Friday, February 16, 2007


New Latino Youth Programs Comes to East Harlem
Taking Steps to Success Program for Hispanic High School Students

Washington, DC –The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., will join with one of its Affiliates, PROMESA: East Harlem Council for Community Improvement, Inc. (PROMESA/EHCCI), and the PepsiCo Foundation to launch a new program that encourages and helps Latino youth to graduate from high school, prepare for college, and explore career opportunities. PROMESA/EHCCI will be the site of the first Escalera: Taking Steps to Success program in New York. The program launch will take place on Thursday, February 22, at PROMESA: EHCCI, located at 413 East 120th Street in New York, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The pilot program for Escalera was launched in 2002 by NCLR with support from the PepsiCo Foundation and PepsiCo Inc as one strategy to increase the number of Latino students who graduate from high school. The program provides support and services that improve opportunities for Hispanic youth to attend college and attain the skills needed for high-paying jobs. To date, 98% of students enrolled in the initial Escalera pilot in Los Angeles and in a similar program in Chicago have completed the program, and 96% of those who completed it have been accepted into college.

Speakers at the Escalera launch include: Ruben Medina, CEO, PROMESA; Raul Rodriguez, Executive Director, EHCCI; Claire Lyons, Global Grant Program Manager, PepsiCo Foundation; Michelle Jordan, Senior Manager of Strategic Community Partnerships, PepsiCo, Inc.; Sonia M. Pérez, Vice President, Affiliate Member Services, NCLR; and a high school student enrolled in the new Escalera program in East Harlem.
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