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La Promesa de un Futuro Brillante

Every other 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 nondiscriminatory 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 killed.

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:

  • directly serves young Latinos through innovative strategies (Latinos ages 19 years and under)

  • uses culture and language as assets to improve life for young Latinos and their families in the United States and its territories

  • demonstrates an innovative solution to a challenging problem faced by young Latinos

  • is replicable and serves as a model for other communities with Latino populations

  • has been in existence for at least three years

  • employs multiple funding strategies

  • respects the 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.