Honoring Pancho Mancera – 50 Years Later Head Start Still Works (for those who have access)


In celebration of Head Start’s 50th Anniversary, I recently had the opportunity to view the video PANCHO, which was one of the first documented Head Start success stories. Pancho Mancera was one of the first children served 50 years ago in the summer of 1965. Pancho’s story has been repeated hundreds of thousands of times over the last 50 years. Families and their children who have been identified and eligible for Head Start have seen their lives change dramatically because they’ve had access to health screenings, access to parent trainings and access to settings which make learning fun and engaging.

What is unique about Pancho’s story is that he was the son of a farmworker. He was from a Spanish speaking home yet, in the video you hear him speaking perfect English. Yes, 50 years ago, despite not having the research we have now, Head Start helped Pancho become a successful, bilingual child.

As the Founding Executive Director of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association, I’ve seen Head Start be the difference for families. As the demographics in our country have changed, we have seen a change in the children Head Start serves. However, we still see Latino children underrepresented in Head Start based on the percentage of eligible children; which is why access is so important. For many of these children, Head Start provides their best opportunity for early success.

As witnessed in Pancho’s video, Head Start is more than just the educational component. The health, nutrition, and parent engagement features provide a comprehensive approach to supporting families and children. I recall once being in a Head Start classroom where a child was being shown where he would take his naps and as the teacher was showing him the cot where he would rest, he said “¿yo solo?” meaning “just  me?” It was the realization that he would have his own place to sleep and not have to share it with multiple family members. It was probably the most peaceful sleep he would get all day. Imagine, that something as simple as a nap can make a difference for children.

Towards the end of the video of Pancho’s story we hear him talk about Superman and Batman.  Fifty years later, those same conversations are happening in Head Start classrooms around the country. Our charge is to be advocates for the Panchos of our country who have yet to find their way to a Head Start program and advocates for those children who don’t get Head Start, not because they aren’t eligible or haven’t applied, but because there isn’t room for them in the program.

Let’s celebrate the 50 years of Head Start success but let’s also honor Pancho and his family by ensuring that families, just like theirs, get access to Head Start.

Manda Lopez Klein

Vice President, Market Management, Teaching Strategies LLC

The Urgency of Now

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The Hispanic population is the future of this country. The numbers are undeniable. Latinos now comprise 18% of the U.S. population with 55.4 million individuals. Hispanic children are one in four of all children in the United States. Unfortunately,  37.4% of these children live in poverty placing them at risk of minimal access to health care, human services and early care and education programs, with less than half of the low-income children participating in some form of pre-school or child care program. Hispanics adolescents are faring no better. They comprise the second largest cohort of youth with a thirty percent high school drop-out rate and the highest out-of-wedlock birth rates of all groups. These young people will be the population that will be one in three Americans in 2050. How do we all make sure that these children and youth have the opportunity to contribute to the future of America?

It begins by legislators, policy makers, Federal, state and local leaders, foundations, national organizations and the media recognizing the changing face of America and responding to that change. The Pew Hispanic Research Center reports that not one more immigrant needs to enter this country for the persistent growth of the Latino population to occur. The action needed now is to engage in meaningful dialogue as to the positive impact that the Hispanic population has on the current economy and its potential for securing American economic leadership in the years to come. Let’s face the fact that it will be these children and youth who will be the contributors to social security, Medicaid, and to the defense of this country. Therefore we should invest now in policies and programs that allow this population to reach its full potential and be as successful as possible so that we all reap the benefits of their positive contribution.

Beyond the dialogue there must be programmatic, research and policy interventions that address the demographic data. The nation has done this before. During the War on Poverty decision makers followed the demographic data and took intentional action to alleviate the social ills in society. The data on Hispanics is just as compelling today. There needs to be resources invested now by government, philanthropy, national groups and corporations to ensure that Hispanics are an educable and employable work forces with all the benefits to society that will follow.

by Frank Fuentes

Advocate for Hispanic Families

Former Senior Adviser to Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services

