The HHAF (Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation) awards top Hispanic high school seniors to identify and promote the next generation of Hispanic role models. Students can file an application online or pick up applications at almost 5000 participating Subway restaurants in the Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Northern California, and Washington, D.C. regions. So let’s check out these educational grants for Hispanic high school students.
Interesting is also what Cris Mora explains in this TEDxYouth@ParkCity video about undocumented Students and College Scholarships:
Students can apply to win a Gold or Silver Medallion in six categories: Academic Excellence sponsored by MasterCard International and Chase, Community Service sponsored by Dr Pepper, Engineering & Mathematics sponsored by ExxonMobil, Healthcare sponsored through GlaxoSmithKline, Journalism sponsored by Telemundo and NBC Universal, and Sports sponsored by Subway restaurants. Southwest Airlines is once again the Official Airline of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards.
Gold Medallion winners will receive a $3,000 educational grant and a chance to be one of six National Award recipients. Last year, National Award recipients received an additional $5,000, a laptop computer, and an all-expense paid trip to Miami, FL and to Washington, DC, for the star-studded Hispanic Heritage Awards, which aired on NBC and Telemundo television stations. Silver Medallion recipients will receive a $2,000 educational grant. Read also this post about scholarships for Hispanic students with a GED. Very interesting for youth that dropped out of high school!
“Hispanics make up the largest minority in America, yet we are plagued by alarming statistics about high school completion rates, college attendance, and the types of jobs we are getting,” said HHAF CEO and President José Antonio Tijerino. “It is crucial that we reach out to and recognize young Hispanic leaders and position them as a role model to their peers to demonstrate what can be accomplished through hard work and ganas.”
To be eligible for an award, applicants must demonstrate interests in all categories they wish to apply for, academic excellence, and their commitment to community service. The candidates must also submit an essay on what influence their Hispanic heritage had on their lives. Local selection committees are established to choose the award recipients and, subsequently, special events are coordinated in every city in celebration of the Regional Youth Recipients’ achievements.
“The Youth Awards program would not be possible without the steadfast support of our committed sponsors,” said Dr. Pedro José (Joe) Greer, Jr., Chairman of HHAF. “They share in our mission of celebrating the success of these inspirational young people and encouraging their excellence and commitment to our communities. Making a college education a possibility for these kids, who may not otherwise be able to afford one, is both an honor, and a responsibility we all share.”
Youth Awards is crucial for the development of Hispanic communities in the United States as over 35 percent of Hispanics here are under the age of 18 whereas the median age is 24 years old compared to 34 for America’s general population. The high school completion rate of Hispanics, however, is just 63 percent compared to just over 81 percent for people of Color and 91 percent for white Americans.
“There is nothing more demoralizing for a young Hispanic than to be subjected to false stereotypes about only being capable of low-level jobs,” added Tijerino. “Our Youth Awards program promotes academic achievement, community involvement, and pride in the Hispanic culture not only as vehicles to success but also as keys to reversing destructive stereotypes. The next step is working with these outstanding young people to put them in a position to lead, and increase Hispanic presence in executive and management roles in the workforce.”
To that end, HHAF created a virtual portal of scholarship opportunities for Hispanic students. In addition, HHAF recently launched the LOFT program (Latinos on Fast Track) with the Hispanic College Fund, which will provide corporate America with top Hispanic talent to bolster their existing internship programs and to help young Hispanics become part of the workforce.
The HHAF celebrates, beyond the Youth Awards, outstanding achievements of Hispanic Americans and provides role models for the inspiration of youth. For almost three decades, the nonprofit organization has annually honored five notable Hispanics who have distinguished themselves in the arts, sports, literature, education, and leadership.
Past honorees have included Gloria Estefan, Ambassador Bill Richardson, Henry Cisneros, Celia Cruz, Andy Garcia, Dr. Antonia Novello, Sammy Sosa, Isabel Allende, Cristina Saralegui, Ricky Martin, Astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Actor Martin Sheen, and Latino Leader Raul Izaguirre, among many others. The Hispanic Heritage Awards is the only program endorsed by 34 national Hispanic organizations, which serve as the nominating committee and host the event.