In an effort to help young Latino students prepare for college, UVU student volunteers and faculty members hosted local eighth graders last week.

Around 36 Latino eighth graders from Centennial Middle School in Provo came to UVU as part of the school’s Latino Outreach program. In an all-day event, the students learned about college opportunities by playing interactive games, taking a tour of the school and hearing about college students’ experiences.

“[Our goal] is for students to capture the vision of what college has to offer,” said Kyle Reyes, Latino Outreach coordinator.

Several of the eighth graders raised their hands when asked if they had been on campus before and if they would like to attend UVU.

“I hope they are able to take education seriously and realize there’s opportunity to succeed,” said Yazmin Montero, a UVU student and the Latino Outreach assistant coordinator. “This event helps students see the diversity at UVU and hopefully they can see themselves here.”

They provided group interactive games such as playing “Survivor” where the students were given play dough to make items such as a car, a man playing Frisbee with his son or a lady sitting on a sofa. To make it challenging, some students were given restrictions such as no speaking, no using hands or can’t use thumbs. This activity helped students learn to work together despite weaknesses.

Reyes explained that the Latino Outreach program provides around four activities a week. There are two Latino programs with which UVU students can get involved – the Latin American club and Latino Unidios.

The UVU Latin American club creates an environment for students to further their education and be successful in the community. Latino Unidios is a mentoring program where UVU students help young Latino K-12 students at local schools.

“We have many volunteer opportunities and are always looking for students to participate,” Reyes said. “They don’t have to be Latino to help educate the Latino students.”

For more information, e-mail Yazmin Montero at [email protected]