Sophie and Francis

As we bid Pope Franci10-2-15 Sophie and Franciss goodbye and we begin to process the many powerful messages and symbols that he delivered to our collective consciousness, we have to decide as individuals, as communities, and as a country where we want to begin to act on his persistent and emphatic call to “remember the poor”.  As a long dejected, frustrated, and often, disgusted Catholic, I spent the entire week glued to my television, my car radio, and phone hoping not to miss any vital words of inspiration that would convince me to return to the fold of a Church that represents my family’s heritage and is indelibly printed into my identity as a Latin-American.  The truth is that he had me at “I am the son of an immigrant.”  He completed the spiritual “double nelson” when a few minutes later, he spontaneously and firmly asked his security detail to bring him a little girl who ran from behind the barrier and chased the Pope-mobile trying to hand-deliver a letter.  Francis blessed many children who were brought to him during his visit, but there was only one time in which he asked that a child, from the crowd of thousands, be brought to him.  Her name is Sophie and she is the US born daughter of an undocumented migrant worker.  She is the child of generations of Hispanics who have been cloaked with invisibility and indifference, although our astonishing work ethic and tireless labor are vital to many segments of our economy.   No American can spend an entire day without benefiting directly from the labor that immigrant Hispanics provide: most of our food is picked, processed, prepared, and served by people like Sophie’s family.  We are over 55 million strong, approaching 20% of the American population, yet we are seldom invited to discussions about our presence and the positive impact we have on our country. We are referred to as “strangers”, “foreigners” and “illegals” although some us have been here for many generations.   This week, for a brief moment, Pope Francis removed the cloak, and the world saw us when the first words he uttered on American soil were to speak of himself as an immigrant.  For a moment the word immigrant had dignity and hope, and wasn’t a racial slur.  We were important when he chose to canonize an immigrant who served his mission in California, where we are now over 50% of the population.  He gave us value and respect, when he spoke in Spanish and reminded us that being bilingual is an asset, not a deficit.  He was smart and strategic when he asked for justice for the millions of immigrants who are in legal limbo.  He recognizes that Latinos are essential to the survival of his Church, in the US and the world.  A fact that is analogous to the critical role that Latinos will play in the next election and the future of our nation.   Francis’ words were gentle and humble, and his blessing of Sophie lasted as long as the flap of a butterfly wing, but I believe that in that instant Francis began an epic effect that will rock our future world.  I don’t know about you, but I got his message loud and clear, and I know exactly where we need to begin to serve the under-served.

Pilar Torres, Ed.M.

Doctoral Candidate
Johns Hopkins University- School of Education

Step Up to a Healthy New Year

Health Promotion and Market Place Enrollment for Latino Communities
Latinos now number 54 million in this country, making us the largest minority at 17% of the population. An estimated 29% of the population will be Latino by 2050. As a community, we face alarming rates of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Currently, the fastest rising of these threats to Latino health are diabetes and obesity.

Compounding the rate of illness we face is the fact that up to 30% of Latinos under age 65 don’t have health insurance. Last year, 8 million people benefited from the Affordable Care Act; unfortunately, only 11% of those were Latino. Latinos continue to be the most underserved, underinsured population with millions still eligible for coverage.

As Latinos, our devotion to family and community is one of our greatest strengths. We need to call upon that strength now to combat the tide of illness that is effecting our communities.

Latino Health Challenges
Latinos face alarming rates of illness in a multitude of areas, but the top two health challenges are preventable: obesity and diabetes.


  • As a group, Latinos have a combined obesity and overweight rate of 77.9%
  • 78% of Mexican American women are overweight or obese and are 40% more likely to be overweight than non-Latino white women
  • 39% of Latino children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese
  • Obesity is a leading risk factor in the development of Type II Diabetes


  • 3.2 million Latinos have diabetes
  • Latinas are 17 times more likely to die from diabetes and diabetes complications such as end stage renal failure, high blood pressure and stroke, than non-Latino whites
  • 1 in 10 Latinas has Type II Diabetes
  • Latinos are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Latino whites
  • Latino children have a 50% chance of developing diabetes in their lifetime
  • A recent poll showed that nearly 1 in 5 Latinos believe diabetes is the biggest health challenge they face.

How Can You Help?

Every step taken toward better health is a step in the right direction. Below are some practical steps
you can take to effect change in the health of our community:

Promote Preventative Care

Under the Affordable Care Act even the most basic plans guarantee access to the essential health
benefits critical to combatting obesity and diabetes. These benefits include preventative and wellness services, chronic disease management, lab services and prescription drugs.

Preventative care also starts at home with the choices we make every day.


Marketplace enrollment season will be ending soon. Get informed and share that information with others in your community. Listed below are a few of places where information is available:

Together, through education, preventative care, and action we can change the health of our families and our communities. Join with us to bring about this change today!

