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Thank you to the
R2L Next Gen
Program Sponsors

Founding Sponsor

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Official Airline Sponsor of the 2013 Leadership Development Programs

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Official Wardrobe Sponsor of the 2013 R2L Next Gen Program

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California Regional Fund

The California Endowment

Castellano Family Foundation

TROUP

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Camden Regional Fund

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Chicago Regional Fund

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Dallas Regional Fund

Moses Mercado Family Foundation

Hispanic 100

Minerva Rodriguez

Orlando Montan

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New York Regional Fund

CHCI Alumni Association - New York Chapter

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San Antonio Regional Fund

IBC Bank

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Washington, D.C. Regional Fund

CHCI Fall 2012 Congressional Interns

CHCI Employee's 2012 Annual Giving Campaign

CHCI 2011-2012 Fellows


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CHCI's Inaugural High School Latino Leaders in D.C. Program Participants

Twenty ambitious high school students traveled to Washington, D.C. from Miami, New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas to participate in CHCI's Inaugural High School Latino Leaders in D.C. Program held July 10-15. The youth selected attended one of CHCI's Ready to Lead (R2L) college readiness programs during the 2010-11 academic year. All of the students came from low-income families and represented the diverse range of students who participate in the R2L program each year.

In partnership with the Close Up Foundation and State Farm Insurance, CHCI brought the students to D.C. to learn about how the Federal Government works, the importance of being civically engaged, and how they can affect positive change in their communities.

Each one of these high school students had a unique experience. Read the lasting impressions each one had from this life-changing week.

Michael Alvarez Fiorella Garcia Vanessa Hernandez Veronica Morales
Luis Calderon Guadalupe Garza Kathya Marte Maria Paez
Nayadis Couce Anacaren Gonzalez Noe Medrano Jesus Palma
Orlando Duran Mercedes Gonzalez Matthew Mercado Michael Reyes
Stephany Feijoo VictorRene Gonzalez Jeniva Morales  Julian Rodriguez


Michael Alvarez
Montebello, CA

I cannot believe how much I've changed this week—not just the way I am, but how I think about opportunities young Latinos like myself absolutely need to take advantage of. Back in California, I don't even like to be known as mostly Mexican. I never learned Spanish because it felt embarrassing to me. Now, I feel like I need to come back to Washington and one day become part of my government. I am so thankful to CHCI for giving me the chance to come here and be introduced to a whole new lifestyle that really interests me. It will have an impact on me forever.

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Luis Calderon
Miami, FL

This trip was the best one, not only on pleasure, but also on getting knowledge about Washington, D.C. This trip educated our group about government issues, members of Congress, and all those exciting things that before I didn't know. Now, I feel so powerful with knowledge and I want to let everybody in community know about how this government works. Tell my Latino people that they do listen to us and they really want to help us, but that we need to raise our voice and vote for the person that we think will make a change for our Latino and American community. Lastly, I'm so grateful for CHCI, Close-Up, State Farm, and all those companies that gave us the opportunity to come here and learn more about this country that is giving us a lot. In the future, we will help this wonderful country.

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Nayadis Couce
Miami, FL

CHCI's six day experience in Washington D.C. has changed my views on the role of Latinos in our communities. This program has opened my eyes to the real world that, as young Hispanics, we have the power to write letters and make our voices heard. "What matters is who you know" is an amazing quote I learned here. I want to give a special thanks to this program and State Farm for allowing young Hispanics to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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Orlando Duran
Phoenix, AZ

My friends usually consist of people who only know the surface of what we have seen and heard in this ocean of politics. They are very close-minded to the possibilities of helping out in just basic civil engagement. After this experience, I would explain to them that it is "nothing that you imagine it to be" because this isn't what the media wants you to see in politics. Often you don't see that there are actual opportunities for the Latino community. We already have the opportunities because anyone that is a Latino is affected by our government. This experience has changed my perspective on government and politics and will eliminate any and all of the stereotypes that have ever been placed in the growing minds of the youth of today.

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Stephany Feijoo
Miami, FL

One of the biggest things I've changed this week has been my opinion toward politics. Before coming here, I ignored and criticized politicians for the simple fact that I thought they didn't care about us. But after this great experience, I know my opinion is important and we are responsible for making our voices be heard.

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Fiorella Garcia
Dallas, TX

CHCI's High School Latino Leaders in D.C. program provides an amazing opportunity to Latino high school students all over the nation. This program has opened my eyes to the many ways I can better the Latino community by becoming civically engaged and assisting others in gaining access to the many opportunities that are available. After this program, I plan on strengthening the Latino community's presence in politics by pursuing a degree in politics myself, and one day returning to Capitol Hill as a professional.

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Guadalupe Garza
Dallas, TX

This week has been tremendously wonderful! I had so many great aspects to it that I, myself, had a difficult time choosing one thing. Meeting and seeing representatives and senators in persons made my week—especially Rep. Joe Baca. He was really relaxed and completely changed my thoughts. I've always wanted to be a representative or senator later on in my life, so that I can make a difference in my communities. I realized that politicians do care, and this makes me want the life that I lived in the past week, full of excitement and new adventures, each and every day. I didn't want to believe that politicians do nothing all day...now that I know better. I'm really excited to get through college so I can being my D.C. life! I'm now considering applying to Georgetown University instead of SMU. This amazing week has truly opened up my eyes. The scenery, people, life, events, everything here is what inspires me to want to get away from Dallas and move to the D.C. area. It's the fun life that I look forward living for the rest of my life.

