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CHCI’s Ready to Lead reaches out to nearly 200 students at UC Merced

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CHCI’s Ready to Lead Reaches Nearly 200 High School Students in Merced, CA

Participants representing California’s central valley hailed from ten local high schools to attend the November 17, 2012 Ready to Lead event at the University of California, Merced. Nearly 200 eager students joined CHCI and received training on college admissions, mentorship and encouragement in order to successfully graduate from high school and obtain a postsecondary education.

Dr. Juan Meza, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced, started the day by encouraging students and welcoming them to campus. Students also heard from CHCI Board Member Silvia Aldana from PG&E, a Central Valley native and support of the R2L program, who shared her efforts to bring more programs like R2L to the Central Valley. She introduced Alexandria Baker, who shared information about different educational and career opportunities provided by PG&E. The highlight of the morning was a special visit from Congressman Jim Costa, who shared his personal journey to leadership and the importance of pursuing education beyond high school.

Students received in-depth training in three key areas necessary for college preparation: College Planning, Financial Planning, and Leadership Development. Presenters included Verenice Andrade, CHCI alumna and Research Assistant at the Harder and Company Community Research organization, who reframed leadership in action as the student’s contribution to their community. During her presentation CHCI’s 2012 High School Latino Leaders in DC alumni, Leo Gonzalez, Daniela Ceja and Pedro Gomez shared their experience in the program and encouraged students to consider applying in 2013. Presenters Alejandro Delgadillo, Associate Director of Admissions, and Encarnacion (Chon) Ruiz, Director of Admissions and Outreach of the University of California, Merced, demystified the college preparation process for students and answered their questions regarding the University of California entrance requirements. The Financial Literacy sessions were presented by Amy Ferraz of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, who provided students valuable information about creating a budget and preparing financially for the future. The highlight of the day for many participants was the Mentoring Power. Susan Sutherland, Senior Vice President and Director, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, kicked off the session with remarks about the value of mentorship. She was joined by nearly 30 mentors from the across the Central Valley, representing diverse fields and organizations including: Pacific Gas and Electric, State Farm, Synopsys, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the USDA, the California Endowment, Central Valley Opportunity Center, Encourage Tomorrow, and UC Merced students and staff. During this activity, mentors shared their personal success stories and insights about their path to college and career success. Said one student, “Speaking to mentors from my community gave me hope, and I know that I can be successful too!” The access that they received to distinguished professionals during the Mentoring Power Hour will be paramount to their success.

The event ended with a powerful and moving address by Raul Magdaleno, CHCI alumnus and motivational speaker. In its second year, CHCI is proud to have offered yet another successful R2L event at the University of California, Merced and hopes to continue to educate, motivate, and empower Latino youth in the area.

For more information on Ready to Lead, please visit: www.chci.org/ready_to_lead