Teens Rewarded For Innovative Social Ventures to Help Latinos Stay in School

Teens Rewarded For Innovative Social Ventures to Help Latinos Stay in School

Youth Venture and MTV Tr3s contest winners take on Hispanic student dropout rate


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Arlington, VA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–November 13, 2007–In response to the staggering Hispanic dropout rate, 50 teams of students across the country developed action plans for sustainable social ventures to motivate their peers to stay in school. The student teams, composed of youth ages 13-20, were recognized today by Youth Venture and MTV Tr3s for winning the “Tu Voz, My Venture” contest, an initiative to motivate young Hispanics to stay in school and prepare for college or a career.

In the United States, just over half (57.8 percent) of Latino students graduate from high school on time (1), and Latino graduates are only about half as likely as white students to leave high school adequately prepared for four-year colleges.(2)

“We are proud of these young people,” said Gretchen Zucker, executive director of Youth Venture. “Being a pioneer and launching a venture that addresses such a complex issue — the high drop-out rate of Latino students — takes courage, leadership and important life skills. These 50 teams have shown their ability to lead. We look forward to continuing to support the ‘Tu Voz’ teams as they create positive social impact today, tomorrow and throughout their lives.”

The initiative awarded each of the 50 winning teams start-up grants of up to $1,000 to launch their ventures; five of them were then selected to receive a $5,000 scholarship. The effort was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Tu Voz, My Venture” is an element of a larger effort by Youth Venture and MTV Tr3s to invite young Latinos to express themselves through video and learn more about how to overcome the education challenges they face. It is also part of MTV Tr3s’ pro-social campaign, VOCES.

Among the winning “Tu Voz, My Venture” action plans are:

— BioMotors: Veggies give you GAS, Los Angeles, CA: The team’s action plan assists Latino students with transportation to educational programs, while engaging them in a movement to expand awareness of the use of environmentally conscious fuel. The plan calls for converting an old school bus diesel engine to run on used vegetable oil collected from fast food restaurants.

— College Bound Latinos, Arlington, VA: This team plans to host trips to colleges for young Latinos to expose them to college life and reinforce the importance of a college education. The program informs students about scholarship opportunities and hopes to educate parents of students by hosting “college night sessions” in English and Spanish.

— SOUL, Gresham, OR: Concerned about high drop-out and pregnancy rates among young Latinas, the ultimate goal of this venture is to get Latina students in Gresham High School focused on school and college through mentoring, homework tutoring, and the building of self-esteem and stronger social networks.

“MTV Tr3s is committed to providing a voice to young Latinos in all areas of their lives,” said Lucia Ballas-Traynor, senior vice president and general manager of the bilingual channel. “It is impressive and moving to hear what young people have to say about the importance of education and we are honored to be able to provide a means of helping them turn their ideas into action. I highly commend these young people and thank them for participating.”

For a summary of the winning team’s venture ideas, please visit http://www.genv.net or http://www.mtv3voces.com. The 50 winning teams from across the United States are:

— A Taste of Reality, Austin, Texas

— AITHABANI Clothing, Brooklyn, N.Y.

— Arts in the Heights, Washington, D.C.

— *BioMotors: Veggies give you GAS, Los Angeles

— Camino Latino, Corvallis, Ore.

— Changing Franklin Road — One Kid at a Time, Marietta, Ga.

— Charlottesville College Academy, Charlottesville, Va.

— Cleopatra’s Coffin of Knowledge, Allison Park, Pa.

— College Bound Latinos, Arlington, Va.

— Dimwitnot.com, Antioch, Calif.

— Donna College Correspondence Club, Edinburg, Texas

— El Camino Al Éxito, South Gate, Calif.

— Emerging Leaders of Hayfield, Arlington, Va.

— Empowering Latinos, Sullivan Park, Texas

— From Cartridge to Cardstock, Midland, Texas

— Fútbol Recreativo Competitivo, Woodbridge, Va.

— Future Hispanic Leaders of Tomorrow, Annandale, Va.

— Generation Education, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

— *HERO, Sugar City, Idaho

— International School of Hip-Hop, Los Angeles

— Jumper, Elkridge, Md.

— Jungle Bush Productions, “The KC Brothers Show,” Philadelphia

— Laptops for College and Career Exploration, Cleveland

— Latino Empowerment, Arlington, Va.

— *Latino Youth for Emergency Preparedness, Oakland, Calif.

— L.E. E. P — Latinos Elderly and Environment Program, Washington, D.C.

— Learning is for Everyone, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

— Leading Latinos towards Accomplishment Via Example (L.L.A.V.E.), Milwaukee

— LOL, Miami

— Mi Futuro — My Venture, South Gate, Calif.

— My College Buddy, South Gate, Calif.

— Necessary and Valuable Insight to Gain Access Toward Education, Minneapolis

— Opportunities Outreach Baltimore, Baltimore

— Paving the Way for Latino Success, Mission Valley, Texas

— *Peques Chavos Fundación de Fútbol, Southampton, N.Y.

— Raising the Bar, Bethany, Okla.

— Recycle or Bust, Midland, Texas

— Soccer Mania, Riverdale, Md.

— *SOUL, Gresham, Ore.

— South Side Teen Scene’s Peace Project, Lansing, Mich.

— S.T.A.R.T.S., Phoenix

— Tau Lambda, Washtenaw, Mich.

— Tech 9, Bronx, N.Y.

— Technology for Hope, Silver Spring, Md.

— The Good Citizens, Bronx, N.Y.

— Tomorrow Teens, Yukon, Okla.

— Walls to Canvas, Sun Valley, Calif.

— Youth Action Network, Austin, Texas

— Youth Empowering Action, Miami

— Youth Leading Youth, Arlington, Va.

*Scholarship winner

Youth Venture is a global community of powerful young change makers that provides the inspiration, tools and financial support for young people to have the transformative experience of launching and leading their own social ventures. Youth Venture has supported more than 1,500 youth-led teams to launch ventures in 14 countries around the world.

MTV Tr3s is in 6.2 million Hispanic TV households and 31.9 million total TV households, making it the most widely distributed TV network dedicated to super-serving today’s bicultural Latino youth. MTV Tr3s’ programming is rooted in the fusion of American and Latino music, cultures, lifestyles and languages. Music programming is at the core of MTV Tr3s; the channel features hitmakers, emerging artists and new sounds that resonate with young U.S. Latinos. In addition to music programming, MTV Tr3s programming slate also features lifestyle series, news, documentaries and other long-form programs that celebrate U.S. Latino hybrid identity and culture.

MTV Tr3s VOCES is the largest online community created to empower Latinos to get the most out of their education, prepare for high school graduation and explore their higher education options. The campaign also provides an interactive, comprehensive, one-of-a-kind, informational hub at http://www.mtv3voces.com.

(1) Education Week (June 12, 2007), Diplomas Count — The Graduation Project.

(2) Greene, J. & Winters, M. (September 2003). Public High School Graduation and College Readiness Rates in the United States. New York: Manhattan Institute.

Teens Rewarded For Innovative Social Ventures to Help Latinos Stay in School