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Anacaren Gonzalez
Pacoima, CA

Becoming part of CHCI's first class of high school students in D.C. has been an amazing experience! I got the chance to get to know 19 other people from five different states and tour Washington, D.C. We also experienced talking to our state representatives and asking them questions related to some of our issues. I have grown as a person and have become engaged into making a change in my community. From this experience I also have gained a new family who made new memories that I will not forget will always keep with me. Thanks to CHCI, I have had the best week—not only fun, but also educational. I learned about politics and some of our history within politics. I hope more students experience such an amazing week and enjoy it as much as I did.

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Mercedes Gonzalez
Maricopa, AZ

This has been an amazing experience to meet new people who have things in common with me. I will never forget them because we became a family.

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VictorRene Gonzalez
Maricopa, AZ

One way I have changed this week is how my views on politics and our country's status have changed. I used to think that no one listened to our opinions and they just followed their own ideas. The major thing I have learned this week is that it is not "we the people divided," it is "we the people united."

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Vanessa Hernandez
Los Angeles, CA

"Not only am I young, but I have learned what I need to have enough power to change the world." The change that has occurred within me this week is my perspective of people in office. Not only are they working hard for their communities, but they are also struggling to get their points across. Our representatives care about issues within the communities and the overall success of these areas. I have learned how one person can become involved within my school, community, and city; the steps that people can take to get their voices heard; and finally how to communicate effectively to others.

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Kathya Marte
Bronx, NY

If a friend of mine was thinking about applying to the CHCI program, I would not hesitate to tell them "Yes! Go ahead." This is a great program because it will benefit you in many ways and teaches you lessons that will last a lifetime. I know that the next generation of Latino students that apply will be just as motivated and excited about leading the community.

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Noe Medrano
Phoenix, AZ

During this trip, I have opened my mind in a way that has helped me understand the importance of the Latino community in the United States. We are the largest minority, but that does not matter if we don't vote. We now consist of one out of every six people in the United States, but our rapidly growing population is not being heard. I have deliberated about this subject during the whole time I was in Washington D.C., only to realize that a change needs to be made. Every one of us matter and the little things we do impact our country in a big way. I have realized the United States is a Latino community.

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Matthew Mercado
Bronx, NY

My favorite part of the week is visiting Capitol Hill and talking to the member of Congress. The one way I've changed this week is my view of politics. So, now I'm thinking of being a member of Congress or a senator. Or, even the President of the United States.

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Jeniva Morales
Dallas, TX

The entire week was amazing. I have met the most amazing people here. Being a part of CHCI has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. If I had not applied myself to this program, I would have never learned nor experienced the history of the nation's capital. This program has brought great opportunities, like being able to meet students like myself from all over the country. I also had a chance to meet members of Congress, interns, mentors, and sponsors of CHCI. It was truly the most incredible experience. I can now take back home with me the most incredible memories I have made in D.C.

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Veronica Morales
Irving, TX

First, thank you for this great week. I have learned a lot of things that I didn't know before. My favorite part of this week was actually today's meeting at the CHCI office where we met all of the CHCI staff members and mentors. I think it was interesting to hear a little bit of their stories. They have really inspired me! I learned that "Si se puede!" Latinos voice is important in our government, and we have to raise our voice and get into our community.

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Maria Paez
Doral, FL

Having the opportunity to come to Washington and experience the capital from an entirely different perspective was not only educational, but also extremely inspiring. Thanks to CHCI, I can now consider myself an involved, opinionated person with a better understanding of how my government works. Most importantly, I think I now have the necessary interests to become an influential Hispanic in my community.

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Jesus Palma
Santa Monica, CA

CHCI's Ready to Lead program opened my eyes to politics. By attending this trip to Washington D.C., I made friends that live across the country who I will never forget. I will never forget the memories I made or CHCI.

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Michael Reyes
Miami, FL

The whole trip to Washington D.C. was phenomenal, but if I had to pick a favorite part, it would be talking to members of Congress and getting to know their humble beginnings. CHCI is awesome for giving us this opportunity. Before this trip, I was skeptical about politicians and believed they did not care about their constituents. Now I want to spread the ideas of the Hispanic community. I've reset my goals and want to do something to influence the government. This whole trip was life changing and a complete eye opener to how government only works under the influence of the people. Now I really want to go back home and enlighten people and make them become civically engaged and get Hispanics more representation in government. I want to make a change!

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Julian Rodriguez
Bronx, NY

This has been an experience like no other. My favorite part of the week in Washington D.C. was when we met the members of Congress and senators. After hearing them, they opened my eyes into a possible career and/or subject I will major in college. Before the trip, I didn't know what to do. Now I'm more sure and confident in my bright future. The complexity of this luxurious adventure made me ponder what my future might hold. I have to thank my mother and family for pushing me and driving me to do my best. They continuously tell me "you can do it, you're smart." Those little encouraging words have given me inspiration to make it in life. Visiting Washington was a blessing, which set me on the right path to a happy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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