Friday, March 4, 2011

Education is the Key & Univision’s Es El Momento Campaign

I can’t remember a time during my childhood that I ever disliked attending school. I loved the atmosphere. The sense of community. I was a curious child and my needs were nourished being in school and learning every day. I was heavily involved in school activities and vividly remember a talent show in which I participated in. I practiced Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All for weeks before the talent show. I remember my older sisters helping me make sure I breathed correctly and sung the notes until the end. I remember standing on stage in my school auditorium surrounded by friends and teachers, and of course my mom right on the side of the stage singing along with me.

I gave birth to my daughter after I had already completed a year of college. After I had her I didn’t have any immediate plans on going back to school, but it was always in the back of my head. When I began job searching when my daughter was 6 months old I quickly learned that I would never make the type of money to live a comfortable life without education myself and obtaining a degree. I was still passionate about school, so I eagerly enrolled in local college and changed majors to something that was more in tune with my passions.

I’ve always been pretty insatiable about learning. I always crave more. This instability caused me to transfer two years ago to one of the area’s top universities in my area to finish out my studies. Now as a senior, I am eagerly anticipating graduating this September, and am looking back at all my hard work and sacrifice knowing that I have gained so much from choosing to pursue a college education.

There were many times in the past and even now when I want to give up. I’m a single mom, I work full time, and I’m a fulltime student. I often think maybe a college degree won’t mean anything, that it’s a waste of time. Then I look at my daughter, and I remember that I’m not just doing this for me. I’m doing this for my daughter and both of our futures. I don’t want to just be part of this world. I want to make change; I want to help enact change. I want to make a life advocating for those that that are overlooked, invisible, and too often forgotten. I cannot do so without education myself and getting real life experience. This is what has pushed me when I have felt like giving up. Just 6 months away from my graduation, I am an overloaded with a lust for life and learning and excited about all that I will be able to do with all that I have learned when I graduate. 

Being part of the LATISM community[half Colombian], I was so thrilled to hear about the Univision’s Es El Momento [The Moment is Now] campaign that launched in early 2010. It’s a comprehensive, multi-year national education initiative in partnership with the ill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, educators and civic and community leaders from around the world. The Es El Momento initiative is aimed at improving academic achievement among K-12 Hispanic students with a specific focus on high school graduation and college readiness.

According to research, the high school graduation rate for Hispanic students is 55% compared to 69% for their non-Hispanic peers. In addition, only 34% of young people graduated high school ready to succeed in a four-year college and that number drops to 20% for Hispanic young people. Hispanic parents face two key barriers: access and awareness of the academic preparation/requirements needed for college and financial preparation.

Es El Momentum is a crucial resource necessary to ensure that Hispanic youth are equipped with all the necessary tools to succeed and reach their dreams and goals. The statistics are disappointing, but wonderful programs like Es El Momentum are supporting our minority youth and setting up the necessary bridges to ensure that regardless of your circumstances our youth can and will achieve.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of LATISM. All opinions, ideas and thoughts are my own.