The Latino Power Youth Summer Program, endorsed by the Minnesota Governor’s Chief Inclusion Officer, was launched in the Summer of 2017. This program empowers students to strengthen their leadership skills, become active community members, and create a significant impact in their community. The Latino Power program focuses on creating hands-on, dynamic leadership opportunities to prepare students for their desired career path. Students organize a community-based project as a part of their training during the program. Throughout the program, students network with community leaders and stakeholders, plan logistics for events, and develop professional materials.
During the first summer of the program, students organized an event, “Latinos en Acción” as their community-based project. The event centered on discussing the issues that affect Latinos in Minnesota. Throughout the summer, students planned logistics, developed engagement and marketing materials, and networked with community stakeholders to organize a successful event. Students worked with Community Design Group, a people-centered urban planning firm, to develop a Spanish engagement toolkit that offered participants the opportunity to give their opinions about the positive things that exist in their community, as well as the challenges and barriers they face. Students gathered all the input and presented it to the Chief Inclusion Office to discuss ways to make change for Latinos.
Additional to the discussion, attendees also enjoyed food, a Zumba class, Ecuadorian folkloric dance performance, break dance performance, and various art activities at the event. Students created a community event that not only highlighted existing issues, but also celebrated different the best of Latino culture.