Dec
04
Breaking Language Barriers for First-Generation Latino College Applicants


The Latino community
represents a significant growth and opportunity for the future. Unfortunately, there are many parents
whose children want to go to college but who don’t have access
to information because they are Spanish-dominant parents. I was helping my own daughters
through the college admissions process, and I became appalled at
how expensive it’d become, how complex it’d become, and all of the things that my husband
and I had the privilege to share with them. My goal was to give other
Latino parents that same opportunity. And so we wrote a series of
workshops on the pathway to college, applying to college and paying for college, in their language. [Spanish] For the names, they need to be written exactly how
they appear on your Social Security cards. The students are fully bilingual,
but their parents, they don’t understand the higher ed system. They can’t afford things like test prep. And you have a 17-year-old that
is basically trying to figure it out. College seemed like
something I’m not sure if my family could actually pay it off or we’d be in debt,
but with Latino U, they’re there to help me go to college. Latino U appears like an angel for us because we can help her to complete her dream to
come true to be graduating from college. We have put 140 students
to college since we began, and we don’t stop there. We stay with our students
throughout their four years of college, making sure that they transition
to college successfully, they stay and that they’re also preparing to enter their chosen careers. Now that I have graduated, Shirley is helping me find
those people that I need to network with and find a potential job that
I’m really interested in. [Spanish] I feel super, super proud that she’s graduated from college. When you educate a child, you not only
transform their lives, you transform their parents’ lives, and you transform lives for their
future generations and their children. And so we feel this ripple effect
of the work that we do is priceless. When you find work that you love, that you’re good at, that you can get paid for, and that makes a difference
in the lives of others, it’s in that little Venn diagram
that your bliss is found. And I think that for the first time in my life, I can put all those circles together.