Latino students drop out of high school at higher rates than their peers, and they are also less likely to attend a four-year college full time. According to the Pew Research Center, young Hispanics are less likely than their white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56% versus 72%), they are less likely to attend a selective college, less likely to be enrolled in college full time and less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Our Youth Programs Department staff works closely with students, parents, teachers and school administrators to help reduce the Latino dropout rate and make sure that Latino students see college as a viable and affordable option.

From year-round academic programs at various schools in the Atlanta metro area to an annual youth conference that motivates Latino youth to pursue post-secondary education, we offer the tools and resources to help Latino youth succeed in school and in life.

Latino Youth Leadership Academy (LYLA) for Grades 6th through 12th

Research shows that engaging Latino youth and their families in school leads to better student performance. The year-round Latino Youth Leadership Academy initiative, offered now at five metro Atlanta schools with a high percentage of Latinos, provides middle school and high school students with an after-school program that teaches them skills needed to succeed in school and college; leadership development; cultural and physical activities; test preparation and academic support; digital literacy; and college and career exploration through field trips, career days and mentorships. Parent involvement is a critical component of this initiative.

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Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference

Each fall, hundreds of Latino middle and high school students, parents, teachers and volunteers come together at an Atlanta-area university campus for a daylong gathering centered around motivating Latino youth to finish high school and go on to college.

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The Latino College Leadership Alliance (LCLA)

The Latino College Leadership Alliance is a new Youth Programs initiative that seeks to empower Latino college students and young professionals through leadership development and civic engagement. This program provides participants with meaningful service-learning opportunities aligned with the mission of the Latin American Association. Participants engage with middle and high school students and advocate on issues that matter to Latino youth. The Latino College Leadership Alliance aims to develop leaders that serve as role models to the younger generation.

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College Access Workshops

Our staff conducts several college access workshops each year for high school students and their parents focused on topics such as applying to college, getting financial aid and succeeding in college.

 Cultural Competency Training

We also work with school administrators, teachers and other community organizations – such as Teach for America — in offering cultural competency trainings. These sessions are aimed at providing proven strategies for teaching Latino students and supporting their academic success.

La Feria de Educación Latina

This one-of-a-kind event is the largest education fair for Georgia’s bilingual community, drawing more than 3,000 Latinos from metro Atlanta and beyond. The event is organized by the LAA, Welcoming Atlanta, Univision 34 Atlanta, MundoHispanico and Atlanta Public Schools board member Jason Esteves.

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