Raise Your Voice for Early Childhood Ed

Speak Up About the Issues Impacting our Youngest Latinos!

Need some help?
Below are some ideas to help you shape and voice your own commitment to the issue of early childhood learning. The important part is that you reach out and speak up about the issues impacting our youngest Latinos.

Take Part in the Summit through the Private Sector Challenge
At a time of growing public and private sector engagement in early learning, corporate leaders, non-profits, foundations and private individuals can take action to drive new resources to early education and broaden the reach or deepen the quality of existing early learning services for our nation’s youngest children.

Promote New Commitments to Action
There is tremendous energy and momentum across the country in support of early learning, and communities are making real progress in expanding access to high-quality early learning programs and services for children.

  • The Summit provides an opportunity to highlight successful public-private partnerships supporting early education while promoting new opportunities for action.
  • Summit participants will have an opportunity to announce new commitments and actions that make meaningful and quantifiable contributions in the expansion and support of early learning.

Sample Commitments to Action
Private sector commitments consistent with the President’s early learning agenda can build on and accelerate federal, state and local investments in high-quality early learning. Examples of such commitments include, but are not limited to:

  • Build the skills of the early learning workforce. Direct coaching and mentoring for preschool teachers, aligned with curriculum and assessment systems; scholarships or compensation associated with continuing education and training in early childhood education; training for principals and superintendents in early childhood development; and enhancements that bring compensation for early educators to parity with early elementary teachers.
  • Build a continuum of high-quality early learning from birth to 3rd grade. New investments to continue early education programs and services beyond federal investments in home visiting, infant and toddler care, or preschool in a state or region. Public and private leaders can invest in infant and toddler services where a federal Preschool Development Grant is awarded, or in preschool where an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant is awarded.
  • Enrich early education experiences. Strengthened language and literacy instruction in preschool classrooms; mathematics and science learning opportunities; resources for comprehensive health and mental health services (e.g., screenings, early identification, and management of physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive developmental needs) and family engagement. Greater support for the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Parent education programs and other resources for caregivers and educators about the importance of adult-child interaction and talking, singing and reading with children in their earliest years.
  • Promote equity in early education. Support for providers and policymakers to implement policies that eliminate suspensions and expulsions in preschools and child care centers that disproportionately impact children of color.
  • Support early education infrastructure and facilities. Financing and facilities acquisition to expand the availability of high-quality early education, particularly in high-poverty neighborhoods with a shortage of quality programs.
  • Promote innovation in early education. Pilots for innovative programs, technology and new approaches to early education. Support for research, evaluation and documentation to build the next generation of early education strategies and models.

I am more committed than I’ve ever been to the welfare of children. It’s true: we need to start earlier. But first, we need to speak up and be heard.

Join me. Speak up here. Do it today!

Where do we go from here …

The National Alliance for Hispanic Families promotes an assets- and strengths-based approach to its planning on behalf of Hispanic families. The NAHF will address these needs through a comprehensive approach to advancing Hispanic families.

Over the next several years, we will lead the charge toward:

  • Promoting and advancing policies that strengthen and support Hispanic families
  • Expanding and enhancing direct service
  • Developing a research-driven policy agenda
  • Identifying, cultivating and developing Hispanic leadership

By basing this plan and this movement on lessons of the past, a vision for the future and a core focus of grassroots, community-based work, the National Alliance for Hispanic Families will affect change across all sectors and at all levels of influence on behalf of Hispanic families in America.

During recent years, the conversation about Hispanics has been focused on immigration.

This isn’t just about immigration.

The NAHF will expand the national conversation regarding the Hispanic population—from one that is focused on immigration to one that recognizes the contributions and needs of the 50 million U.S. citizens of Hispanic heritage.

The vision of the NAHF is to affirm and advance Hispanic families so that children may reach their greatest potential and achieve their greatest dreams, making our communities and country stronger and more prosperous.

I am passionate about this mission and invite you to join us as we work toward making our country stronger by bringing out the strengths of our people.

If you haven’t already, see below and take a few moments to read about our new board. Let’s envision – and prepare to act on – a future we can achieve together.

Para nuestro futuro,
Yvette Sanchez Fuentes
National Alliance for Hispanic Families



Noel Castellanos
CEO & President
Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Rev. Noel Castellanos is the CEO and president of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and is a highly sought-after speaker, motivator and mentor to young leaders throughout the United States.

