BOSTON, Sept. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --Two young alumni of City Year, an education-focused national nonprofit that unites young people for a year of service in high-need urban schools, will represent the organization at the White House today in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The White House "Champions of Change" initiative is honoring young Latino change makers this week, two of whom served in high-need urban schools as City Year corps members in New York and Los Angeles.
Carlos Mendoza, 25 and Kathy Sanchez, 24, will travel to Washington, DC today for a tour of the White House, a roundtable discussion with White House officials, and other photo and networking opportunities and to be honored as "Champions of Change." Both Kathy and Carlos will be blogging about their experiences in transforming kids' lives that will be included as a part of the White House blog. The "Champions of Change" initiative honors ordinary Americans for the extraordinary things they do in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.
Carlos and Kathy were also each featured as "Agentes de Cambio" by MTV Tr3s, an initiative that honors Latino community members, leaders, and celebrities making a difference in their communities.
"When I look into the eyes of the students that I work with, I see myself," said Carlos Mendoza. "Not too long ago, I was in their shoes. The least I can do is to give back and make them see that education is the gateway to better opportunities, to the world."
Born in Nicaragua, Carlos and his family moved to the United States when he was nine years old. As a non-English speaker, Carlos struggled through school initially. Through a teacher mentor, Carlos excelled in school and became involved in extracurricular activities, eventually graduating from high school and later from Cornell University as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Carlos served as a Senior Corps Member with City Year New York 2008-2010 and currently serves on the staff of City Year New York.
"Education is something we should invest in, because of the difference it can make in young people," said Kathy Sanchez. "A lot of the students in my community are students I can relate to. We have the same odds against us. I want to show them that despite those things, they can be successful."
Raised in South Central Los Angeles in a single parent Mexican household along with her six siblings, Kathy's mother stressed the importance of education. Kathy has become the first in her family to go to college, attending UCLA and graduating in 2009. She served as a tutor, mentor, and role model as a corps member with City Year Los Angeles in 2009-2011, and currently serves on the staff of City Year Los Angeles.
About City Year: City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988 that partners with public schools to provide full-time targeted intervention for students most at risk of dropping out. In more than 20 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, our teams of young AmeriCorps leaders support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs that keep kids in school and on track to graduate.
SOURCE City Year