February 23, where students will descended onto the New Mexico State University campus to learn more about their post-secondary options.

UTEP President Honored With ‘Leadership Trailblazer Award’ by CommUnity en Acción

UTEP President Diana Natalicio has earned another honor, being recognized as one of El Paso’s most pivotal leaders by CommUnity en Acción, a group of business and civic leaders who work to bolster the region’s Hispanic community.

President Natalicio was awarded the organization’s inaugural Leadership Trailblazer award, which was presented during the 2nd annual Latino Legacy Awards y Fiesta event at El Paso Community College’s Administrative Services Center.

“I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to CommUnity en Acción for bestowing this outstanding Leadership Trailblazer award to me at this time,” President Natalicio said. “It is a deep honor and it is truly gratifying to know that CommUnity en Acción has recognized the work that we do at UTEP.

“UTEP is a member of a communitywide team of individuals and organizations that work very, very hard to support our efforts and to mentor young people, to help them better understand the opportunities that lie before them and to reinforce their efforts to become better educated. CommUnity en Acción is a very special partner. It is an organization whose priority is the education of young people and promoting their success. That coincides very well with UTEP’s priorities. On behalf of everyone on the campus, I want to express my appreciation to CommUnity en Acción for everything it does to support this community and The University of Texas at El Paso.”

CommUnity en Acción leaders said President Natalicio was selected for the award based on the physical and academic growth that has occurred on campus during her tenure, which has happened in tandem with a demographic shift in student population to one more representative of the region.

President Natalicio has accomplished this feat without sacrificing quality in education, the organization said, allowing throngs of students to realize their higher education dreams.

“During her 30 years, Dr. Natalicio dramatically increased the number of minority students attending UTEP, especially the percentage of Hispanic students from 53 percent to 82 percent, which more adequately represents the region’s population,” said Richard Castro, chair emeritus of CommUnity en Acción.

“During Dr. Natalicio’s tenure, the University dramatically grew in the number of doctoral programs it offers and has received millions of dollars in research grants. She truly deserves being named one of the most influential women in the world.”

President Natalicio announced in May that she will retire after 30 years in the highest leadership role at The University of Texas at El Paso. She was named UTEP President in 1988.

She initially arrived on campus in 1971 when she accepted a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics. President Natalicio’s tenure makes her the longest-serving current president of a public doctoral/research university in the country. She will remain in office until her successor is named.

In her time at UTEP, she has deftly guided the University to national prominence as a research institution, all the while being relentless in ensuring access and affordability for the student population that it serves.

In 2016, the Brookings Institution recognized UTEP with a No. 1 ranking among all U.S. research universities for fostering social mobility. But President Natalicio maintains that any success attributed to her is the product of a collaborative effort and a collective buy-in to a mission of facilitating student success for the region’s underserved population.

She added that community partners are instrumental in achieving those goals.

“UTEP has always been committed to creating opportunities for El Paso’s young people — all of them — to have access to a very high-quality education,” President Natalicio said. “When I first became President, UTEP didn’t look like El Paso. We were demographically misaligned. One of the greatest satisfactions that we all have now is that UTEP’s student population mirrors the population of El Paso County. So, we now look like El Paso. We could not have done that without the support and the good will of community partners such as CommUnity en Acción. It is wonderful to know we have partners in the community who support the efforts of our students.”

The award recognizes an individual who has profoundly impacted the lives of Latinos in our community, the organization said.   Natalicio received the award on Saturday, October 13, 2018

1K Sixth Graders, Parents Get Taste of College Life at UTEP via Young Achievers Forum

On Saturday, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN held its seventh annual Young Achievers Forum (YAF) at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

Organizer say YAF is an “education-focused event that gives at-risk sixth-grade students and their families a taste of college for a day. This year, the day-long event marked its seventh consecutive year held at UTEP.

“A key component of YAF is ensuring that parents are engaged in their students’ pursuit of post-secondary opportunities from an early start,” stated Raymond Palacios, President of Bravo Chevrolet Cadillac and founder of YAF. “Our goal is simple–expose and give students the space and platform to dream big about their future career paths and give them and their parents the tools to achieve and make their dreams a reality.”

