The Sal Castro Foundation will kick-off Hispanic Heritage Month with an online fund drive to reinstate the Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Conference (CYLC) in October 2014. The foundation, created in honor of the late educator and civil rights leader Sal Castro, seeks donations to fund the conference, which helps guide Mexican-American/Latina/Latino students primarily from socio-economically disadvantaged areas from Southern California through the college admission process and learn how to become effective, responsible leaders.
CYLC was founded in 1963 in response to the harsh reality that Latino students fared poorly in the U.S. educational system-dropout rates exceeded any other ethnicity and low college enrollment. The conference continued for 46 years and held its last conference in 2009 due to budgetary constraints. While Latinos have made major educational gains since the inception of CYLC, Latinos continue to lag other groups when it comes to earning a bachelor's degree. The need to continue promoting higher education still exists and the fund drive will help lead this effort.
"Sal was a true education advocate and reinstating the Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Conference was his goal before he passed away, " said Paula Crisostomo, Board member, Sal Castro Foundation. "His last assignment for the board was to continue his work of encouraging Latino youth to graduate from college and to continue the work of CYLC."
According to an evaluation report conducted by the Principals' Exchange of past CYLC participants, 84 percent attained a bachelor's degree, higher than the national rate of college-completion for Hispanic students.
The three-day conference will include workshops, guest speakers, and a college fair. The conference will also help students navigate the courses necessary for college admission, study for SAT/ACT exams, review college applications and requirements/deadlines, and provide access to financial aid resources.
Students will also participate in a host of culturally rich experiences designed to inspire positive self-esteem and cultural pride. Latino role models will engage with students to deliver motivational talks during the entire weekend. College and university representatives will be in attendance at the College Fair to provide admissions information and to encourage applicants.
As a career educator and advocate of educational justice, Castro is widely recognized for his efforts in organizing the 1968 East Los Angeles student "walkouts," in protest of the disparate school funding and lack of access to higher education for Latinos. His work through CYLC has inspired many students to attend and graduate from college. Known for his motto of "No sean mensos. Go to College and Graduate," Castro inspired thousands to do just that.
The Sal Castro Foundation was founded in 2014 to preserve Sal Castro's legacy of promoting educational justice for Mexican-American/Latina/Latino youth through: equitable access to college, college graduation, completion of advanced degrees, and the development of effective community leaders.
About Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Conference (CYLC): The CYLC was established in 1963. The three-day conference provides students primarily from socio-economically disadvantaged areas with an opportunity to learn how to navigate through the college admission process and become effective community leaders. The last conference was held in 2009 due to budgetary constraints.