Mr. Castellanos has worked in full-time ministry in Latino, urban communities since 1982 and served in youth ministry, church planting, advocacy and community development in San Francisco, San Jose and Chicago.

After serving on the Board of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) for many years, Mr. Castellanos established the CCDA Institute, which equips emerging church leaders in the philosophy of Christian community development.

Committed to investing in the lives of leaders who serve the poor, Mr. Castellanos was appointed to serve on President Obama’s Council for Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Mr. Castellanos co-authored A Heart for the Community and New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry and has also contributed to various other books and publications, including Deep Justice in a Broken World, A Heart for the City and Crazy Enough to Care. His latest book, When the Cross Meets the Streetpublished by InterVarsity Press, is due in bookstores in March 2015.

Mr. Castellanos and his wife, Marianne, have three children—Noel Luis, Stefan and Anna—and make their home in the Chicago barrio of La Villita.


Dr. Blanca Enriquez*
Executive Director
Region 19 Head Start

A lifelong educator, Dr. Blanca Estela Enriquez is a highly recognized leader within the Early Child Development field. Under her leadership as Executive Director of El Paso’s Region 19 Head Start program since 1986, the program has grown from 1,200 preschoolers at 11 sites to more than 4,000 children at 30 sites and has won many local, state and national awards.

Currently a member of the State Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Education, appointed by Governor Perry, Dr. Enriquez was also nominated by President Bush to serve on a ten-person advisory board for the National Institute for Literacy.

Among other groups, Dr. Enriquez is a member of the National Head Start Association; the National Association for the Education of Children; the Texas and National Associations for Bilingual Education; and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Dr. Enriquez also serves locally with United Way of El Paso and is a founding member of Community En Acción. She was recently appointed by Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams as the fifth member of the El Paso Independent School District board of managers.

Dr. Enriquez holds a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Management from New Mexico State University and a M.S. in Education from the University of Texas at El Paso.


Carmen Nazario
U.S. Representative
Executive Board, UNICEF

Carmen Nazario is the former Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), where she was responsible for oversight of the ACF office within the Health and Human Services department.

She currently serves as the U.S. Representative to the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and as assistant professor of social policy at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico.

For nearly four decades, Ms. Nazario’s career in public service has focused on improving services to children and families within the U.S. and around the world. Prior roles include administrator for the Administration for Children and Families for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and senior resident investigator for the Jordan Poverty Alleviation Program.

During the Clinton Administration, Ms. Nazario served as Associate Commissioner for Child Care in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, later becoming the principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Administration for Children and Families.

Among various state-level roles, Nazario has also held a number of national leadership roles, namely Vice President of the Board of Directors of the American Public Welfare Association; President of the National Council of Local Public Welfare Administrators and Secretary of the National Council of State Human Service Administrators.

Ms. Nazario is from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where she earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico. She also has a M.S. in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work.


Raul I. Raymundo*
Co-Founder and President
The Resurrection Project

Raul Raymundo is co-founder and president of The Resurrection Project (TRP). He is responsible for facilitating more than $250 million in community reinvestment through multiple channels and has created affordable housing, community facilities and economic development projects. He became TRP’s CEO in 1991 and in 1995 was named a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.

Today, TRP has more than two dozen initiatives and is the lead organization in the Lower West Side for Chicago’s “New Communities Program.”

Raymundo was named one of the 40 Chicago Pioneers between 1970 – 2010 by Chicago Magazine; one of “40 Who’ve Made a Difference” by the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest of Chicago (2009); and he received the De La Salle Community Leaders Award from Lewis University (2011).

Appointed to the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic School Board in 2009 by Cardinal Francis George and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning in 2007 by Mayor Richard M. Daley, today Raymundo serves as board chair for the National Association of Latino Asset Builders. He was also president of the Alumni Council of his alma mater, Carleton College from 2000 – 2002.

Raymundo received a B.S. in Sociology from Carleton College. He continues to live in Chicago’s Pilsen community with his wife, Maria Luisa, and their three children.


Dr. Luis Torres
Associate Professor
University of Houston

Dr. Luis Torres believes social work education and research can play a critical role in addressing a community’s needs and building upon its many assets.

An associate professor at University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work, his primary research interest is Latino health disparities, with specialization in co-occurring disorders (substance use, mental illness and medical conditions); HIV/AIDS; family strengthening; and Hispanic families and communities.

