Blog | Page 10 of 12 | UnidosNow

State Farm Insurance Sponsors Workshop for FLA Students

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, our students and parents from the FLA School Program in Palmetto and Sarasota High Schools had meetings in which they learned how college financial aid works. Additionally, they learned basic household budgeting and money management. The workshop was sponsored by State Farm, and insurance company that believes in, and support the mission of UnidosNow. We are thankful to Kim Vole and Ric Coffey who participated in these events.
 

Palmetto High School

 
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Sarasota High School

 
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HUGE SUCCESS for UnidosNow: Sarasota High now ranked #1 for most improved for FAFSA completion

From Catalina Kaiyoorawongs

We wanted to share the news released by the Florida College Access Network. UnidosNow has a huge success to celebrate! As a result of our  workshop with all seniors, reaching out directly to students at Sarasota High, and taking data to identify who we need to reach out to, Sarasota High is  now ranked # 1 for most improved high school is in the State for FAFSA completion as of the beginning of February. This is even before we join forces as a community to host the School sponsored workshop! Let’s see if we can keep this up! I wanted to personally reach out to our major supporters and let them know! Thanks to all our volunteer efforts, we are truly making strides to help low income students obtain the money they need for college. Please refer to the second info graphic.

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From: Florida College Access Network <amartinez@floridacollegeaccess.org>
Date: Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 10:41 AM
Subject: Florida CAN releases FAFSA data for over 600 Florida schools
To: Catalina <catalina@unidosnow.org>

Press Contact:
Ashley J. Martinez, (813) 974-8606
amartinez@floridacollegeaccess.org

Florida CAN releases FAFSA data for over 600 schools

New, interactive dashboard allows users to track school, district and state-level FAFSA completion data through spring 2016

Tampa, FL — Florida College Access Network (Florida CAN) has released theFlorida FAFSA Finish Line dashboard with new data for 2016, showing the number of 12th graders throughout the state who have completed the form.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines eligibility for $150 billion in federal financial aid programs each year, yet tens of thousands of eligible Florida students neglect to fill out the form.  Previous estimates from Florida CAN show Florida students leave behind over $100 million in federal Pell Grants each year, not including state aid programs like the Florida Student Assistance Grant, which also requires a completed FAFSA.

The Florida FAFSA Finish Line data dashboard allows schools, districts and community partners to view FAFSA completion rates in near-real time with data updates taking place weekly through March and bi-weekly through June.

 Click image to view data

“Money should never be the reason why students choose not to go to college,” said Troy Miller, Associate Director for Research and Policy for Florida CAN. “This data dashboard can help schools, districts and community partners make sure their students complete the FAFSA and have a plan for life after high school.”

To spark an increase in FAFSA completions among high school seniors, last December Florida CAN announced the Florida FAFSA Challenge to encourage all schools and districts to raise FAFSA completion rates by 5% in 2016.  Schools and districts that sign up for the challenge receive support, resources and recognition, with trophies going to top performers in the state.

Each week, schools and districts with the highest FAFSA completion rates (“MVP”), the most improved FAFSA completion rates (“Most Improved”), and the closest to the 5% goal in the fewest amount of days (“Fastest Lap”) will be featured in the FAFSA Challenge Leaderboard, updated each week through March 31, 2016.  A downloadable version of the most recent Leaderboard with data through February 5, 2016 can be found here.


 Click image to view leaderboard

Schools and districts interested in participating in the Florida FAFSA Challenge can learn more and register here.

For more information on FAFSA completion data, research and resources, see these previous releases by Florida CAN:

A downloadable version (.PDF) of this press release can be found here.

The Florida FAFSA Challenge is possible thanks to the support of the Helios Education Foundation and Swift Family Foundation.

About Florida College Access Network
The mission of the Florida College Access Network is to create and strengthen a statewide network that catalyzes and supports communities to improve college & career preparation, access, and completion for all students. Our Big Goal is to increase the percentage of Florida residents who hold a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential to 60% by the year 2025. For more information, visitwww.floridacollegeaccess.org.
                                                                                          
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UnidosNow Speaks about Social Justice with Japanese Exchange Students

conversation with Japanese students

A delegation of Japanese students are visiting St. Stephen’s Episcopal School as a part of a exchange program, and Mr. Patrick Whelan, Head of Social Studies, invited UnidosNow’s Executive Director Luz Corcuera to speak with the students.

