The path to college is ever-changing and can be challenging to navigate.  Many KidWorks parents are helping their children prepare for college but may not have attended college themselves.  

Thanks to our partnership with KidWorks board member Erika Sanchez and the support of Concordia University, we were able to send a group of KidWorks parents and students to attend their seventh annual Hispanic Leadership Conference, a forum focused on preparing 1st generation Latino students for higher education. 

Concordia describes the no-cost event as “inspiring community college and high school students to pursue academic goals for a bright future. The purpose of this event is to help attendees navigate the path to college. The conference offers a toolkit of educational resources about college majors, financial aid, as well as inspiring first-generation speakers, industry professionals and a keynote.”

The conference included breakout sessions and an information fair. The university also provided,  free transportation to and from the event for our parents and students.

Overall, 245 students and 30 parents attended from throughout Southern California. The conference was open to all high school and community college students, along with parents. 

The event aligns perfect with our own College & Career Success Initiative™ (C&CSI). The initiative prepares first generation college students for higher education beyond high school. 

KidWorks thanks the staff and leadership at Concordia for producing such an impactful conference. We also express our gratitude to Erika Sanchez, Project Director of Hispanic Serving Institutions at the university. She is a KidWorks alumnus and former team member.

One of the event panelists was David Benavides, KidWorks’ Chief Executive Officer. He spoke about his own journey and the important role education played in his life and career. 

The event also featured a discussion that included four KidWorks parents as panelists. They shared their experiences as parents of college students/graduates. Attendees said their comments provided meaningful insight, encouragement and guidance.

Both our parents and students expressed how valuable they found the event to be.

Gloria Servin, parent: “It was helpful having a conference geared towards preparing 1st generation Latino students for college. The workshops left us thinking about our children’s future and well-being. Yasmin is my oldest daughter and I want her to attend college someday. These types of opportunities have really helped me believe that college is part of my children’s future. I thank everybody who made this conference possible.”

Liliana Flores: parent: “I’m very glad I had the opportunity to attend the conference because I learned about ways I can support my children as they get ready to go off to college or a university. These types of talks and opportunities make going to college more attainable and reachable for our children. Thank you very much for these types of events and opportunities.”

KidWorks 10th grader Santiago gave the event high marks: “Attending the Concordia conference helped me see that Latinos can change the world.” 

We are confident that many successful higher education careers will be launched thanks to Concordia University’s Hispanic Leadership Conference. KidWorks congratulate them on such a successful and meaningful event.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer