Despite growing up in one of the largest and most vibrant Latino neighborhoods in New York City, Latino professionals in Washington Heights often seem invisible to Latino youth. There is a lack of safe space and programs that can unite these two demographics. In a community with a graduation rate of 66%, lower than the NYC average, Washington Heights students are surrounded by only 33% of college graduates. One of our goals at Operation Exodus is that our students from kindergarten through high school can connect and form a transformational relationship with individuals who can guide and give them exemplary professional advice. We attempt to foster those relationships between working NYC professionals who volunteer on a weekly basis, and through our Saturday mentoring program with our students. However, that is not enough – there is a whole community that is missing out on opportunities like ours and opportunities that have not yet been created.
The Esperanza’s goal is to unite Latino professionals within varying fields whether residing in Washington Heights or not, with the goal of helping empower uptown youth. Operation Exodus’ mission is to help guide Washington Heights/Inwood Latino youth into today’s workforce through mentorship, the Esperanza Summit allows community leaders to take an active role in reaching that goal. Having this opportunity to do so, gives an open door to talk about issues and how are we’re going to get our youth to college.
Esperanza: Bridging the Opportunity Gap for Latino Youth is a summit that showcases distinguished Washington Heights professionals who discuss how transformational relationships help lead to their success. Through lively discussion, and youth-oriented workshops, the Esperanza Summit will unite Latino professionals in brainstorming how they can begin to foster relationships with Latino youth and how Latino youth can see the leaders they are destined to be. From highlighting unique community figures in a panel discussion to creative and identity seminars; the summit creates a space whose sole focus is the youth in our community. Join Operation Exodus October 5th and 6th on to fill the opportunity gap faced by Latino youth.
We look forward to seeing you!