Dr. Torres holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Fordham University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico.


José Villalobos *
Senior Vice President
TELACU Industries

As Senior Vice President of TELACU Industries, Mr. Villalobos manages TELACU’s public sector initiatives. Providing leadership to one of our country’s largest community development corporations, Jose is responsible for identifying and accessing government programs and affecting legislation at the federal, state and local levels that can be utilized in the expansion of the company’s subsidiaries and business activities. He also oversees TELACU’s non-regulated capital investment programs, including New Markets Community Capital and TELACU Community Capital.


Yvette Sanchez Fuentes
National Association for Hispanic Families

Prior to joining NAHF, Ms. Sanchez Fuentes served as Director for the Office of Head Start at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Appointed by President Obama, she helped lead ACF’s critically important mission of enriching the quality of early childhood development for our nation’s most vulnerable children.

Prior to her appointment, Yvette was the Executive Director of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA). She worked with early education services, policies and resources for migrant and seasonal farm worker children and their families.

Ms. Sanchez Fuentes’ passion for education, policy and resource development for underserved communities spans many years. Prior to her appointment at ACF, she worked at the Education Development Center where she was the Early Childhood Specialist for the International Systems Division and provided technical assistance to projects in Honduras, El Salvador, and Egypt.

Ms. Sanchez Fuentes also served as a National Head Start Fellow where she provided consultation in literacy, parent education, child care collaborations, and program improvement to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and other early childhood education programs nationwide.

Early in her career, Yvette managed services for a large migrant and seasonal program for staff development and family child care initiatives. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from California State Polytechnic University

As the president of National Alliance for Hispanic Families (NAHF), Ms. Sanchez Fuentes will lead the NAHF’s mission to build on the Hispanic community’s assets in the areas of research, program and public policy in an effort to better serve families in need.

*NAHF Founding Member

Nuestro Futuro: Hispanic Youth in America

This National Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor our beautiful culture and heritage. Regardless of where our roots lie, we celebrate our diversity as we take stock of what the future looks like for our children.

As parents and family members, we know the road to a better future is in the hands of our children and youth. It’s a good thing we are known as much for hard work as for our commitment to family. It’s also a good thing we don’t give up easily because our work is cut out for us: While the high school dropout rate of Latinos has been cut in half, just 22% of young Latinos have college degrees.

We know our potential as a people is much greater than the challenges we face. So we must seize every opportunity to equip our youth with the apoyo (encouragement) to move forward. The future of our nation depends on it.

Economically, we play a key role in terms of where this country is going to be in the future competing globally.” — Alejandra Ceja, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (WHIEEH)

For a look at how things are shaping up for the future of Hispanic youth and ways you can help accelerate their progress, check out the following information:

Minority-Majority: A Household Term?
It’s no secret that, with 54 million Hispanics living in the U.S. in 2013, this demographic has long been on the fast track to become not only the largest minority population in the country, but the youngest. From our foods to our drinks and music, Hispanic culture continues to have a huge impact on life in the United States.

You know when Dora the Explorer is the No. 2 preschool show on commercial television and piñatas are the second most popular party favor, algo esta pasando (something’s going on).

But for nuestros hijos (our children), how does life in the U.S. stack up? What does the next generation face as they grow up with one foot in American culture and the other rooted in their heritage?

Here is a snapshot, illustrated by a number of key stats on the state of Hispanic children and youth in the U.S.


  • Young children are on the leading edge of the demographic shift. Minorities this fall are expected to make up 51% of public school students in grades pre-K through 8th grade and 48% of those in grades 9 through 12. Young Latinos alone accounted for at least 20% of public school kindergartners in 17 states, up from just eight states in 2000.
  • Of children and youth in the U.S. ages 5-19, 1 in 5 is from an immigrant family, with at least one foreign-born parent.
  • Of children 0-8 years old in the U.S., 1 in 5 is Hispanic. Of those, nearly 70% are of Mexican American origin.


  • El que dos lenguas habla, dos hombres vale. (He who speaks two languages is worth two people.) Second- and third-generation Hispanic children (79% and 38%, respectively) say they are proficient in Spanish, indicating that the mother tongue is resilient for several generations after immigration.
  • Young Hispanics are often encouraged at home to speak Spanish as their parents speak of national pride in their country of origin. These youth typically self-identify by their country of origin rather than as “Americans.”
  • Of native-born Hispanic youth, 98% say they speak English at least very well, while among foreign-born youth ages 16 to 25, just 48% make that claim.


