WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) hosted the 12thAnnual National Youth Awards Ceremony in honor of Actress America Ferrera and seven National Youth Awardees – one recipient was selected in each categories from hundreds of regional selectees who were selected from 10,000 applicants.The lunch reception was held on Capitol Hill in front of an influential audience. Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Luis Enrique also participated as part of his commitment to the HHF mission.
“We are thrilled to honor another class of outstanding young Latino leaders who will certainly make an impact on our communities and workforce as they move forward in their careers,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF.“We also applaud America Ferrera’s contributions as a role model for all youth through her work as an actress and activist.Lastly, we are grateful to our sponsors for not only honoring the young leaders but providing them with ongoing support ensuring the top talent we have to offer is entering the key fields to meeting America’s priorities.”
Ferrera who was honored as the 2011 Inspira Award recipient, stood alongside the National Youth Awardees:
Jose Villanueva, Mountain View, CA – National Youth Award forMath & Science sponsored by ExxonMobil (attending Stanford University to major in Civil Engineering)
Catarina Lopez, Killeen, TX – National Youth Award for Community Servicesponsored by Southwest Airlines (attending Duke University to major in Marine Biology)
Odalmy Molina, Hialeah, FL – National Youth Award for Science sponsored by Amgen (attending MIT or Brown University to major in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology)
Luis Ortiz, Olney, MD – National Youth Award for Leadership sponsored by US Army (attending Stanford University to major in Business and Finance)
Anthony Mendoza, Elverta, CA – National Youth Award for Business & Finance sponsored by BBVA Compass (attending Harvard to major in Business and Political Science)
Melissa Fich, Short Hills, NJ – National Youth Award for Education sponsored by Target (attending Columbia University to major in English)
Alberto Rodriguez, Laredo, TX – National Youth Award for Technology (attending MIT to major in Mechanical Engineering)
After being recognized, the students are funneled into HHF’s leadership cycle which includes: a Speakers’ Bureau and Mi Mentors to inspire and guide younger Latinos; leadership training through LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) Institute, and into the LOFT program which provides workforce development with a path in various industries; and a public awareness campaign as role models to offset negative stereotypes.
The Youth Awards were created by HHF in 1998 as a national leadership program to identify, inspire, prepare and position Latino high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom and community in various categories.HHF and sponsors honors hundreds of Latino students across America including hosting regional ceremonies with partner universities in San Jose/San Francisco-Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Austin/San Antonio, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Miami, Washington, DC, and New York/Philadelphia/New Jersey.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a national nonprofit organization which inspires, identifies, prepares and positions Latino leaders for classroom, community and workforce.