1,000 middle school students and their families attended the event, which instills in students the importance of higher education and explains to them and their families how they can make it a part of their lives.

“Our partnership with the Young Achievers Forum builds on UTEP’s commitment to ensure that our region’s students have access to excellent higher education opportunities that will enable them to achieve their dreams,” said Dr. Diana Natalicio, President of UTEP. “The earlier we can introduce the idea of going to college, the better prepared students will be to enroll and complete their degrees. We are always delighted to welcome the sixth graders who come to the UTEP campus excited to learn more about the University.”

Dr. Natalicio welcomed students and parents to the UTEP campus highlighting the importance of a higher education and the significant impact students can have on El Paso’s future.

This year’s keynote address was given by Dr. Luis Luna, Region 19’s 2018 Secondary Teacher of the Year.

“By bringing local leaders from our community to speak directly to students about their personal experience with college and own career path, students can hopefully see a reflection of their future selves,” said Jaime Barceleau, CEA board member. “Students can see first-hand that college is absolutely a possibility and they should envision themselves in a college campus six years from now and being a doctor, engineer or in any other profession down the road.”

During the day-long event, groups of students and parents attended informational sessions covering five broad fields of study:  health and medicine; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); business and finance; liberal arts and education; and public safety.  Special breakout sessions for parents and family members—facilitated in Spanish and English—helped them prepare their children for higher education, from explaining the college application process to financial aid options.

“We are overwhelmed with pride when we see how this program has served as a catalyst for students to pursue their dreams,” said Carmen Perez, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN Member and Partner, Delgado Acosta Spencer Linebarger & Perez Law Firm. ““If no one in your family or community has gone to college, you might not think of it as something you can do. Our goal is to change that mindset and show students what is possible and give them a roadmap for how to make it happen.”

Since its inception in 2011, the forum has introduced over 6,000 students across El Paso County to the possibility of a higher education and each year its impact continues to grow in the region. Earlier this month, the program took place in Southern New Mexico where 500 students descended onto the New Mexico State University campus for the event.

CommUNITY en ACCIÓN is a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for the Hispanic community in El Paso.

Local Civic/Business Group Honors Latino Leaders with Inaugural Event Saturday

CommUnity en Accion will recognize two Latino leaders during their 1st Annual Latino Legacy Awards y Fiesta Saturday, October 14, at 6 p.m. at the El Paso Club.

J.A.R. Construction Inc. founder Joe A. Rosales Sr. and Food City founder Jose G. Santos will be the inaugural recipients of the award.

“We feel there is a need to recognize leaders in our community that may be overlooked, especially our Latino leaders that are unsung heroes,” said CommUnity en Accion Chairwoman Aliana Apodaca. “These are business leaders that overcame so much adversity, including discrimination, on their path to success. They deserve to be recognized.”

J.A.R. Construction Inc., formerly J.A.R. Concrete, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The family owned and operated business is driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of the senior Rosales who started the company performing residential work in 1957, became the first minority contractor in Texas to perform highway work in 1969 and today is recognized as one of the top contractors in the state.

Rosales Sr. inaugurated his vision without a college degree, but with much heart and drive. He instilled the importance of higher education in his children who have helped the company grow and have continued his legacy.

Jose Santos opened his first store, El Rancho Mart, on South Stanton Street in 1964. Business flourished so quickly, he soon outgrew that store and opened his flagship store, Food City, on Alameda Avenue. Soon there were two more locations.

Spanning three generations, the family owned retailer is recognized, not only for its products, but also for its customer service and latest technology.

Food City was one of the first retailers in the region to use electronic scanning registers in the 1970’s and today uses social media for its specials.

To purchase tickets for the 1st Annual Latino Legacy Awards y Fiesta, call 915-838-1000

1,000 Students Attend Sixth Annual Young Achievers Forum at UTEP

On Saturday, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN—a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for the Hispanic community in El Paso—held its sixth annual Young Achievers Forum (YAF) at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). YAF is an education focused event that gives at-risk sixth-grade students and their families a taste of college for a day.

