Blog | Page 3 of 13 | UnidosNow

FAFSA Workshop at Southeast High

Southeast High School hosted financial aid workshops* for their senior students. UnidosNow, together with  volunteers from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida, and Keiser University, assisted students in filling out the their FAFSA, which will help  them receive resources to attend post-secondary school and college. Our Future Leaders Academy scholars were at the sign in table welcoming the families.



*Manatee Community Foundation​ and United Way of Manatee County​ support the initiatives in Manatee County through the Manatee Matches Giving Circle.

McIntosh Middle Program – An Update

Education Initiative Manager, Wendy Barroso, and Executive Director, Luz Corcuera, met with parents at McIntosh Middle School to promote a program, supported by the United Way Suncoast, with middle to top performers in 7th and 8th grade, providing them with the tools they need to think about going to college as they transition to high school.

Several parents enrolled in the program, after hearing the successful stories of current Future Leaders Academy scholars and parents, such as Anthony, who said, “Their help navigating through an unknown system and helping me successfully get into the college of my choice has been invaluable”.


Juan Arcila Joins UnidosNow Board

Since July 2016, Juan Arcila, Admissions Counselor at USF Sarasota-Manatee, has been involved with UnidosNow and the Future Leaders Academy. He is helping us with this year’s Future Leaders Summer Academy, and he was also instrumental during last year’s Giving Challenge and engaging the millennials involvement in our fundraising efforts.

Juan holds a BA in Public Health and is now pursuing his Master’s Degree in Education. He is the perfect example of UnidosNow core mission: a first-generation Latino in the United States who comes from a low-income family and is the first one in his family to go to college.

His passion and dedication to our organization and scholars is palpable in everything he has done with and for UnidosNow, and it hasn’t been unnoticed by our leadership. Kelly Kirschner, Board Chair of UnidosNow, invited Juan Arcila to join our Board of Directors last February. We now have  the benefit of his knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. Welcome to the team, Juan!

Gecko’s Creates a Scholarship for our Scholars

Gecko’s Hospitality Group Family of Restaurants presented a check to UnidosNow to award scholarships to four of our very deserving scholars. The owners, Mike Quillen and Mike Gowan, have established these scholarships in honor of the loyal and dedicated families that support their children to pursue higher education.

Gecko’s has been a steady supporter of UnidosNow and it is one of the first businesses that has made onsite English-Life Skills classes available for their workers and their families.

We value and appreciate their partnership and commitment to our community.

College Prep Programs Expand

UnidosNow piloted  our high school program at Sarasota High and Palmetto High during the 2015-2016 academic year. This academic year the program has expanded to several other high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Two of our recent launches have been at Riverview High* and North Port High*.

Working closely with Riverview High faculty and staff, as well as other non-profit partners, our goal is to assist low-income students who aspire to continue their education after high school.  Our first two initiatives included a FAFSA workshop to assist families in filing for federal financial aid and a scholarship workshop conducted in conjunction with the Selby Foundation.

Riverview High SchoolRiverview High School
In the background, Alix Giannini (Director of Counseling Services at Riverview) and Deb Piner (College and Career Advisor); in the forefront, community partners from Keiser University and the Sarasota County Government Human Services Program.Wendy Barroso (UnidosNow) assisting a student and his Spanish-speaking father fill out the FAFSA application.
Riverview High SchoolRiverview High School
Evan Jones (Selby Foundation), Hector Tejeda (UnidosNow) and Deb Piner (College and Career Advisor, Riverview High).Evan Jones (Selby Foundation) giving overview of how to apply for local scholarships.

We are supporting North Port High with their FAFSA application process thanks to the support of Tervis, and starting in March, we will also  begin working at North Port High , identifying and supporting high-performing Latino students who have the potential to gain admission to competitive colleges. We will also provide support to the school’s college and career advisor, as well as guidance counselors, in serving the broader Latino student population to make informed plans for their future.