  • More than two-thirds (68%) of young Latinos are of Mexican origin, and they are growing up in families in which 42% say their mothers and fathers (44%) have less than a high school diploma. This compares with one-quarter of non-Mexican-heritage young Latinos who say the same.
  • The high school dropout rate among Latino youths (17%) is nearly three times as high as that among white youths (6%) and nearly double the rate among blacks (9%).
  • The reason most often given by Latino youths who cut off their education before college is financial pressure to support a family.
  • Nearly all Latino youths (89%) and older adults (88%) agree that a college degree is important for getting ahead in life, even though just half of Latinos ages 18 to 25 say they plan to get a college degree.

Teenage Parenthood

  • One-in-four young Hispanic females becomes a mother by age 19 — a rate that declined between 1990 and 2007 by 18%.
  • Still, 69% of Latino youth believe that becoming a teen parent prevents a person from reaching one’s goals in life.


  • Young Latinos find themselves living in poverty (23%) more than young whites (13%) and slightly less frequently than young blacks (28%).

Life Priorities and Satisfaction

  • Even more so than other youths, young Latinos have high aspirations for career success. Some 89% say it is very important in their lives, compared with 80% of the full population of 18-to-25-year-olds who say the same.
  • Latinos believe in the rewards of hard work. More than eight-in-ten—including 80% of Latino youths and 86% of Latinos ages 26 and older—say that most people can get ahead in life if they work hard.
  • Latino youth are optimistic about their futures. More than 70% expect to be better off financially than their parents.

So there’s good news, and there’s bad news. Overall, the trend is going in the right direction, so we can’t stop now. Let’s focus on how to get our kids a great education that gives them solid footing for a successful future.

Here are a few tips for putting that apoyo in place:

  • Team up with their teachers. That partnership is one of the strongest links you can build to your child’s academic success. Some resources are designed specifically to help you be a strong parent when it comes to your child’s education.
  • Education is a lifetime investment. WHIEEH sees it through a cradle-to-career lens. In fact, they just released the Parent Toolkit app to help parents get more involved in their kids’ education.
  • Be informed about early childhood programs. These are key to preparing our children to be more academically successful in their youth and through their college years. This brief video outlines how the White House is helping increase access to such programs.
  • Walk the talk. “It’s our argument to make,” according to Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas). “We have to convince people that this isn’t about whose kids we’re educating. It’s about our society … because the more people we educate, the better off we’ll be as a nation.” Add to that:
    • Trabaja duro en silencio y deja que tu éxito haga todo el ruido. (Quietly work hard and let your success do the talking.”)

While the challenges our children face may be less intense than we experienced, they remain very real. Fortunately, we can equip them by passing the baton fueled by what our forefathers and abuelitas gave us — ánimo.

“Between Two Worlds: Latinos Come of Age in America,” Pew Research, December 11, 2009; updated July 1, 2013.

“A View of the Future Through Kindergarten Demographics,” Pew Research Center FactTank: News in the Numbers, July 8, 2014.

“Para Nuestros Niños” Report, Eugene E. Garcia, Ph.D., National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics, 2011.

“American Latino Agenda Report,” New America Alliance Institute, 2014.

“Alejandra Ceja on Hispanic Students,” Comcast Newsmakers, March 24, 2014.

Human trafficking: Five things to know

It may seem like human trafficking is something that only happens in other places across the globe. The truth is, it’s happening much closer than we think—possibly to children in, and from, our communities.

Urban Strategies is committed to working with you, your neighborhood, and community to ensure our most vulnerable have access to resources for better and healthier lifestyles.

Read on for five key facts on human trafficking and how you can help make a difference—today.

Fact One: There are two types of human trafficking happening in the U.S.

The United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines human trafficking as the exploitation of one human being by another, for personal or financial gain. There are two types of trafficking: trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation sex and labor trafficking.

Sex trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act, which is induced by force, fraud, or coercion. Sometimes, these victims are younger than 18.

The second type of trafficking is labor trafficking. It also involves recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person, but for labor or services. It usually happens through force or fraud and results in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

Fact Two: Human trafficking occurs in legal and illegal industries.

