2015 Ford Driving Dreams Through Education Grantees

In 2015, eight LULAC Councils were selected to receive $20,000 each over two-years to implement a local dropout prevention program in partnership with an educational entity. In addition, two veteran LULAC Councils (grantees from 2013-2015) were selected to receive additional funding for the continuation of their exemplary programs for a third academic year.

Read the media release.

2015 Ford Driving Dreams Grantee Recipients


Council #756 – Little Rock, AR
Council President: Sandra Carmona

A two-year project aimed at improving the ACT test scores for Latino students who attend the academically "distressed" Hall High School that has the largest number of ESL/LEP students in the Little Rock School District. The LRSD is the largest school district in the state of Arkansas and has recently been taken over by the State Board of Education due to low academic performance issues. The project proposes three different training treatments to be employed to determine which techniques provide the best results. The program will start with students taking their first ACT test in September and then the trajectory of students who are in the control and experimental groups to determine the most effective vehicle to improve ACT test scores which are linked to scholarship availability in Arkansas. Students, parents and teachers will participate in a number of meetings throughout the two-year period to maintain motivation, project adjustments and focus for the success of the project. The project is a collaborative effort involving both the LULAC council at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (mentoring council), the Hall High School LULAC Youth Council, the Little Rock School District and the ACT Help Center.


Council #2862 – Sacramento, CA
Council President: Luisa Menchaca

Brown Issues will partner with C.K. McClatchy High School to achieve positive learning experiences for Chicano/Latino high school students participating in the high school After School/Parent Resource Program. The aim is to accelerate achievement among high school freshmen and to prepare students to graduate from high school and achieve a college degree. .

Brown Issues, a community/student organization active for 7 years, will identify at-risk students among the high school freshman class who will benefit from an after-school community program that will include information on building skills needed to enter and succeed in college. The program will include weekly afterschool activities including: 1) mentoring, 2) tutoring (math and English writing), 3) increased self-esteem and improved communication skills, 4) college visits, 5) speaker series, 6) cultural activities, e.g., making of a mural, and 7) parent participation. An outreach plan will target incoming 9th grade students who may be “at-risk” due to truancy, low grades, health issues, and poverty. Academic support will also be provided. Tutors will help with homework and tutoring. Evaluation will also be a key component. Base-line data will be collected and evaluated on a quarterly basis with the assistance of an advisory committee. Finally, there will be a plan for continued sustainability.

Council #2060 – Stockton, CA
Council President: Miguel Sanchez

LULAC council #2060 and the collegiate council #3145 from the University of the Pacific have joined forces to implement the program Vamos con Todo! Our vision is to motivate and educate high school students of the Stockton community, guide them to become outstanding strong leaders who pursue a higher education, and provide a support system. To fulfill this vision, we would implement workshops with community leaders that would concentrate on topics that affect them at a personal and academic level. In addition, we would want to assist our English Language Development students by providing tutoring and mentorship. The majority of students from our community are first generation students seeking a higher education, therefore we would also offer fieldtrips to colleges that would otherwise be hard to obtain.

Vamos con Todo would recruit more than twenty students from Stockton Unified School District from 10th through 12th grade. Statistics from Stockton Unified School District show that only 54.6% Latino students from our Stockton community enroll for a post-secondary education. Out of those, only 19.2 % complete a year of post- secondary education. Hence, there is a major problem not only with enrollment but retaining students in college as well. That is why our mission would be to support those students in their last years of high school and inspire them to do more, easing their transition into a collegiate life and offering a support system throughout.


Council #313 – Chicago, IL
Council President: Rose Mary Bombela-Tobais

Instituto has worked in the community since 1977 with a special focus on education. In the last 15 years it has developed an array of youth-centered programs and services to address trends of disengagement from education among Chicago’s Latina/o youth. Instituto has over 10 years of experience offering afterschool programming to families from Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards, and Brighton Park. Instituto’s Youth Development Department was founded in 2003 as a direct response to families requesting afterschool support. The department launched two programs: Escalera College Bridge Program and Keep Educating Youth.