1,000 middle school students and their families attended the event, which instills in students the importance of higher education and explains to them and their families how they can make it a part of their lives.

Since its inception in 2011, the forum has introduced 5,000 students across El Paso County to the possibility of a higher education and eachunnamed (47) year its impact continues to grow in the region.

Earlier this year, the program expanded to Southern New Mexico, partnering with New Mexico State University (NMSU) and Governor Susana Martinez to engage 500 area middle school students in the forum.

“Six years ago, we began with a basic idea, which was to capture students at a crucial stage of their education and personal development and introduce them to higher education in an exciting, impactful environment,” stated Raymond Palacios, President of Bravo Chevrolet Cadillac and founder of YAF. “Our goal is simple–expose and give students the space and platform to dream big about their future career paths and give them the tools to achieve and make their dreams a reality.”

This year, the day-long event marked its sixth consecutive year held at UTEP.

unnamed (46)“Our partnership with the Young Achievers Forum builds on UTEP’s commitment to ensure that all young people in this region have access to excellent higher education opportunities that will enable them to achieve their dreams,” said Dr. Diana Natalicio, President of UTEP. “The earlier we are able to instill the idea of college, the better equipped students will be to prepare for success and complete their degrees when they do enroll. We always enjoy working with all the sixth graders who come to campus excited to learn more about the idea of college.”

Students and families were welcomed by Dr. Diana Natalicio, followed by keynote remarks by Estela Casas, an El Paso native who has had an illustrative career in journalism and was inducted into the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame.

“By bringing local leaders from our community to speak directly to students about their personal experience with college and own career path, students can hopefully see a reflection of their future selves,” said Jaime Barceleau, YAF El Paso Chair.

“Students can see first-hand that college is absolutely a possibility and they should envision themselves in a college campus six years from now and being a doctor, engineer or in any other profession down the road.”unnamed (45)

During the day-long event, groups of students and parents attended informational sessions covering five broad fields of study: health and medicine; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); business and finance; liberal arts and education; and public safety.

Special breakout sessions for parents and family members—facilitated in Spanish and English—helped them prepare their children for higher education, from explaining the college application process to financial aid options.

“We are very proud to have organized our sixth annual Young Achievers Forum in El Paso, bringing our total number of students close to 5,000, including today’s event,” said Carmen Perez, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN Member and Partner, Delgado Acosta Spencer Linebarger & Perez Law Firm. “The running success and impact of YAF is a reflection of our community coming together to engage, inspire and prepare our future generation of leaders and innovators in our region.”

Local Civic/Business Group Names 2017 Board, Committee Chairs

CommUnity en Accion recently named their 2017 Board of Directors and committee chairs.

Aliana Apodaca, President of Positive Directions Company, will serve as chair for a second term; Ruben Chavez, Principal of CEA Group, is vice chair; Xavier Bañales, Project Amistad CEO, will serve as secretary while Victor Urbina, Entrepreneur will serve as treasurer and Richard Castro, owner of Castro Enterprises and one of the founding members of the organization, serves as Chair Emeritus.

Terri Garcia, Community Volunteer, serves as past chair.

“We made significant progress in contributing to our region’s future in 2016 through our activities for youth and our efforts toward improving economic stability and enhancing our education system,” said Apodaca. “We look forward to continuing our commitment in 2017 to our Latino community, especially in the midst of our current national situation,” she said.

Committee Chairs were also named:

 Advocacy Chair – Dan Olivas, President at Dan Olivas & Associates

 Finance- Dan Longoria, VP Mattress Firm

 Governance – Ruben Chavez, Principal CEA Group

 Membership/ Program – Beto Pallares, CEO Joseph Advisory Services

 Arts and Culture – Ralph Adame, ‎CEO at Mexus Group

 YAF Initiative – Jaime Barceleau, Community Volunteer

CommUnity En Accion is comprised of business and civic leaders united to improve the lives of El Paso’s Latino Community by instilling pride and providing leadership.

They focus on issues involving education, economic development/entrepreneurship and arts, culture and history. Their solutions to impactful issues are enhanced by strategic initiatives.

For more on the organization, visit their website.

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