UNIVERSIDAD YA!/COLLEGE NOW! HIGHER EDUCATION INITIATIVE OF THE HISPANIC ARTS COUNCIL OF ST. LOUIS WAS FEATURED IN THE NINE NETWORK VIDEO OF THE AMERICAN GRADUATE LATINO NEW SITE!
Take a look at the video in Spanish below or visit the American Graduate Latino website with information in English and Spanish to help young undeserved Latino students to finish high school and get access to higher education. Click HERE for more information.
From left to right: Universidad YA! team: Ms. Maria Rebecchi, Program Director Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, Lic. Gustavo Arango, Immigration Lawyer & Prof. Virginia Braxs, President of the Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis, Ms. Gloria De Avila, College Student, & Mr. Karlos Ramirez, Executive Director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area presenting the check for $1,000.00 to Ms. De Avila for advancement of her college studies on April 14th, 2013 at the 1st Hispanic College Fair at St. Cecilia School, in south St. Louis organized by Universidad YA!, an education initiative from the Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis.
READ THE Universidad YA! ARTICLE IN SPANISH PUBLISHED ON 'RED LATINA' (www.redlatinastl.com) ON THE MAY 3RD 2013 EDITION REGARDING THE IMPORTANCE OF LATINO YOUTH EDUCATION AND THE HISPANIC COLLEGE FAIR IN ST. LOUIS.
TO DOWNLOAD, CLICK HERE!
Latino students are often discouraged from finishing high school or from continuing on to college due to their parents’ unfamiliarity with the American higher education system. But more importantly, as a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center suggests, it’s not lack of aspiration, but rather the additional financial burden placed on these young students to contribute financially to their households. Therefore, preparing for college is often not a priority for immigrant families. These families typically face a myriad of difficulties in their daily lives, and very often their attention is pulled away from higher education towards their day-to-day survival.
Universidad YA!, a working group of the Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis, was born out of the growing need in the St. Louis’ Latino community and the remarkable potential these young individuals demonstrate. Universidad YA! advocates for Latino youth staying in school and for their pursuit of higher education as the key to fuller integration into the American society, as an opportunity for upward mobility and as a tool to make educated choices. By providing clear and culturally competent information, Latino families will understand the importance that higher education will play in their future, and most importantly that they can also achieve the Dream of a postsecondary education just as their peers, and regardless of their status.
Latino youth have special and valuable contributions to make in leadership roles in their communities because they must navigate a path between two worlds. This advantage, even if challenging, makes this group unique in their potential to succeed. With an education, ‘¡Sí, se puede!”
“To empower Latino youth to complete high school and to provide access to higher education regardless of their legal status”
The goals of Universidad YA! are to:
*provide access to higher education to underprivileged Latino youth;
*empower families by providing them with the tools to help themselves;
*support the journey through post-secondary education.
HOW WE ACCOMPLISH OUR MISSION
Uniiversidad YA! provides legal assistance, academic preparation, college application support and information about financial aid resources through informative events in Spanish and English. Universidad Ya!:
*Participates in advocacy efforts directed toward changing the attitude of educating the undocumented students;
*Provides information sessions tailored to the specific needs of the students and their parents;
*Provides informal near-peer mentorship programs with adults who provide support to students while in college and after graduation to offer networking, internships and employment opportunities;
*Provides training sessions for peer mentors, parents (‘Padres Promotores’), and education providers; and
*Provides one-on-one support to address student’s specific legal needs, ACT practice, college applications, writing essays or applying for scholarships.
Regular presentations are available for schools, churches, community organizations, etc. upon request. If you are interested in having one of the presentations/training sessions in English or Spanish to your group of Latino families or Latino students, please, contact us. This service is provided free of charge.
We offer presentations, workshops and training during weekends and evenings. We could arrange for daytime hours in special cases and will make every effort to accommodate our schedule to yours. If you would like to schedule an information session or training or if you want to know where we will be next, please contact us.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVELD
*Would you like to mentor a Latino young man or young woman? Do you offer internships or employment to college students or graduates? Please contact us.
*If you are an adult with experience navigating the educational system or would like to be trained to deliver information sessions to other families in Spanish or English, please contact us.
*We can’t do this job alone. We need your help!
Please, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 314-863-0570. We are looking forward to working with you.
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Gustavo Arango, Esq.
Gustavo Arango is an immigration attorney in St. Louis Missouri. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Missouri and the Republic of Colombia. Gustavo obtained in Colombia both his Law Degree and a Specialization in Labor Law and Social Security. In the United States, he obtained both a Master of Arts in Human Services with emphasis in Human Resources Management from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and a Master of Laws from St. Louis University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to migrating to the United States, Gustavo practiced law in Colombia for six years.
Gustavo integrates his skills acquired in both his Master of Arts in Human Services and his Master of Laws to diligently assist, advise and represent his clients before the Immigration Court and/or the USCIS. Gustavo represents clients before the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The Mexican State Department or Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores de México has designated Gustavo as an Ad Honorem consultant attorney to provide his professional services in the jurisdiction of the Mexican Consulate in Kansas City, Missouri. Gustavo is an activist who continuously, and through his law firm and/or with the support of the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates organization, disseminates in the immigrant community information relevant to their rights through his “Know Your Right” presentations given to different groups, community centers, parishes, etc.
Virginia Braxs, MA
Prof. Virginia Braxs, native of Argentina, has been a
faculty at the Romance Languages Department at Washington University in St.
Louis since 1988 and its Hispanic Community and Student Groups Liaison since
1996. Ms. Braxs is the founder and faculty mentor of the WU Latino Youth
Tutoring/Mentoring Programs, K-12 after school programs working with
underprivileged Latino students since 1996, in which WU & SLU
undergraduates serve as tutors twice a week at St. Cecilia Parish, in south St.
Louis. The after school programs include a college prep which has been placing
underprivileged Latino students in college since 2004, with heavy ACT prep,
college admission packages, college visits, and scholarships applications, as well
as teaching the road map for college access in the U.S. American education system for Latino students and parents.
Since 1998, Ms. Braxs has been working as the Vice President of the Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis, a nonprofit organization. She is also a panelist at the St Louis Regional Arts Commission, and active board member of The Hispanic Educational, Cultural & Scholarship Fund and Arts & Faith St. Louis, as well as co-founder and board emeritus of Upstream Theater.
Prof. Braxs holds a degree as ‘Licenciada en Letras Modernas’ from the National University of Cordoba, Argentina, and a Master in Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been working as an educator and community advocate for underprivileged Latino youth’s access to higher education since 1992 and in the education field for the last thirty years in Argentina and in the U.S.
Maria Rebecchi, a co-founder of Universidad YA! was an active member from 2012 until January of 2014. She was Program Director at The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis from 2010 to 2014. Her responsibilities included overseeing the Student Advocate and Advising Program, which provided information and guidance to students and their families in determining what educational opportunities they want to pursue after high school. Maria continues with a role as an occasional collaborator of Universidad YA!