CHCI’s ‘R2L’ program opens minds with opportunities

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Students having a chat with their mentors on Mentoring Power Hour.

Rio Hondo Community College participated in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI’s), yearly “Ready To Lead” (R2L) program for high school students on Dec.14.

The one-day vigorous program assisted 9th and 10th grade high school students with an opportunity to talk to mentors and learn how to successfully prepare them for college.

The event began by CHCI offering students free breakfast meals while registration was held at the Rio Hondo College’s Upper Quad.

After breakfast, students were led to Rio Hondo’s Wray Theater and were welcomed by Esther Aguilera, the President and CEO of CHCI and Henry Gee, the Vice President of the Student Services, at Rio Hondo College. The welcoming and opening speeches continued and during that time students were also introduced to R2L’s spokesperson and celebrity, Wilmer Valderrama, (Fez from that 70’s show).

After the welcoming and opening speeches; students were broken down into three groups, ( Groups A,B, and C), and were taken to Rio Hondo’s Science building or stayed at the Wray Theater.

Students were offered concurrent workshops that assisted students with College Planning, (taught by Vanessa Chavez, and Anacany Torres, both Educational Advisor from Rio Hondo College), Financial Literacy, (Taught by Steven Fisher, Regional Program Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco), and Leadership Development, (Taught by Sasha Moreno and Jose Franco).

After one of the first workshops was over students were led to the Upper Quad for the Mentoring Power Hour where a small introduction was done by Marie Hughes, (Director of College Access and Readiness, CHCI’s Rita Aguilar, Director of Cash Operations, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco), and Gilbert Cisneros, from (The Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation).

The Mentor Power Hour  lasted from 11 a.m. to noon and was done with 50 members of the L.A. community, (or CHCI Alumni), mentoring over 100 students.

After the Mentoring Power Hour, students had a 30 minute lunch followed by a short speech by Fernando Febres, (Multicultural Marketing Planner, General Mills).

The event continued from  with the other two concurrent workshops back to back.

The Honorable Hilda Solis, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and former Rio Hondo Board of Trustee, spoke to the students and encouraged them to not give up on their dreams and even provided them with a true story based on her experience as a young high school student given two options by two high school counselors. One, insisted her on going to college, and the other counselor, suggested her to not to attend college, and to become a secretary instead.

Solis, also encouraged students to help their communities, and to be mindful of their environment.

Solis finished her speech by saying, “si se puede,” which received applauses by both the student audience, and staff alike.

After The Honorable Hilda Solis was done with her speech, Gina Rodriguez, (the star of Filly Brown), took over the stage to have a small conversation with students on fighting for what they want, and urging them to become role models.

The brief conversation ended with a small question and answer, followed by Rodriguez, taking pictures with the students.

For more information of CHCI’s Ready To Lead (R2L) Program, or for donations, and sponsorships, please go to http://www.chci.org/ready_to_lead/