La Promesa de un
year, NLCI selects outstanding community-based programs as exemplary
models of “what works” in the Latino community. Their dedicated efforts
have drawn the attention of leaders who have nominated them to receive a
La Promesa de un Futuro Brillante award.
La Promesa award-winners prove that
negative statistics can be turned around when culturally appropriate
strategies are used for outreach and services. These organizations have
dedicated themselves to working with the Latino community and are helping
to deliver the promise of a bright future.
La Promesa Programs
The efforts of nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, and communities to provide
services to Latino children and youth must be commended. It requires ingenuity,
persistence, and sheer smarts to build a program that reaches out into the community and
delivers culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
La Promesa programs represent
21 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. They
work with children and youth in a variety of settings from clinics
to child care centers to alternative schools. La Promesa programs all started the same
way: by recognizing a need or problem in the community and finding a way to solve it.
For example, Estancia Corazón in Puerto Rico was providing
services to terminally ill patients when they realized that the patients were parents
with serious concerns about what would happen to their children. When the program
staff found it difficult to place the children in
foster care, they opened a residence where the children could live.
Latino Dollars for Scholars of Rhode Island works to raise funds
and improve the scholarship opportunities for Latinos in their state. Los Centzontles
Mexican Cultural Center in California was founded after a young girl was assaulted and
Platicamos Salud in Arizona has promotoras
(promoters) who reach out to the community and provide tips on prenatal
and other health care needs. Promotoras serve as a link between the
Spanish-speaking community and the health care system.
Univision and Cities in Schools developed a partnership
for a mentorship program that prepares high school students to work in television.
The Selection Process
The La Promesa programs address the
most urgent issues in the Latino community. Some have larger operations
than others. Some have a long history, while others were created when existing programs did not meet the needs of the young Latinos living in the communities. Each program had to go through a strenuous selection process that included the following criteria:
serves young Latinos through innovative strategies (Latinos ages 19
years and under)
and language as assets to improve life for young Latinos and their
families in the United States and its territories
an innovative solution to a challenging problem faced by young Latinos
and serves as a model for other communities with Latino populations
has been in
existence for at least three years
multiple funding strategies
culture, language and spirituality of Latino cultures
provides services with partners or collaborators and
has governance and staff that is representative of the population the program serves.
There are other programs in the United States and Puerto Rico that are fulfilling a
promise of a brighter future for Latino children and we are looking for them. It is hoped that the La Promesa de un Futuro Brillante award is the first
of many other efforts to find out what works and to promote the programs that are truly
effective for Latino children and youth. The national crisis Latino children are facing
will require the diligent effort of many groups. Corporations, schools, elected officials,
the media, nonprofit organizations, celebrities, churches, and individuals all have a
role to play in reversing the trends. A great deal can be learned from the youth whose
lives have been touched and who are la promesa de un futuro brillante.