The discussion was centered in social justice and peace. Issues of poverty, immigration, marginalization, education, and social determinants of health were explored. “This will be the generation crossing across the divides to create a just and peaceful world for our future generations”, Mrs. Corcuera explained.

Local initiative strives to broaden college access

As published in The Herald Tribune

Published: Monday, February 1, 2016 at 1:00 a.m.

As students immerse themselves in the second semester of this academic year, it is a good time to recognize that a quality education is essential to getting a good job, and that education and training are becoming the new “economic development currency.” The students of our greater Sarasota community no longer compete just with students from other states, they are competing with students from other countries. While the Sarasota County School District is one of the very best in Florida, we need all hands on deck to ensure that students can compete globally and can succeed on a positive career path locally.

A quality education now usually means additional steps after high school — college and/or focused training programs. In late 2015, our region’s Talent4Tomorrow coalition examined the barriers to post-secondary education and training. Not surprisingly, being unable to afford college or technical and specialized training programs was frequently identified as an obstacle.

In response, a collaborative effort is being made to help more of our young people advance beyond high school. The Local College Access Network is composed of representatives from more than 30 organizations that came together to increase educational attainment and workforce preparedness on the Suncoast. Because these goals are priorities of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, our organization has been happy to coordinate the efforts of LCAN — with key support from partners, including the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

One of LCAN’s key projects is increasing the number of students and families who complete the most important financial assistance application.

Known as FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the only way to apply for federal student aid. Many states and colleges also use information from FAFSA to provide their own student aid. The FAFSA is currently available for the upcoming school year. It is best to fill it out as early as possible because some aid is first come, first served.

When individuals or families complete the FAFSA, they provide personal and tax information. If you’ve filed your taxes already, you may be able to automatically retrieve the information from the IRS. If you haven’t, just estimate your tax information and update it later.

The following facts confirm the importance of FAFSA completion:

Research we requested from the Florida College Access Network indicated that Sarasota County was “leaving $2.1 million of this free financial aid on the table.”

For every 10 percent a school increases its FAFSA completion rate, its college-going rate increases 3 percent.

Florida ranks 35th in FAFSA completion, but is the fifth highest state in eligibility for federal Pell Grants, which are based largely on financial need.

Students who complete the FAFSA in January through March receive twice as much state/institutional funding as students who complete the FAFSA later.

If 5 percent more Florida students were to complete the FAFSA this year, it would equal an additional $8 million in Pell dollars awarded.

Students and their families can get information about, and assistance with, FAFSA several ways:

Go to: www.fafsa.ed.gov

Visit the United Way Financial Empowerment Expo between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 6, at North Sarasota Library.

Attend special events where trained volunteers will help you complete the application: Feb. 11, 2 to 8 p.m. in the North Port High School cafeteria; and Feb. 21, 1 to 4 p.m. at Sarasota High School, Building 13, Room 101; and the Sarasota YMCA’s FAFSA Day at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Feb. 27, 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Call 211 (the community Helpline); Star Conti, Sarasota High School: 941-955-0181; Kristen McMahon, Riverview High School: 941-923-1484; Rose Beach, North Port High School: 941-423-8558 or your student’s school counselor.

The incredible community collaboration that is increasing awareness of, and access to, the form and assistance in its completion has been fantastic. Just a few examples are that United Way has added FAFSA support to its successful tax assistance program (known as VITA). Financial Aid representatives from State College of Florida, University of South Florida—Sarasota/Manatee, and Ringling College, along with representatives from the Education Foundation, Unidos Now, the Chamber’s Young Professionals Group, and other groups are volunteering. The district is dedicating additional guidance counselor support; community organizations like Take Stock in Children and ALSO Youth have helped to plan and organize the events. Plus, the Sarasota Film Festival sponsored a video contest that tapped student creativity in getting out the FAFSA message.

Please help the new Local College Access Network increase understanding of FAFSA’s importance and awareness of the types of assistance available to help families apply. More students getting these aid dollars will help them, our employers, and the total community.

Steve Queior is president of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; the Chamber has made improving educational outcomes and workforce preparedness one of its top strategic goals.

New Executive Director to Lead UnidosNow

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Sarasota/Manatee, FL – UnidosNow, a Bi-County organization that provides education programs and promotes civic integration for Latinos in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, welcomes Luz Corcuera as its new Executive Director.

