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LULAC National Educational Service Centers

With the creation of the LULAC National Educational Service Centers in 1973; LULAC centralized its educational effort in a network of sixteen counseling centers coordinated by an office in Washington, DC. LNESC's mission is to increase educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans through the development and implementation of effective programs in Hispanic communities throughout the United States. LNESC serves more than 18,000 students each year, providing educational counseling, scholarships, mentorships, leadership development, and literacy programs through its network of fifteen educational centers. Since 1973, LNESC has assisted over 300,000 students, sent 140,000 on to college, and awarded over $8 million in scholarships to more than 12,000 students.

In 1987, LNESC received a grant from the Ford Foundation to conduct a leadership program for Hispanic high school students. Seven LNESC centers now conduct the Hispanic Leadership Opportunity Program which provides over 200 Hispanic high school students with leadership training and an opportunity to have a positive impact in their communities.

The initial phase of the Hispanic Leadership Opportunity Program is devoted to conveying leadership knowledge and skills to the participants. This phase brings students together with leaders in business, government, and the community to exchange thoughts and ideas about real-life problems. Students are given time to reflect and analyze the leadership styles they experience and are taught skills through leadership exercises.

During the second phase of the program, participants become actively involved in a community based leadership project that has a direct impact on policy issues within their community. Selected speakers from the first phase assist the students in a project that actively addresses an issue of importance to the students.

In the third phase, participants facilitate a local youth leadership conference. The students exhibit their newly acquired leadership skills through the planning and implementation of a conference they design.

The final phase of the program is an intensive four-day leadership seminar in Washington, DC for the top three graduates of each leadership program and outstanding LULAC youth members. Fifty to sixty students meet with national leaders in a forum designed to encourage debate and interaction.

Funding for the expansion of this program is currently being sought from private sources. "This program will lay a strong foundation for the future growth of LULAC and the Hispanic community," states Brent Wilkes, Director of Policy and Development at the LULAC Washington office. "Our future is our youth."

Other LNESC Programs

The Young Readers: This innovative literacy program works with first, second, and third graders to provide fun and exciting reading experience involving parents, teachers, community role models, and local business leaders.

The Middle School Intervention Initiative: This program provides intensive tutoring and counseling for at-risk seventh and eight grade students with the goal of keeping them in school and preparing them for a college education.

LULAC Scholarships: LNESC administers several scholarship programs designed to provide financial assistance for college to deserving Hispanic students. They are; The LULAC National Scholarship Fund, the GM/LULAC Scholarship, and the GE/LULAC Scholarship.

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