Initiative aims at educating about college opportunity
A long line formed at the front of the room. Latino parents, usually dragging their children along, were waiting to speak to Marcelina Zamora and Yudi Lewis. They wanted to know how to get their kids to college.
On Wednesday, Feb. 2, the Latino Initiative hosted a Latino Parent Open house. Lewis, director of the Latino Initiative, said that the event is all about educating parents.
“We want the community to know that they have the opportunity to go to college,” Lewis said. “Many of them aren’t sure that college is available to them.”
According to statistics, there is cause for concern among the Latino community. Only about 50 percent of Latinos graduate from high school in the U.S. Only about 20 percent actually seek a secondary education after that. That’s what makes Lewis and the rest of the Latino Initiative so dedicated to helping parents understand their options.
Zamora, a recruiter for the Hispanic branch of the Prospective Students department, said that helping these parents is all about one word: awareness.
“It’s all about awareness. I want Latino families to know what is available to them, not just at UVU, but at any university,” Zamora said.
In order to raise awareness, Zamora’s group took flyers to Latino businesses, churches, high schools and middle schools to invite students and their parents to the event.
“We even used Facebook,” Lewis said. “I love Facebook for that reason.”
During the Parent Night, Lewis and Zamora explained some of the requirements for admission, the process of applying for scholarships and grants and even how to enroll if the student does not have U.S. documentation. In the end, the goal is simply to help Latino kids get an education, no matter where.
“Yes, we want students to come to UVU,” Lewis said. “I graduated from here, and I love this school, and that’s why I work here. But the most important thing is that they go to college, wherever that may be.”