• SLI-SHC-Canastas flyer
    News,  Richmond

    Partnership offers $1,000 scholarship for second year

    For the second year, graduating seniors in the Sacred Heart Center (SHC) College & Career-Bound Program can apply to receive a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by Canastas Chicken Restaurants, SHC, Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI), and an anonymous donor.

    Last year’s recipient was Elizabeth, a graduate of Huguenot High School in Richmond with a goal of studying business and becoming a Realtor.

    “There should be no obstacles in life to prohibit you from doing what you really want to do,” she wrote in her scholarship application. “I want to be able to help people find their economical and comfortable home for their future family. In order for me to be able to help out I will have to study very hard and be focused in school.”

    Students can apply for the scholarship here.

    About the sponsors:

    • Canastas Chicken Restaurants has locations in Glen Allen, Richmond, and Henrico, and boasts “the best Pollo a la Brasa you will ever try.” 
    • Sacred Heart Center (SHC) supports Latinos in Richmond through programs such as adult education, family literacy, citizenship classes, and more. 
    • Scholars Latino Initiative supports Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships in Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Winchester.
  • Ariel 2022
    Gratitude,  Meet SLI Scholars,  Richmond

    A letter of gratitude from Ariel, SLI scholar

    Dear SLI Community of Support,

    As a SLI scholar alumnus, I want to express my gratitude to you for your support.

    As an immigrant student, my personal and academic journey has taught me a lot about resilience and persistence. With the help of SLI and even as an English learner in high school, I was able to rank 10th in my class. Now as an undergraduate student in college, I have been on the dean’s list since my first year. 

    Participating in SLI helped me gain vital soft and hard skills that prepared me for my academic career. Additionally, I was able to improve and excel in leadership skills, participating in state-level events and competitions such as the Virginia Future Business Leaders of America and Virginia Boys State of the American Legion.

    After earning a college degree I want to become a politician or policy analyst. I will serve my community, specifically the helpless and unprotected people, the ones fighting the odds of socioeconomic, cultural, and even immigration situations, the ones suffering inequality and injustices. 

    Your support for SLI helps young Latinx students with incredible potential who will give back to their communities, and overall, the entire nation. As is often said, “We cannot help everyone – but everyone can help someone.” If we have the possibility to contribute to a good cause, why should we abstain from doing it? By helping someone, or in this case SLI, we help ourselves in the long run.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Ariel
    Huguenot High School ’20
    Eastern Mennonite University ’24

    Photo credit: Eastern Mennonite University

  • Richmond SLI 2022 graduation
    Events,  Meet SLI Scholars,  News,  Richmond

    SLI alumna speaks to graduating scholars in Richmond

    Photos courtesy of Cris Ramallo Photography: SLI alumna Rubi speaks to graduating SLI scholars and their families; SLI scholars and mentors with Rubi, SLI program director Ester Orellano, SLI founder Peter Iver Kaufman, and Richmond SLI mentor interim president Sofie Martinez; Rubi, an alumna of the University of Richmond School of Business and of the original SLI. Watch Rubi’s 2021 interview


    The following is an excerpt of the April 2022 speech to graduating Richmond SLI scholars and their families by Rubi, an alumna of the University of Richmond School of Business and of the original Scholars Latino Initiative.

    When I was a sophomore in high school, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI). 

    It had always been my dream to go to college, and when I toured colleges I would get so excited – but always with a nervous feeling in the back of my mind because I didn’t actually know how I would be able to make it to college. The obstacles seemed so daunting. Not only was I clueless about the college application and admissions process, but also – how would I even pay for college? 

    SLI gave me and my parents hope, and reinforced my belief that if I was dedicated and determined to fight my way through, I could actually go to college! I realized I had to work even harder than some of my high school peers to get to college, but this newfound challenge of getting my grades up to ensure I could qualify for any college drove me to partner even closer with my SLI mentors and peers, as well as with my high school teachers and even with my parents, to execute on a solid gameplan. 

    I will admit: It was a challenging process. There was so much I didn’t know about the college application process, and my parents didn’t know either, since they had never had the chance to go to college. I would have been so lost had it not been for SLI, my mentor, my other peers in the program, and, of course, SLI founder Peter Kaufman. I had tons of questions at all times, and my parents did, too, but we were blessed to have this incredibly patient and dedicated team helping us get through them all. And eventually, I got accepted into my top-choice school!

    I knew that graduating from college would help level the playing field for me as a Latina in the professional world, and I’m proud to say that thanks to my education and the invaluable support I’ve received throughout the years from the SLI family, I now have an amazing job in Washington, DC at the world’s leading IT research and business advisory firm. 

    SLI not only creates high-caliber students, but incredibly well-rounded individuals with a generous spirit who go on to give even more to their communities and become essential parts of society. 

    In closing, I want to wish you all the absolute best in your next adventure! There will be challenges for sure, but when you find yourself intimidated or disheartened, always remember this: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” You’re a fighter, you’ve always been a fighter, and that’s why you’ve been handpicked to be in this great program. You have been armed with an incredible network of support, already with so many accomplishments under you, and you will continue to thrive.  

    I look forward to hearing about all your future successes because I know you will go on to accomplish so many great things! 

  • Events,  Gratitude,  Harrisonburg,  Meet SLI Scholars,  News,  Richmond,  Winchester

    SLI scholars share joy and gratitude during the Great Community Give

    “What brings you joy?” Watch SLI scholars Guadalupe, Israel, Amy, Rosely, and Gabriela share in this video for the Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham’s Great Community Give:

    During the campaign 39 donors contributed $9,350 to SLI’s mission to support Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships. Thank you!