According to the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report:
“Trafficking can occur in many licit and illicit industries or markets, including in brothels, massage parlors, street prostitution, hotel services, hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing, janitorial services, construction, health and elder care, and domestic service.”

Fact Three: Vulnerable child populations are at a higher risk of becoming trafficking victims.

From north to south, east to west, human trafficking is a crime plaguing our country and some of the most vulnerable victims being trafficked are, our children. Reports show that, overwhelmingly, children who are runaways, in the foster care system or on welfare are the most vulnerable.

Fact Four: Child trafficking is happening in our backyard.

Since 2003 over 2,100 child victims have been recovered through the FBI’s Innocent Lost Operation. In July 2012, 79 child victims were recovered, and over 100 traffickers arrested, during that same operation.

Although most cases of child trafficking have been identified as sex trafficking, children have sometimes been exploited for labor*. Some of the Federal U.S. cases include:

    • Children being trafficked to work 14-hour days braiding hair in salons in New Jersey;
    • A 10-year-old girl who was forced to do housework 16 hours a day without payment in the state of California; and
    • The MS-13 gang exploiting a 12-year-old runaway for commercial sex in Virginia.

Trafficking of children can happen in any setting across the country, be it rural or urban, although at risk populations for human trafficking tend to come from impoverished and vulnerable communities — in particular, runaways and foster care youth. However, there has also been an increase in victims of trafficking in the affluent suburbs of the US.

At-risk populations include children who have suffered abuse or neglect at home. These children are more vulnerable to being trafficked then children who came from a home with a strong family nucleus.

In a report by the California Child Welfare Council, 50% to 80% of commercially sexually exploited victims were in the child welfare system. In Connecticut, a report from the Department of Children and Families found 86 out of 88 children involved in sex trafficked had also been part of the child welfare system. Children in the welfare system are at increased risk of being trafficked.

* Source: US DHHS Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United Sates

Fact Five: You can make a difference.

Some of the practical ways community members can protect their children are:

    • Be aware – Human trafficking is happening everywhere. Look at the resources below to see how you can help raise awareness about this issue in your local community.
    • Be alert – Report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement or child protective services.
    • Be engaged – Engage with your local or state task force to see how you can be part of combatting trafficking.

For more information and resources on combatting human trafficking please see:

A Chance To Be Heard: 2014 NAHF Survey

Five years ago, the National Alliance for Hispanic Families set out to pursue a three-fold mission: promote and advance policies that strengthen and support Hispanic families; develop research that drives relevant policy; and expand and enhance the services of Hispanic serving community and faith-based organizations.

Since setting our sights on this mission, much has been accomplished. For example, we conducted a 10-city listening tour that showcased the work of Hispanic-serving community and faith-based organizations. We developed and completed a national training and technical assistance initiative to build the capacity of organizations serving the most vulnerable. We developed several ground breaking reports that shed light on policies that produce funding inequities. And through tenacious efforts, we successfully advocated for the newly launched Center for Research on Hispanic Children and Families.

As the newly named President of the Alliance, I am committed to building on the successes of our past and am confident that our best is yet to come! As we stake out our future and update our strategic plan, we want to hear from you. We want to ensure that our efforts address the challenges and opportunities faced by Hispanic-serving organizations. We want to learn how we can best serve the front-line heroes and heroines who tirelessly work to help our communities realize their potential.

To this end, please take a few minutes to complete the 2014 NAHF Survey that can be found here. Your input and feedback will be critically important as we set the future direction for the Alliance.

Thank you in advance for your help and for all that you do to serve our Latino families.

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

College apps and special opps: Too late? Not yet!

Just when you thought all the deadlines were gone

Southwest and HACU team up to offer ¡Lánzate! / Take Off! Travel Award

Here’s an exciting update: Fun-loving Southwest Airlines is joining with Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to offer their annual ¡Lánzate! /Take Off! Travel Award Program.

For students taking the bold step of attending school far from home, this program can play a huge role in staying connected to family. But don’t delay – apply today! Postmark deadline is May 15.

Still haven’t applied for school? Lucky for you, there’s still (a little) time

As far as college applications go, time is nearly up.

But for many colleges and universities, according to, they’re still accepting applications. Go to > Member Colleges > Search for Colleges and check “Fall 2014” and enter a date in the near future (say, June 1). For schools that show up, they’re probably still taking applications.

So what are you waiting for? That dream is still there, but only if you go after it. ¡Adelante!