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Latino Youth Summit to be held at UT next month

By Chelsea Scott
On April 26, 2012

Over 800 students from the Greater Toledo area will experience educational and interactive workshops next month at UT for the 10th annual Latino Youth Summit.

The summit, meant to promote the importance of higher education to the Latino youth, is open to seventh through 12th graders and will take place May 8 in the Student Union Building.

Sabina Elizondo-Serratos, associate director of Multicultural Student Services, said this event provides students and parents with information to give them a better guide of the educational system.

“Latinos are the fastest growing population and largest ethnic group in the country, but unfortunately Hispanic youth are less likely to complete high school and attend or graduate from college,” Elizondo-Serratos said.

Cecilia Rivera, LYS and Greek Life coordinator, helped organize the event for 10 years.

“I am excited for what it has become,” she said.

Rivera said the students arrive in the morning and experience hands-on workshops throughout the day. She said younger students create things with the engineers and older students are taught things like how to finance money.

The staff tries to keep the events different every year, and this year’s presentation boasts keynote speaker Roy Juarez Jr.

Juarez, a former homeless teen, is speaking as part of his “MyBag, MyHome: Homeless by Choice Tour.”

It is an initiative meant to inspire students with “his personal message of hope, perseverance and the importance of a higher education,” according to the tour website.

“It teaches them about the hits in life and how you can overcome that,” Rivera said.

She also said while the event is targeted to Latino children, anyone is welcome.

The summit usually gets a total of 100 students and community members to volunteer, but Rivera said they are unsure about how many people they will have for this year.

“We have volunteers who are here for the entire event or for just a couple hours,” she explained. “It’s a great recruit for UT students to get involve to influence kids.”

Volunteers get a free t-shirt in appreciation for helping.

She said in order to make this summit happen, collaboration between the community, staff and students is necessary. She added that UT is the only school which has this event.

“It has been shared and presented at a conference but it’s something that hasn’t been done on a national level,” Rivera said.

Rivera said at a price of about $7,000, the event is partially funded by UT and the Office of Multicultural Student Success.

The event is free for kids because Toledo Public Schools provides transportation and UT provides meals and workshops for the students.

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