The HISPA Role Model Bureau kicks off its 5th year on September 25 during a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration hosted by the Merck Hispanos Organization.
WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ, September 24 – Scores of Hispanic professionals will enlist in a role model program on September 25 that will put them in middle school classrooms to inspire students to excel and go on to higher education. The 5th annual “kick-off” and recruiting event will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Merck Headquarters in Whitehouse Station, NJ.
Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) kicks off its Role Model Program during Hispanic Heritage Month. The theme of the “kick-off” is "Hope for our youth in a changing America.” The reception and program allow HISPA to highlight recent achievements and recruit volunteers to serve as role models for students to pursue higher education. The program offers a valuable networking experience for professionals from academia, government, business and non-profit sectors.
Tony Álvarez, president of MSD, Japan, will be the keynote speaker. A Cuban American, he will share his life and professional story and instill in others the vital importance of role models for our youth.
In addition, Carlos Ojeda, Jr., CEO of CoolSpeak, will train volunteers and give an inspirational presentation titled “Know your Role, Model the Change.” Ojeda is a nationally recognized motivational speaker who has addressed tens of thousands of students and young professionals across the country.
Álvarez and Ojeda were chosen to speak because their educational journey and professional careers are outstanding examples of overcoming challenges and achieving success. Their participation will help new role model recruits forge the future of new generations.
Merck’s Hispanic Employee Resource Group, Merck Hispanos Organization (MHO), is co-hosting the event. Many of its members are active HISPA Role Models. “We are proud to support HISPA in launching its educational programs for its 5th year. There is so much work to be done to lift up our fellow Latinos,” said Pat Reyes, the Merck Hispanic/Latino Employee & Business Resource Group Leader. “The educational statistics are devastating. We need to start and end with the children in mind. What better way than to be a role model. What a great opportunity. Change starts with us. Let’s make a difference.”
“We are honored to join MHO in this Hispanic Heritage Month recognition of our role models and their dedication to help our young people,” said Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, president of HISPA “We are pleased that our vision to get into classrooms to share our stories and inspire young people has become a reality.”
HISPA is a New Jersey-based national non-profit organization dedicated to contributing to America’s future by inspiring Latino students’ academic performance and mobilizing Latino professionals to serve as role models in educational programs. The majority of the role models are in STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
To date, more than 700 professional leaders have become volunteers through HISPA’s year-round Role Model program since its inception in September 2008. Emphasizing their educational and professional achievements accomplishments, they have visited schools in New Brunswick, Paterson, Summit, Red Bank, Trenton, Elizabeth, Jersey City, and Perth Amboy.
In 2011-2012, more than 300 volunteers shared their stories with 1,000 students during repeated visits to 18 schools and at the HISPA 2012 Youth Conference at Princeton University in June.