  • Meybelline
    Gratitude,  Meet SLI Scholars,  Richmond

    Thank you! from Meybelline, SLI scholar

    My family and I are very grateful for the SLI computer award. Yesterday my mom and I went to buy the computer I needed for my first year at Virginia Union University. As of today, I will start a few of my classes virtually, and the computer will be a great help (I am emailing you from it).

    I am beyond thankful for this opportunity. My mother works really hard to support me and my sister in everything she can. She’s a strong, amazing woman, always supporting us and being there for us. This award was a blessing for me and we are very thankful.

    Best regards,
    Meybelline and family
    Huguenot High School ’21
    Virginia Union University ’25

  • Harrisonburg,  News,  Richmond,  Winchester

    Graduating SLI scholars name university picks

    PHOTO: Harrisonburg SLI’s graduating scholars are (from left) Savannah, Lisbet, Eliana, Leslie, Helen, Jennifer, Luisana, Jan, Noel, and Daniella.

    This year’s 22 graduating Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI) scholars – 10 in Harrisonburg, five in Richmond, and seven in Winchester – have announced their higher education plans. They will attend:

    • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of Richmond
    • University of Virginia
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
    • Virginia Tech University
    • Virginia Union University
    • The College of William & Mary
    • James Madison University
    • Eastern Mennonite University
    • Bridgewater College
    • Blue Ridge Community College
    • Lord Fairfax Community College
    • Northern Virginia Community College

    “These scholars represent a positive future for our communities,” said Carlos Alemán, university professor and SLI program director in Harrisonburg. “We’re proud of them and look forward to hearing about their successes in college and beyond.”

    SLI supports Latinx high school students through college access program opportunities and access to dual enrollment tuition assistance, computer awards, and college scholarships, awarding $364,800 in direct student support to date.

    In addition to providing direct financial support, SLI collaborates with local university faculty and high school teachers to offer its scholars rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, and supportive mentorships, all of which help prepare students for college.

    “I am a first-generation student,” said Amy (Handley High School ’21) in a recent interview. “Lots of people think that it’s just like going to school and getting good grades, but sometimes it’s about building connections.” 

    Her SLI mentor “really helped me a lot,” Amy said. “I didn’t really know the whole application process and I didn’t know how early you should start, but she would keep texting me and reminding me.”

    READ AND WATCH AMY’S INTERVIEW

    With her new university experiences beginning in just weeks, Amy is looking forward to building new connections.

    “I hope I have a good first day, because I’m going to be meeting a lot of people, a lot of teachers, and trying to get my way around,” she said. “But I’m excited.”

    ADDITIONAL NEWS:

  • Meet SLI Scholars,  News,  Richmond

    SLI scholar interview: Guadalupe ’24

    Richmond SLI scholar Guadalupe ’24 enjoys photography, baking, and school – and “will work hard” in SLI toward a professional career.

    What are some of your interests? 
    I enjoy listening to music, as well as working with photography (see above) during my leisure time. Occasionally I am found in the kitchen baking. I enjoy baking brownies as they are a joy to eat and the process is easy. I love attending all my classes, personally I enjoy English and Career and Technical Education classes.

    What would you like to share about your family? 
    I am the oldest daughter of three children. I live with both my father and mother as well as my siblings. My parents have always been supportive of my decisions and have helped me grow as a person full of respect, discipline, and humbleness. I have lived in Richmond ever since I was born.

    What are your college and career goals? 
    I aspire to attend college because I would like to be open to opportunities that can help me enter a professional career. Lawyers and business leaders have always been top interests for me.

    How did you learn about SLI, and why did you decide to join? SLI site coordinator Ms. Orellana introduced me to SLI. This program prepares you for college and how college works. I am thankful for the program, for Professor Kaufman and all the resources associated with SLI. I hope to learn a lot from this program and will work hard.

    >MEET MORE SLI SCHOLARS

  • News,  Richmond

    Partnership with Sacred Heart Center Names Scholarship Recipient

    PHOTO: Elizabeth (second from right) is the recipient of the 2021 “For Your Success” college scholarship award sponsored by Canastas Chicken Restaurants, Sacred Heart Center (SHC), Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI), and an anonymous donor. With her are (from left) Elizabeth Solano, youth programs coordinator at SHC; Lyons Sanchezconcha, a member of the SLI Advisory Council; and Ever Guevara Rodriguez, Canastas owner.

    A 2021 graduate of Huguenot High School in Richmond is the recipient of the 2021 “For Your Success” college scholarship, sponsored by Canastas Chicken Restaurants, Sacred Heart Center, Scholars Latino Initiative, and an anonymous donor.

    Elizabeth was selected to receive the $1,000 award. She plans to study business at Virginia Commonwealth University and become a Realtor.

    “There should be no obstacles in life to prohibit you from doing what you really want to do,” she wrote in her scholarship application. “I want to be able to help people find their economical and comfortable home for their future family. In order for me to be able to help out I will have to study very hard and be focused in school.”

    Students in the Sacred Heart Center College & Career-Bound Program were eligible to apply for the scholarship, whose sponsors included:

    • Canastas Chicken Restaurants has locations in Glen Allen, Richmond, and Henrico, and boasts “the best Pollo a la Brasa you will ever try.” 
    • Sacred Heart Center (SHC) supports Latinos in Richmond through programs such as adult education, family literacy, citizenship classes, and more. 
    • Scholars Latino Initiative supports Latinx high school students through college access opportunities, with programs in Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Winchester.

    “Along with our partners, we are delighted to support our determined students,” said Elizabeth Solano, youth programs coordinator at SHC. “We look forward to Elizabeth’s success in college and beyond.”

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