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Hundreds of Hispanic Professionals Commit to “A Present of Action”

East Brunswick NJ, September 23, 2014 – Hispanic professionals from academia, government, business and the non-profit sectors will gather at the PNC Bank Atrium located at Two Tower Center Blvd. in East Brunswick, NJ for the Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) Role Model Program Kick-Off and Recruiting Event on Tuesday, Sept. 23 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. (https://hispa2014nj.eventbrite.com)


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. Many of the professionals who have joined this initiative are in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. To date, more than 1,000 Latino professionals have become volunteers and support educational programs in New Jersey, New York City and San Antonio.
The purpose of the Kick-Off and Recruiting event is to highlight the organizations’ recent achievements, to recommit to providing support to 20 schools and to recruit new volunteers to serve as role models for middle school students. HISPA Role Models visit classrooms and participate in youth conferences to share their personal and professional journeys, highlight their accomplishments and show the students that it is ok to dream and that through education they, too, can achieve their goals.
“Research shows that students who have a role model or mentor usually do well in school and in life,” said Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, Ph.D., the founder and president of HISPA. “I am humbled as I reflect on the inspiring stories of the individuals who have joined our efforts.”
A panel of leaders in the private and public sectors will tell attendees how their volunteerism has impacted them on a personal and professional level:
Ray de la Cruz, JD/MBA, New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and Executive Vice President, NSHMBA New Jersey Chapter
Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, Founder and Chairman, Hispanic Leadership Summit of New Jersey
José Piazza, Vice President of Finance for the Consumer and Mass Business Group, Verizon, and HISPA Board of Directors
Denise Rivera, Co-Chair, Bristol-Myers Squibb Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA).
Closing remarks will be delivered by Vanessa Nazario, Vice President of Community Development for PNC Bank.
The Kick-Off and Recruiting event is also a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. For HISPA it is a special time to celebrate the achievements of those who have joined their efforts to inspire students to pursue higher education.
“Latino students are fast becoming the majority of our public school enrollment. In many states they already make up the majority, but unacceptably high numbers of them are still likely to drop out of high school and are less likely to attend college. This is a problem we need to fix,” said Yvette Donado, senior vice president of Educational Testing Service (ETS), and a board member of HISPA.
The HISPA volunteers believe that their efforts can help increase the number of Hispanic high school and college graduates, and hope that more will join their ranks as active role models. “It’s such a great feeling to know that I have a powerful story to share, and that as a HISPA Role Model I can make a difference in a child’s life,” said Vanessa Nazario from PNC Bank. “Once you meet the students you feel great about yourself, about being part of this initiative, and most important, hopeful about the future. By hosting this event, we are supporting HISPA in encouraging others to join our efforts.”
In New Jersey, HISPA Role Model Program funders for the 2014-2015 school year include ETS, Investors Bank Foundation, Novartis Foundation, Hackensack Schools, PNC Bank, and the BMS Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA).
HISPA’s annual corporate partners are Educational Testing Service, Comcast and Southwest Airlines, HISPA’s official airline partner.
HISPA will also host a Kick-Off and Recruiting Event in New York City on October 8, in partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE NYC), hosted by Microsoft and with the sponsorship of ESPN.