Grand Rapids Community College’s Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion will be hosting the 19th annual Latino Youth Conference from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 6 at the Ford Fieldhouse.
This year’s conference, titled “The Power of Dreams|El Poder de Soñar,” will feature a series of events for area 8th graders to encourage them to follow their educational goals.
In a press release, director of the Woodrick Center, Domingo Hernandez-Gomez shared the importance of this conference for young students.
“It is important for them (students) to have a concrete image of what success looks like,” Hernandez-Gomez stated. “And hopefully find inspiration in that to strive for academic excellence.”
This year’s keynote speaker, Sammy Publes, will share his story and successes through the years during his presentation, “Sueña Ahora, Actúa Ahora” (“Dream Now, Act Now”). Publes, a GRCC alumnus, emigrated from Cuba in 1988, and is a seasoned actor who has had TV roles in “The Chi,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD,” “Shameless” and “Empire” as well as movie roles in “Batman vs. Superman” and “Stone.”
Aside from his acting, Publes opened his own theater company, Mixed Roots Collective, in 2014 to bring together artists from different backgrounds to present the latest in performance art.
Publes hopes to inspire students to reach higher than they imagined during his presentation.
“I want to empower the kids to not settle for their story – to get up every day understanding that their story is not written,” Publes stated in the press release. “Every day is an opportunity for a new chapter, particularly for Latino students.”
The Woodrick Center is still looking for volunteers for the Latino Youth Conference. Volunteers are needed to greet students and faculty from area schools upon arrival, assisting school counselors, escorting student groups to assigned breakout sessions, assisting during breakfast and lunch and to monitor buildings throughout the conference.
Interested students and staff should contact Marisol Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org, Lydia Cruz at email@example.com or Adriana Almanza at firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 28. Volunteers should include their name, organization, title, address, phone number, email, t-shirt size and desired volunteer position.
A volunteer orientation will be held on Mon., March 5 from noon to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 212 at the Ford Fieldhouse. Lunch and dinner will be provided.