Actor/Producer Wilmer Valderrama Urges Miami Area Youth to Strive Hard for Success

On Saturday, May 19, nearly 200 students gathered at the Miami Dade College North Campus for a star-studded day of inspiration and motivation as part of CHCI’s college readiness program, Ready to Lead.

CHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera started the day by welcoming students and encouraging them to take full advantage of the resources and special guests present. She introduced Dr. Jose Vicente, President of Miami Dade College North Campus, who welcomed students on behalf of the college and shared information about the different and unique programs the campus offers. Actor and director Tony Plana then took the stage to share his story and impart some humorous and helpful advice to students as they continue on their path to success.

The day’s workshops included a College Planning workshop presented by Miami Dade College North Campus staff.  Students were taught about the classes required for college admissions, instructed on how to fill out college admissions applications, and given tips for selecting a college.  Ready to Lead partner the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta presented the Financial Literacy workshop.  Students were introduced to topics including fiscal responsibility, how to open a bank account, balance a check book, fill out a financial aid application, and alternative sources of funding a college education.  CHCI alumni Enrique Soto and Jason Llorenz presented the Leadership Development workshop, citing the importance of mentorship and how it can help shape a youth’s future.

One of the highlights of the day was the Mentoring Power Hour.  Nearly 60 Latino leaders from the Miami community, representing partners and sponsors such as General Mill’s Qué Rica Vida, Popular Community Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, AT&T’s HACEMOS, State Farm, Bank of America, the Miami Dade College Student Government Association, and the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, participated in the activity. The hour-long session provided students with the opportunity to engage these professionals and ask specific questions to help guide their own personal educational attainment and career paths.

But the day wasn’t finished there! Students were visited by two more special guests. After lunch, singer and producer Maffio addressed the students during a special session where he talked about the determination required to make your dreams a reality.

The day closed with actor and R2L spokesperson Wilmer Valderrama sharing his story of hard work and perseverance. He spoke about always striving to do your best in order to be successful, and helped sponsor General Mills give away prizes to a few lucky winners. His inspirational remarks made sure every student left the program Ready to Lead!

Ready to Lead will be on hiatus until our September Hispanic Heritage Month events, which will take place as part of CHCI’s Public Policy Conference on September 11 and 12, 2012. 

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In the meantime, CHCI is very excited to welcome the second class of the High School Latino Leaders in D.C. to Washington, D.C. Forty Latino high school students will spend July 22-27 learning about the Federal government, civic engagement, and historical sites.