An LNESC Quarterly Publication providing new and exciting information about LNESC programs and services.
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The LatinEd Connection

Fall 2020 Edition

Dear students, families, and friends,

Happy Autumn! As the season is changing and the fall weather is settling in, we’re observing familiar cues of autumn, as the leaves are turning an assortment of colors, the days are getting shorter, and cooler temperatures begin to settle in.

While districts are making every effort to accommodate students returning to school, there will be a lot of unfamiliarity with approaches to in-person, hybrid and virtual education/distance learning models. There will be frustration, anxiety and some confusion, as students are attempting to adjust to new health and safety policies that may, at first, seem cumbersome, and difficult to follow. Let us be vigilant in observing and enforcing these measures, as the stakes are too high, as the health crisis continues to impact our daily lives. Whether you’re taking virtual classes or attending in-person instruction, follow safety measures and stay healthy!

With this is mind, LNESC will continue to share our successes and provide positive messages of perseverance and resilience during these difficult times, as described by the work of our local centers, and the shining stars within our field staff and student alumni. We have much to celebrate in the distribution of thousands of dollars in scholarship awards (Check out our Que Pasa section), as well as presenting the Washington Youth Leadership Seminar as a virtual event, an LNESC first.

Every community has their stories of facing overwhelming odds and overcoming adversity. Let us share our stories with one another and remember that we are all in this together. Do you have a student or community success story to share? Send in your stories and we may feature it in an upcoming issue.

**Wash your hands** **Maintain social distance** **Wear a mask**

Have a great fall season!

The LNESC Team

Que Pasa: Updates and Happenings at LNESC

Virtual Washington Youth Leadership Seminar

The LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC), hosted the 23rd Annual Washington Youth Leadership Seminar (WYLS) from September 24-26, 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was held on a virtual platform.

The Washington Youth Leadership Seminar offers a truly unique opportunity for students to voice their opinions directly to national leaders and policymakers. It challenges participating youth to focus on their own leadership development and encourages participants to apply these lessons back in their communities. This year's theme focused on Education Policy Solutions in Response to COVID-19. Fifty-two high school junior and seniors from across the country joined us virtually from their homes to participate in various workshops focused on professional development, advocacy, leadership, and policy analysis.

WYLS participants represented the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The Washington Youth Leadership Seminar was presented by Nissan North America and sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, McDonald’s, ExxonMobil, and Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo.

NBCUniversal/LNESC Scholarship

LNESC is proud to announce the 2020-2021 NBCUniversal/LNESC Scholarship recipients! This year’s recipients include Andrew Acosta, University of Texas at Austin; Audrey Anaya, St. Olaf University; Michael Hernandez, University of Maryland; Micaela Leon Perdomo, Emerson College; Edson Leyva-Bruno; University of Southern California; Julio Martinez, the University of Southern California; Marco Peralta, Arizona State University; Leslie Ramirez; DePaul University; Zahra Sajwani, Northern Illinois University; and Luisa Suarez, Temple University.

The program awards ten (10) $5,000 national scholarships to qualified rising sophomores and juniors with an interest in the media and entertainment industry. For more information on this year’s cohort, please click here.

ExxonMobil Engineering Scholarship

LNESC is pleased to announce the 2020 ExxonMobil Engineering Scholarship program national recipient, Gisselle Washington of San Antonio, Texas, and 12 local awardees from across LNESC’s program sites. Ms.Washington will receive a four-year $20,000 scholarship to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University.

Funded by the ExxonMobil Foundation, the program provides high-achieving Latino high school seniors with scholarship opportunities to pursue a degree in engineering at accredited colleges or universities across the country. For a complete list of recipients, please click here.

Mark your Calendars for #GivingTuesday!

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.

LNESC will be joining the movement through an outreach campaign to draw support for the education programs and leadership initiatives we provide through our local service centers.

Together we can continue making an impact on the Latino/a community. Please consider contributing any amount to LNESC. Your support would be most appreciated!

LNESC in the Field: Connecting Community to Education

LNESC Kansas City

LNESC Kansas City works diligently to close the educational and social interaction gap between students and staff with creative new ways of interacting with our program participants.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, LNESC Kansas City has focused not only on the providing educational services virtually to its students, but to also ensure the safety of their students and staff during this challenging time. They increased their efforts in distributing personal protection equipment and provided the additional services needed.

The center also offered food and access to the Wi-fi hotspots to program participants. They leveraged their social media channels to share locations of food pantries and other institutions to assist with financial struggles that participants and their families were dealing with during the pandemic.

The center always has snacks, laptops, and Wi-Fi hotspots available in the office, and will do so as long as the pandemic lasts. The new practices are shaped around the participants and the new struggles that they are navigating. Partner schools are planning on utilizing virtual learning without an in-school option for learning until at least January 2021.

The elimination of in-person interaction due to the pandemic led to a revamp of the LNESC Kansas City recruitment strategy. They are using a multi-faceted approach which includes social media, relationships with administration, teachers and counselors at target schools, and canvassing places in the community. The canvassing efforts involve reaching out to places like local markets, community centers, and restaurants and other places to share the word about programs. LNESC Kansas City has worked diligently and intelligently to navigate through the pandemic and will continue to serve their community and the students and families that rely on them for educational services.

For more information, visit the LNESC Kansas City national webpage or the local website.

