and Christmas food baskets, and community activities. SAO was founded in 1994 out of concern for the high Latino high school dropout rate and other educational concerns. Individual annual SAO memberships also will be available for $15 each. La Prensa has been publishing since 1989.
La Prensa and SAO also host this year’s MidWest LatinoFest, scheduled at Promenade Park in downtown Toledo on Saturday, August 30, 2014.
“It’s a very, very popular event. We really don’t make any money on it. It’s more to bring the Hispanic community out and enjoy each other’s company,” said Carmen Barbosa, SAO secretary/treasurer, referring to the Toledo Mud Hens Scholarship Event. “It’s also a time for us to show some of our heritage by having the mariachis and someone of our heritage sing our music.”
Four scholarships will be awarded to Latino college students during the pregame ceremonies scheduled to begin near home plate at 5:30 p.m.
Sara Mendoza, a sophomore majoring in pre-sonography, and Robert Santillan, a sophomore majoring in marketing and sales, each will receive a $717 scholarship to Owens Community College. An educational endowment with Owens was first established in 2003.
Christina Canales, a senior nursing major, and John Adams, a senior psychology major, each will receive a $1,000 scholarship to Lourdes University. SAO and Lourdes University first partnered on an educational endowment fund in 2006.
The mission of SAO and La Prensa is to support the Latino community and its youth by providing positive role models, stressing family bonds, morals, and the values of Latino culture.
“It’s so much fun. I enjoy doing this. It’s a lot of work because we’re committed to selling 400 tickets—but this year has been easier because every year they want to know about it, want to participate, and want to be a part of this whole group,” said Mrs. Barbosa, who explained people have called from as far away as Defiance and Lima. Rico of La Prensa agreed, stating that various cities in Michigan have also gotten involved.
Currently, the Toledo Mud Hens boasts six Latino players: pitchers Melvin Mercedes (Dominican Republic) and José Ortega (Venezuela), second baseman Hernán Pérez (Venezuela), catchers Manny Piña (Venezuela), Ronny Paulino (Dominican Republic), and outfielder Ezequiel Carrera (Venezuela).
The Louisville Bats roster contains ten Latino ballplayers: pitchers Fabio Castillo (Dominican Republic), Edgar González (México), Carlos Marmol (Dominican Republic), Elvin Ramírez (Dominican Republic), Pedro Villareal (Texas); third basemen Rubén Gotay (Puerto Rico), Juan Silverio (Dominican Republic), Rey Navarro (Puerto Rico), outfielder Felix Pérez (Venezuela); and second baseman Hernán Iribarren (Cuba).