The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) will host the 12th Annual 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 ceremony will take place at 12 p.m., February 9, Russell Senate Office Building, Caucus Room 325, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC in front of an influential audience. Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Luis Enrique will participate during the event as part of his commitment to the HHF mission. MTV Tres will film the event for a special a public awareness campaign on young “Agents of Change” and broadcast on the air.
“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 is being honored as the 2011 Inspira Award recipient and will stand alongside the following National Youth Awardees who are being flown into the nation’s capital by Southwest Airlines:
• Jose Villanueva, Mountain View, CA—National Youth Award for Math & Science sponsored by ExxonMobil (attending Stanford University to major in Civil Engineering)
• Catarina Lopez, Killeen, TX—National Youth Award for Community Service sponsored 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 receiving the awards, the students will be funneled into HHF’s leadership cycle which includes: a Speakers’ Bureau and Mi Mentors to inspire and guide younger Latinos; leadership training through the Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT) 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 honor 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. For more information, please visit www.HispanicHeritage.org.