The Latin American Association (LAA) in Atlanta, Georgia, is doing incredible work with our youth!  On April 14, 2012, I attended the LAA’s 3rd Annual Spring College Access Conference at Kennesaw State University.  The goal of the conference is to increase the educational attainment of Latino students so that they can and will pursue higher education.  This year college students led many of the conference workshops.  How impressive!  As the LAA inspires youth to embrace their college aspirations, it simultaneously inspires college students to develop their leadership skills.  As you can see, the LAA is making a big impact on our young people at all levels!  Congratulations to the LAA leadership Jeffrey Tapia, Executive Director; Eliezer Vélez, Director of Youth Programs; and Isabel Pérez, Managing Director of Academic Achievement for a successful conference.  I would also like to acknowledge other staff, interns and volunteers at the LAA for their commitment and hard work.  You are undeniably making an impact on our youth!

Light Forces youth and my mother Loretta Houston

This year Light Forces took several of our youth to the conference.  Based in South Fulton, Light Forces is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the educational and leadership development of youth and young adults.  Our motto is “Be the Light:  Excellence, Leadership and Service.”  Through our programs and activities we seek to develop conscientious young people who will use their gifts and talents to be leaders and contributors to their communities, nation and world.  Currently, I serve as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Light Forces.  For almost ten years, Light Forces has taken youth to participate in LAA youth activities.  We truly value and appreciate LAA for embracing the youth of Light Forces.

Light Forces also works to prepare students for college.  We are providing a college tour  this summer.  During our tour June 11-15, 2012, we will visit over a dozen colleges in Georgia and Alabama.  For more information about the 2012 Light Forces College Tour, please email contact@lightforces.org for more information.

LAA leadership Isabel Pérez and Eliezer Vélez

It is so important for educational institutions, youth service providers, professionals and community servants to work together to nurture and develop our youth.  We must continually expose young people to educational, professional and leadership development opportunities so that they can see and visualize the infinite possibilities for their own lives.  Expectations are key.  No one can outperform his/her expectations.  It is vital, therefore, that we raise the expectations for our youth, but more importantly, that they raise the expectations for themselves!  Thank you to the Latin American Association for cultivating expectations for and within our young people!

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