UnidosNow will also develop and deliver age-appropriate college prep workshops, starting with middle schoolers transitioning to North Port High.  These sessions will include working with parents to help them better understand how to  support their children’s education, including how to get more involved with the school.

*The Riverview High School program is supported by the United Way Suncoast. The North Port High School program is supported by Tervis.

Choosing a Career Based on your Passion

On Wednesday, February 15th, the UnidosNow Club at Palmetto High School hosted a meeting focused on how to choose a career. Juan Arcila, Admissions Counselor at USF Sarasota-Manatee, engaged the students with a dynamic presentation, encouraging them to look for a career in a field they are passionate about. Dr. Giti Javidi, Assistant Professor of Information Technology at USF Sarasota-Manatee, shared her love of information technology, and did a fabulous job talking about the benefits of choosing a career in the areas of engineering/information technology.

The meeting wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Jorge Serrano and the officers of the UnidosNow Club, who motivated their peers to be a part of this event. Also, Mr. Fernandes and Mr. Vasquez, teachers at Palmetto High, were key to the success of this event.

Executive Director, Luz Corcuera, stated after the meeting how appreciative UnidosNow is of all these community partners: “We are grateful for your leadership and partnership as we work together to empower our young Latino students. It is a privilege to work with all of you.”

Sarasota County, Highest FAFSA Completion Rate

 

We have two significant FAFSA-related accomplishments to celebrate, thanks to the extraordinary work of our Manatee and Sarasota LCANs* and FAFSA labs that have been hosted at high schools in both counties. Sarasota County is now leading the Florida FAFSA Challenge, with the highest application completion rate: 1,204 out of 3,029 12th graders. Also, Manatee County is now ranked in the Top 10 Most Improved School Districts, achieving a 5.7% increase from last year’s FAFSA completion rate.

Another reason to celebrate is the fact that Pine View School (Osprey) holds third place for the highest FAFSA completion rate among all high schools in the state (210 12th graders out of 283). In addition, Riverview High School is ranking first in the “Biggest Boost” category, which means that it has obtained the largest week-to-week change in percentage of students completing FAFSA.

In general, both Sarasota and Manatee counties are seeing the numbers increase. All throughout April, LCAN will be hosting FAFSA labs to continue helping students and families get the resources they need to #DreamBig and #ReachHigh.

*LCAN partners in Sarasota comprise: United Way SuncoastGreater Sarasota Chamber of CommerceGulf Coast Community FoundationCareerEdge, and the Sarasota Education Foundation. LCAN partners in Manatee comprise: Manatee Community FoundationUnited Way of ManateeThe School District of Manateethe Manatee Chamber of CommerceUSF Sarasota-ManateeManatee Technical CollegeTake Stock in Children of Manatee County, and CareerEdge.

Leslye Trujillo, Volunteer of the Month

Photography by Karen Arango, karenarango.com

Leslye Trujillo is one of our Future Leaders Academy scholars. She is the oldest of three siblings and a senior at Manatee High School. She will graduate with her Associate’s in Art by the time she graduates high school. Leslye has already received four college acceptances from the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, University of South Florida – St. Pete, and Florida Southern College. She will be the first one in her family to go to college, and her dream is to become a physician assistant.

Leslye is the president of the UnidosNow Club at Manatee High, where –among other activities- she’s been very active in spreading the word about FAFSA and helping during the labs – offered to seniors at various high schools in Manatee County.

Leslye is also one of our student ambassadors, accompanying Executive Director, Luz Corcuera, at presentations in the community and sharing her story of struggle and success. One of the latest invitations she has received is to the Manatee School Board to talk about her college dream. Leslye was also recently selected as a semifinalist for the Golden Herald Awards in the vocational category, a “program originated in 1978 by the Bradenton Herald to honor outstanding Manatee County high school seniors for noble service to their schools and community”.

Thank you for being on our team, Leslye. Keep on dreaming big!

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