LNESC San Diego

Due to COVID-19, LNESC San Diego Center has continued to provide their tutoring services, workshops and university tours with admissions presentations through Zoom. In addition, they have held drive-thru services for students, providing them with snacks, backpacks, and school supplies. Furthermore, Program Coordinator, Jasmine Varela continues to conduct individual appointments via phone and through Zoom. They also hold workshops for seniors once a week to assist them with their college applications, financial aid, scholarship search, and college essays.

“Upward bound has truly helped me succeed in the past couple of years that I have been in the program. The helpful tutoring has helped me maintain good grades in my classes and understand the material given. The college tours and workshops have allowed me to find colleges and opportunities that I had not thought of previously. The workshops have taught me very important skills such as good studying habits and how to write a professional email.”

- Alexandra Reyes, Upward Bound Student

Lideres in Action: Rising Stars of LNESC

Introducing two amazing Academic Advisors that have an impact at LNESC Albuquerque! Both Lideres experienced our programs first-hand as students and saw how valuable they are. Now as young professionals, they are passionate about helping students and furthering LNESC’s mission of providing educational and leadership opportunities to create lifelong learners and leaders within the Hispanic community.

As a low-income and first-generation student, Adriana Borjes knew first-hand the challenges that can present themselves when one does not have adequate resources to succeed academically. Before Upward Bound, her grades suffered tremendously and her chances of getting into college were very low. She considered herself as someone who was not academically driven. However, with the help of mentors, she began to explore her options and develop a true understanding and passion for school throughout her four years in the Upward Bound Program.

“Upward Bound did everything it could for me as a student in high school until graduation. My mentors Jesus Villarreal and John Moya helped make it happen. They have enabled me, coached me and gave me the confidence to pursue my academic and career goals. I signed up for Upward Bound hoping to improve my grades in high school, but I left with vastly more. I left with a sense of purpose. I left knowing I had a support system after high school. Fast forward five years later and I’m right where I’ve always wanted to be, helping my students like Upward Bound helped me.”

Working with youth in education always interested Cristian Sanchez. During his time in college he had the unique opportunity as a work-study student to tutor and mentor students from 3rd grade to college freshmen. It was this experience that led him to decide to pursue a career in this field. He knew first-hand how much programs like these make a difference.

“When I was in high school, Upward Bound really helped me improve my grades so that I could go to college, and when I learned that LNESC Albuquerque was looking for an Academic Advisor, I knew I had to apply, two years later I'm still here and loving it!”

Academic Advisors Adriana Borjes and Cristian Sanchez with Executive Assistant Jessica Gomez , LNESC Youth Leadership Banquet 2019

College Cues: Tips for Student Readiness

Tips for Students Finalizing Their
College Applications

As early decision college applications are slowly approaching their deadline, students nationwide are currently rushing to get all their materials ready to click that submit button. It is always good to double check and make sure everything is complete and error-free so your application will shine bright for admission officers. In that case, we would like to share some quick tips on how to ensure that your applications are strong and ready to go! These include:

Confirming Your Recommendations
Be sure to double check with your recommenders to confirm that recommendations have been submitted or are on their way. Touching base a few weeks in advance ensures that you won’t get a last-minute rushed letter of recommendation.

Check for Inconsistencies
There are a lot of tiny details that you’ll be going over as you fill out college applications. Many of them may not seem very important on their own but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be important to someone reviewing your application. Attention to detail is key. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to double-check all the details of your application and be certain that everything is accurate before you submit it.

Saving a Copy of Everything
Make a copy of each piece of each application. Save personal identification numbers, passwords, canceled checks and notes or emails from admission officers. This documentation can save you if a problem arises.

For more tips on completing your college applications, please click here.

Parent Forum: Strategies for Student Success

Tips for helping your student submit the Free Application For Federal Aid (FAFSA)

As students are completing their application and making sure they have everything set, parents shouldn’t feel completely left out of the process and there are various ways that they can assist. The key is to ask the student what they may need and how you can contribute their time, whether that be with advice on filling out the FAFSA to a simple encouragement. Some tips include:

Letting Your Child Lead the Process
When it comes to choosing a college, it can become very complex and not easy for students to do it without some guidance. Allow your student to take the lead, but encourage them to turn to their parents, families, and counselors for direction --- and adults should be ready to assist in whatever they can.

FAFSA Assistance
A few pointers that can help when filling out the FAFSA vary from knowing to obtain the Federal school code from the school or schools you are interested in attending, double checking figures and calculations, and to not report the net value of your primary residence since asset questions are only for secondary and investment properties. Alongside, on the Federal Student Aid website (where the FAFSA application can be found), they have provided a page where parents of the students applying can learn more about the types of financial aid, completing a Master Promissory Note (MPN), etc. in both Spanish and English.

For more tips on parents being involved in the college application process and completing the FAFSA, please be sure to check out Kenyon College 10 Tips for Guidng Students through the Application Process and Tips for completing the FAFSA.


The LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit agency whose mission is to provide the highest quality educational opportunities needed for the development of life-long learners and leaders.

As LULAC's education arm, since 1973 LNESC has provided direct educational services to under-served communities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, serving more than 14,000 students each year. Our educational programs break down the barriers that exist between high-need students and high school diplomas, college degrees, and jobs in highly skilled fields.

Through its network of community-based education centers, LNESC provides educational counseling, scholarships, mentorship, leadership development, literacy, and technology programs.

For more information go to