GRCC will continue hosting the event, an initiative designed to
spark interest in college and careers among eighth-grade
students. The next conference is planned for March 2, 2021.
About 830 students from 24 schools attended the conference this
year. Participants are provided with affirming ideas about
Latina/o/x culture, skills-based academic preparation, and
tangible tools related to personal development and community
engagement through workshops and interactive activities.
GRCC has been the lead organizer of the event for 21 years.
“We are honored to continue that legacy by serving in a
supportive role to the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan,”
said B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s Chief Equity and
“After thoughtful discussions with conference stakeholders and
Hispanic Center leadership, we determined the Hispanic Center is
the best organization to develop further and enhance the impact
of this community-centered project.”
Founded in 1978, the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan is
located in the heart of Roosevelt Park, the largest Latino
neighborhood in Grand Rapids. The Hispanic Center seeks to
address the needs of Latinos through understanding, connection,
advocacy, and achieving self-sufficiency together.
Hispanic Center Executive Director Adnoris “Bo” Torres
said the conference is vitally important to inspire students,
and he is excited the center can expand its role.
“One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from the book
Walden; ‘To know that we know what we know, and to know that we
do not know, what we do not know, that is true knowledge,’”
“Those words would become a mantra for the rest of my life.
Without mentors who exposed me to events like the Latino Youth
Conference, who encouraged me, who motivated me, I would not
have known the power of knowing what we know, and the humility
in knowing what we don’t. As we partner with the West Michigan
community in the work of the Latino Youth Conference, we know
that we are molding the next generation of leaders.”
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages
opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and
in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was
established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and
offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and
online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.