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Michigan Hispanic/Latino Commission receives $15,000 Grant from Comcast Foundation to support Latino Youth Leadership Programs

DECEMBER 17, 2010: Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan (HLCOM, formerly Michigan Commission on Spanish-Speaking Affairs) received a $15,000 grant from the Comcast Foundation to support its Latino Youth Leadership initiative in Michigan.

The funds will be used at the grassroots levels to purchase computers, software and programming to support youth leadership development and literacy. The Commission will administer the funds for three mini-grants for regional projects in Adrian, Richmond, and Holland.


Marylou Olivarez-Mason

The programs are geared toward building confidence in young people who will be the next generation of Latino and Latino leaders in Michigan. They also help improve the communication and generational barriers among first and second generation Latino families to help foster strong cultural roots, said HLCOM Executive Director, Marylou Olivarez-Mason.

This generous grant will help us break down the digital divide and improve Latino student performance, by promoting literacy through structured activity, computer technology and media skills.  We want to see more young people graduate high school and college, said HLCOM Chair Lawrence Garca. The grant helps the commission fulfill its mission to strengthen the growing population of Latino and Hispanic youth in Michigan- our future leaders.

The projects include:

 Adrian - Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD): The funds will be used to support Multicultural Educational Resources Student Leadership Forum, which supports and prepares low income Latino students in grades 9 12 within 12 county school districts by providing leadership skill development training opportunities that strengthen their leadership abilities. LISD staff and guest speakers will facilitate discussions about issues such as higher education, cultural awareness, learning styles, communication skills, career exploration, mentoring, and volunteerism.  Students will demonstrate their leadership skills by coordinating and participating in at least 2-3 volunteer projects, such as Native American Month activities, MLK Day and Cinco de Mayo events.  Computers will allow student's access to the Internet for research, on-line learning and enhance digital literacy skills

Richmond - Students Educating Each other about Diversity (SEED): SEED is a program of The Auditorium (AUD) Regional Youth Complex (RYC) which seeks to benefit up to 25 percent of rural and low income Hispanic youth by providing leadership through the arts.  The 50-75 SEED participants (5th-12th graders) meet weekly at AUD with board volunteers and staff.  This arts program provides creative activities to support culture/identity, grow confidence (personal and in technology use) and build leadership skills which develop positive attitudes, healthier lifestyles (drug prevention, healthy eating, etc.) and digital literacy skills. Computers will allow SEED student's access to the Internet for research and media needs for the theater production along with fulfilling other objectives of the SEED program such as training & production graphics, rehearsal schedules, prop design, etc. Among many accomplishments, the students will research, prepare and perform seven productions throughout the year which offers students and the community an environment that will allow diverse cultures to feel welcomed and appreciated.

Holland - Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP): LAUP is a Latino youth leadership program advisory group which involves 35 youths in the Holland area. Holland hosts the largest and fastest-growing young Latino population in Michigan.  Working with adults from LAUP, the advisory group meets bi-weekly to plan and execute a spring conference for Latino youth, working on topics such as career exploration, college tuition, culture and identity.  Over 300 low-income students from Holland and other Ottawa County schools will attend the one-day conference that challenges students to fulfill their potential as individuals, reach higher goals and give back to their community.  Attendees will be inspired to complete high school, pursue higher education and professional careers.

Comcast is committed to powering dreams in the communities where our employees and customers live and work, said Mary Beth Halprin, Vice President Public Relations & Community Affairs, Comcast Michigan Region.  In todays knowledge-based economy, we are proud to support programs knowing that it will greatly help local youth develop the skills necessary to succeed.

Comcast is a year-round partner of the Commission and has supported events such as Hispanic Heritage Month. This grant from the Comcast Foundation is in recognition of Comcasts commitment to the communities where its customers and employees live and work.  Since its founding in 1999, the Comcast Foundation has distributed more than $65 million in cash support of programs implemented locally in Comcast communities.

HLCOM is part of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. For more information about DELEG, please visit www.michigan.gov/deleg. Follow DELEG at http://twitter.com/MIDELEG , visit the DELEG page on Facebook and Become a Fan or visit the Michigan Government channel on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/michigangovernment




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