17th Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference
El Pueblo Unido

Date: May 12, 2017, 8:45am-3:00pm
Location: Augsburg College (2211 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454)

The theme for this year’s 17th annual conference is social activism and will allow Latino youth, ages 12-18, the opportunity to:

  • Gain knowledge about social activism while interacting with other student leaders through hands-on activities.
  • Acquire achievable actions steps to transform their communities into safer and healthier communities.
  • Connect with leaders of the local Latinx community currently working in social awareness.
  • Explore other perspectives on relevant issues and conflicts.
  • Take part in creating a learning space for themselves and others.

The Latino Youth Leadership Conference is an all-day annual event that celebrates Latino culture and helps Latino middle and high school students learn to share peace through leadership.  DSC_0200 (2)The primary goal of this event is to promote youth development, leadership, and positive cultural identity while enabling teens to see their role as peacemakers and learn individual actions to share with their families, schools, and neighborhoods. Participating youth have the opportunity to meet students from other schools while learning and having fun in cultural workshops, presentations and activities relevant to their lives. What makes this a one-of-a-kind event is that it is planned by and for Latino youth; a team of high school students meet weekly for 8 months to plan and develop all conference elements.

Please contact Maureen Springer at maureens@oportunidad.org or by calling 612-872-6165 ext. 117 if you would like more information about the event.

2016 Conference

The 16th Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference took place on Friday, May 20, 2016 at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. This year’s conference theme was “De Donde Vengo y Adonde Voy” (where I’m from and where I’m going). This year’s theme allowed youth to share their stories of where they came from as well as explore their hopes, goals, and dreams for the future.  Through 12 unique interactive workshops and activities, participants focused on getting closer to their roots and gained knowledge about other cultures. Conference participants also enjoyed a powerful and energetic message from national keynote speaker David Edward Garcia and performances from Ecuadorian folkloric dance Juventud Latina and bboy crew Phaze II followed by a dance and a resource fair. What makes this conference so unique is that it is fully planned by a leadership committee of 20-30 Latino high school students who meet weekly for eight months.

261 youth and 72 adults attended this year’s conference representing over twenty different schools.  86% of youth participants expressed an increase in cultural pride and connection, 75% expressed and increased capacity for leadership, and 88% reported an increase in skills, knowledge, and/or positive attitudes in at least one of the following areas: self, relationships, education, and/or community.

Our conference wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors: Augsburg College, Youthprise, Medica Foundation, Mall of America, McDonalds, and East Minneapolis Exchange Club.

Experience from a youth conference participant, Jenny Rodriguez:

I attended the 16th Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference at Augsburg college. I was unsure as to what my experience would be before the conference, but afterwards I was excited about my newfound knowledge of my culture, along with a new outlook on my future.

 Going to the Latino Youth Leadership Conference gave me more confidence to practice my Spanish as well as confidence in who I am and where I come from. I not only met Latino students from other High Schools, but I met Latino students who attended Chanhassen High School. The speaker communicated a message that is crucial for Latino students like myself to hear. Which was, despite financial disadvantages, not having a stable home, or having parents who don’t encourage success in education; it’s the student who can decide as to how these disadvantages affect them. He went onto explain that although we may not decide or chose where we come from, we the Latino youth can chose as to what we would like to do in our futures.

 I wish I had been able to participate in the event my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school, I hope that many more Latino students who attend the Middle schools and High schools in the district are able to attend future Leadership Conferences held at Augsburg College. 

PHOTOS of this event were posted on our Facebook page, to view them click here.

Past conference topics have included:

  • 2016: De Donde Vengo y Adonde Voy (Where I’m From and Where I’m Going)
  • 2015: Express Your Identity
  • 2014: Cultivating My Well-Being
  • 2013: Traditions in Our Hearts, United We Thrive
  • 2012: Growing Healthy Relationships Together
  • 2011: Dancing with the “Sole”, Bailando con El Corazón
  • 2010: Mind Opening Scenes: Artes Visuales
  • 2008: Who am I? Finding Myself to Promote Peace
  • 2007: Our History and Traditions: The Key to the Future
  • 2006: Hip Hop: A Tool for Peace and Social Change
  • 2005: Healthy Lifestyles
  • 2004: An Intergenerational Dialog on Immigration