Escalera serves approximately 50 youth per year, targeting juniors who aim to attend college; however, participants typically require assistance to overcome financial and other barriers. In 2014: 100% earned their high school diploma; 100% entered college; 87% completed a paid work experience; 85% participated in weekly core competency workshops; 80% attended four college tours; 95% completed a minimum of five college admissions and scholarship applications.

Council #5285 – Moline, IL
Council President: Cindy Ramos

Glenview Middle School in East Moline, IL provides its students the opportunity to participate in two programs that specifically target Latino students. With 30.7% Latino population and 68.3% low-income at Glenview, these students need programs to increase their opportunities to graduate and seek higher education. The Glenview Youth Mariachi Program and the One By One Program provide these opportunities.

The Youth Mariachi Band Program at Glenview provides members the opportunity to gain musical training, performance experiences, and cultural background through Mariachi music.In addition to economic circumstances, these students may not have the cultural knowledge or access to informal social networks needed to engage in gaining the necessary college-related information that could provide easier access to college participation. The One By One Program at Glenview exposes students to higher learning so that they take ownership of their education before they enter high school through university visits, community speakers, and educational outreach.


Council #8035 – Albuquerque, NM
Council President: Mary Herrera
2013-2015 Grant Recipient

The program expands the LNESC-Albuquerque Upward Bound project in Highland High School by adding a two-part mentoring component. College-level mentors will work with students after school and LULAC members will lead workshops during Saturday activities. LULAC Council will provide after-school tutoring, Saturday workshops, supplemental instruction, cultural activities, and field trip for students. During the school year, the current program provides weekday and after-school tutorial/instructional services and test preparation during the school week. LULAC and Highland High School have partnered on this U.S. Department of Education project since December 2007.


Council #4933 – Austin, TX
Council President: Kristan Silva
2013-2015 Grant Recipient

Austin Soundwaves, a music education program modeled after El Sistema, will expand its current efforts at East Austin College Prep Academy. Through the FDD grant, Austin Soundwaves will expand to connect low-income at-risk youth in Austin with experienced musicians and educators who will serve as mentors and role models. The program’s weekly 10 hours of instruction will also be supplemented by additional hours in performance opportunities such as educational field trips, learning excursions, and student performances at various venues throughout Austin.

Council #1 – Corpus Christi, TX
Council President: Nicholas Adame

The proposed Ford Driving Dreams through Education Grant will supplement activities provided by the LNESC – Corpus Christi Upward Bound program. The program provides fundamental academic support to economically disadvantaged at-risk high school students and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree. The goal of the program is to decrease the high school dropout rate by increasing the rate at which participants complete secondary education, enroll in, and graduate from an appropriate postsecondary educational program.

LNESC – Corpus Christi Upward Bound program activities include tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, college/university tours, assistance with the college admissions and financial aid application processes, and financial and economic literacy. All LNESC –Corpus Christi Upward Bound program activities are designed to directly increase essential academic skills, and academic readiness of students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education.


Council #47013 – Vancouver, WA
Council President: Diana Perez

Many students will immerse themselves in a dynamic program where STEM principles and concepts taught during the school year are applied in hands-on experiences during the summer. LULAC Council 47013, Mathematics-Engineering-Science-Achievement (MESA) Washington, and Mount St Helens Institute will teach students how to build a robot, measure vegetation growth, learn about geologic processes, and much more in both classroom and outdoor settings. The summer learning STEM academy will provide unique experiences for youth in middle and high school, exposing them to researchers and scientists. From being up close and personal with the only active volcano in the United States to learning how to code in a computer lab, the advantage of this summer learning academy will forever leave an impression in a young developing mind.


Council #319 – Milwaukee, WI
Council President: Gregorio Montoto

The Hispanic Leadership will target Hispanic at risk youth to engage in leadership sessions, where students will be linked with community mentors, that will assist students to pursue their college ambition, graduate from high school and pursue a two or four year career at an institution of higher education.