2013 Ford Driving Dreams Through Education Grantees

This year, eight new 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. Plus, two veteran councils were selected to receive additional funding for the continuation of their exemplary programs for another school year.

2013 Ford Driving Dreams Grantee Recipients


Arizona– LULAC Council #1057
LULAC Council #1057 and S.T.A.R. Academy in the Sunnyside Unified School will expand their Educational College & Career Action plan, established by the Arizona Department of Education in 2008. High local poverty rates make small, unmet needs an impediment to academic success for students at S.T.A.R. Academy of Sunnyside Unified School District. Twenty students will receive stipends to help with personal needs such as bus passes, prescription eyes glasses or small financial obligations that keep students from succeeding in school. The students will be required to sign a contract committing to 80 percent attendance and maintaining a “C” or better average. Students will also attend bi-weekly classes and monthly workshops.


Pueblo, CO – LULAC Council #3046
This program recruits community leaders to tutor and mentor students in the Pueblo City School District, a need identified by the school district through a community-wide strategic assessment. They will enlist low-income, first generation Hispanic students, who attend South and Centennial High Schools, and are in need of academic support to participate in the program. The students will receive tutoring and mentoring, a resource guide, career workshop series, and college/business campus tours. An end-of-year event will highlight each student’s accomplishments. LULAC Council members will serve as mentors to the students. Pueblo City Schools, El Pomar Foundation, Convergence, Black Hills Power, Colorado State University-Pueblo, and Pueblo Community College will serve in an advisory capacity and support the program by providing staff to conduct workshops, a location on campus, and tour guides.


Bartow, FL - LULAC Council #7227
Through the multi-faceted program, “High School to Higher Education,” 20 students at Tenoroc High School will learn from role model mentors, college-prep curriculum and access to higher education institutions. In addition, the program will prepare their parents to be educational advocates for their children. The students will connect with Hispanic adults for peer-to-adult mentoring and also learn about successful Hispanics in this country by researching and writing about them. In addition, they will receive college prep and career guidance, including participating in a skills exploration day based on a skills assessment. Through partnerships with local and regional higher education institutions, the students will tour colleges and visit with college representatives. The student’s parents will learn about the college process by participating in monthly seminars.


Kansas City, MO - LULAC Council #9607 (2011 model program)

LULAC Council #9607 and LNESC-Kansas City were selected to continue their program, "College Coach,” for another year. College Coach teaches at-risk urban core youth how to reach their academic and professional goals through hands-on activities and field trips. The students also learn how to become involved in their community through a community improvement project that tests their leadership skills and knowledge. The 9-12th grade students from East High School, Alta Vista High School and J.C. Harmon High School, who are participating in the program, receive valuable college prep by learning how to identify and apply for scholarships specifically geared towards minority or undeserved students, apply to colleges with high success rates for minorities, and study college admissions results to help them better prepare for college.


Albuquerque, NM – LULAC Council #8035
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.


Dayton, OH – LULAC Council #39000
(2011 model program)
LULAC Council #39000 was selected to continue its successful program, “Camino de Vida” (Helping students find their Camino), for another year. The program recruits ESL instructors and other students from Wright State University and the University of Dayton to work as tutors and mentors in language arts, mathematics and science. Students also learn organizational skills and how to set goals and track progress. The program engages students through an outreach method with parents and teachers for good methods of communication. Students learn to set goals to achieve better grades by reviewing their current grades and report cards and celebrate progress in a positive and impactful manner. In the first year, “Camino de Vida” made history by graduating their first English Language Learner student from a Dayton Public School.


Austin– LULAC Council #4933
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.

El Paso – LULAC Council #8 and LNESC-El Paso
This program will work with 30 students from Bel Air High School in the El Paso Independent School District School. The students will receive mentoring, tutoring, career days, educational and motivational field trips, and financial aid and scholarship workshops. The program will consist of 10 to 14 hours of activities and four hours of tutoring and mentoring services per month, including one-on-one counseling and group and meetings with advisors. Advisors will speak to students about obstacles and challenges, develop a plan and get students to sign an agreement to attend classes, maintain passing grades, and participate in the program. The students will have the opportunity to pursue career exploration through career days and connect with professionals in various fields. The students will participate in field trips to educational institutions and area colleges and job sites. The students will be required to attend scholarship and financial aid workshops as well as seek potential internships.

Plano – LULAC Council #4537
“Project Cap and Gown” will recruit 50 at-risk 9th and 10th grade high school students who primarily speak Spanish at home and are the first in their family to graduate from high school. Mentors will work with students during lunchtime and offer them after-school tutoring in the subjects of reading, math, social studies, and science. Tutors will include teachers of the Plano ISD school district and local college students. A Career Fair will be held each semester during the first year and twice a semester during the second year. During the Career Fairs, presenters will speak to students about their careers. The students will participate in bi-monthly college visits to institutions of higher learning in the area. On-going parent workshops will be conducted by Plano ISD school district employees. The workshops will equip parents with information on graduation requirements and college preparation.

San Antonio – Balcones Heights LULAC #4619
This after-school program for students at South San Antonio High School in the South San Antonio Independent School District will encourage parental involvement and provide students with tutoring, mentoring, external speaker engagements, specialty workshops, and tours of STEM facilities in the area. The program will allow for both peer and adult tutors to work in individual and group settings with the students. A program manager will meet with the school counselors and teachers to discuss the specific needs of each student. The San Antonio College, Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists, and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science will provide workshops, leadership sessions, career exploration, higher education exploration, and tutoring and mentoring. Two tours a year will be organized at local manufacturing, research and health allied companies, and organizations.