“We are so pleased to bring Luz on board, given her exemplary abilities to bring people together and her extensive experience in community-building and engagement. With a long history, locally, of developing and implementing diverse community-based programs, Luz has a stellar reputation across both counties, where she has developed strong relationships with private, public, faith-based, and civic organizations. With her leadership, UnidosNow will continue to grow in its ability to empower Latinos to achieve their American dream.”

Ms. Corcuera has worked in the mental health, maternal-child health, and community health arenas over last two decades, most recently with the Healthy Start program and a local health department, leading prevention and education community-based initiatives, including a community needs assessment and community health improvement taskforce. “I am passionate about working with diverse communities, promoting education, health, and cultural competency”, said Ms. Corcuera. “I’m honored to have this opportunity to combine my passion and my experience, and to lead Unidos in fulfilling its goal to educate, elevate, and integrate our Latino community. We face some challenges to closing the education achievement gap, reversing negative health trends, and empowering people to civic integration. I will like to ensure we are the trusted link with the community,” she added.

As the organization welcomes Ms. Corcuera, it also thanks Hector Tejeda for his service, as UnidosNow’s immediate past Executive Director. “UnidosNow has been transformed thanks to Hector’s leadership and contributions over the last two years,” said Mr. Kirschner. Fortunately, Mr. Tejeda will continue to serve in an advisory capacity. “Hector fostered an environment that gave UnidosNow students an Ivy League, best of class experience in preparing them for college,” Mr. Kirschner added.

UnidosNow was founded in 2010 to represent the integration needs of the region’s fastest-growing and most under-represented demographic. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit, its goal is to elevate the quality of life of the Hispanic/Latino community through education and, in doing so, elevate the quality of life of the entire community.

Sarasota High School Workshop

Parents and students from Sarasota High School’s FLA Program participated in a workshop. They learned what the factors are that colleges consider in the admission process. Additionally, parents and students suggested wonderful ideas for UnidosNow fund-raising projects to help finance college entrance education activities.

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Palmetto Career Panel

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On January 12 UnidosNow hosted a Career Panel at Palmetto High where students were inspired to dream big and learn about how to overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams.

Thank you for Dr. Fitch (radiation oncologist), Ms. Guillermina Vega (accountant), Ms. Rachel Maquinas (Nurse Practitioner), and Mr. Hector Tejeda (Pharmaceutical executive and previous Executive Director of UnidosNow) for sharing your struggles, dreams, and words of advice and wisdom.

The students were extremely touched. The session ended with table discussion on ranking the importance of job satisfaction verses pay and other issues low incomes students may face in making career choices.

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#GivingTuesday College Wish List

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Tax-deductible student sponsorship available!

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of this international giving day and our College Prep Sponsorship! We have a day to give thanks, two for getting deals, and now it’s time for the #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.

Today, December 1st, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

During the #GivingTuesday you can help us create a college prep library in our schools. This is what we need:

  • 50 ACT Prep books
  • 25 Fiske Guide books
  • 2 laptops
  • 25 tablets
  • A large television screen notebooks
  • And binders

It costs $1,200 per student. Sponsor a scholar today! Or sponsor our College Tour for $600.

You can email Catalina at catalina@unidosnow.org if you are interested in this tax deductible opportunity to help more students, and to learn more.

All this is tax deductible! Get a write off today!

Luis Eduardo Barón, First Board Member Emeritus

Foto LEBTogether with his family and coworkers, Luis Eduardo Barón has built the solid foundations of a Spanish-language media empire in less than fifteen years in Southwest Florida.

TVNet Media Group publishes the monthly magazine La Guía del Golfo (Sarasota, Manatee, Lee and Collier), La Guía de Tampa (Hillsborough and Pinellas), and La Guía de Orlando, and the first weekly Spanish newspaper for Sarasota-Manatee, 7DÍAS. With franchises in Miami-Ft.Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Toronto and Bogotá (Colombia), their circulation has reached over a 100,000 monthly copies.

Now, Luis Eduardo Barón becomes our first Board Member Emeritus. A Board Member Emeritus is nominated and elected by the Board of Directors. Board Members Emeritus shall be selected from those board members who have served on the Board of Directors with distinction and excellence.

Emeritus members shall serve three year renewable terms for as long as they remain active in the work of UnidosNow, and may end their term at any time. Emeritus member candidates will have served the board with distinction and considered deserving of same for outstanding service.

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.