Esperanza’s Hispanic Youth Education programs receive major grants from Cleveland Foundation
Sept. 30, 2011: Cleveland-area Latino youth education received a major boost this week when the Cleveland Foundation announced two grants totaling $316,530 in support of major initiatives by Esperanza, Inc.
An award for $100,000 will help implement Esperanza’s new strategic plan, which reinforces and streamlines the organization’s work supporting Latino academic achievement in the Cleveland area. The two primary goals of the plan are to improve academic success leading up to high school graduation and to prepare students to move on to successful post-secondary education.
A second grant, for $216,530, will fund Esperanza’s continued implementation of the ASPIRA youth leadership program. ASPIRA is a national program that combines academic sessions on time management, study skills, and college preparation with leadership training that includes conflict resolution, group dynamics, and community action.
According to Esperanza Inc’s press release, the urgency of these efforts was highlighted this fall when the latest graduation rates for Cleveland-area high school students were published. While the rates for white students improved from 58 percent to 61 percent over the past three years, and rates for black students surged from 58 percent to 75 percent over the same period, the numbers for Latino students went from bad to worse, falling from 34 percent three years ago to 30 percent last year.
“We at Esperanza realize that the Hispanic community needs to take an active role in ensuring that our children successfully graduate high school, pursue and attain a postsecondary education, and become contributing members of our society,” said Esperanza Executive Director Victor Ruiz. “Our partnership with Aspira as well as our new strategic focus will help us strengthen our leadership role in these efforts. We are grateful to the Cleveland Foundation for its support of Esperanza and the Hispanic community.”