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HISPA Honors Debra Joy Pérez of Annie E. Casey Foundation at Three Kings Banquet

ESPN, Bristol-Myers Squibb Organization for Latino Achievement and
UPS Employee, also Recognized

Princeton, NJ, January 6, 2015 – Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) will honor Debra Joy Pérez, Vice President Research, Evaluation and Learning, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, with the HISPA Leadership in Mentoring Award at its 7th annual Three Kings (the three Wise Men) banquet. The event will take place on January 15 at the Hotel Woodbridge in Metropark, N.J. starting at 6 p.m.


Growing up in Trenton, N.J., Pérez was one of nine children in a low-income Puerto Rican family. She recalls how the caring act of a guidance counselor, who paid her $25 college application fee, set in motion an educational journey that culminated in two master’s degrees and a Harvard Ph.D. Pérez’s proudest endeavor is the “$25 Fund,” which she launched at the Princeton Area Community Foundation (http://pacf.org/testimonial-post/debra-joy-perez/) to provide “whatever it takes” to help talented youth of color get to college and succeed.”
In addition, HISPA will present its “Transform” award to ESPN as the Sponsor of the Year, its “Inspire” award to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Organization for Latino Achievement as the Champion of the Year and its “Share” award to Manfred Morales of United Parcel Service, as the Role Model of the Year.
“ESPN is proud to be the founding sponsor of HISPA in New York City. We value the strong relationship we have with sports fans in the Latino / Hispanic community and demonstrate it by supporting the development our youth,” said Monica Diaz, VP of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness at ESPN. “Our Latino / Hispanic Employee Resource Group, GOAL!, has embraced the relationship with HISPA, to inspire young students to pursue higher education,” said Monica.
“Through the HISPA Role Model Program,” said Manfred Morales, “I was able to go back home and speak with some of the students in my old neighborhood, just a few blocks from where I lived when I was in middle school. I had the opportunity to let these young boys and girls know that ‘yes they can’ achieve great things through education.”
Now in its seventh year, HISPA conducts its programs throughout New Jersey, New York City and San Antonio, Texas. The Three Kings banquet coincides with the traditional gift-giving period of the Nativity in Latin America. HISPA selected this theme to thank those whose gifts of support and volunteerism assure the success of its programs.
The event gathers some 300 corporate, nonprofit, government, education and community leaders. It celebrates the 1,500 supporters and volunteers who share their stories with middle school students, inspiring them to stay in school, graduate and use education to fulfill their dreams.
HISPA’s 2015 Annual Partners are Comcast, ESPN, ETS, Verizon and Southwest Airlines. This year’s Banquet Sponsors are Investors Bank, PNC Bank, PSEG, Merck, UPS, Verizon and Wells Fargo.
“Our award recipients exemplify the gifts that HISPA brings to students,” says Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse, founder and president of HISPA. “They tell inspirational stories that showcase the power of education, and inspire students to realize their dreams.”
Media Contact: Michelle Peal (908) 313-4178 or mpeal@ets.org
Banquet Contact: Mildred Medina at 732-826-0415 or mmedina@hispa.org.
Tickets and additional information: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/hispa-2015-annual-three-kings-banquet-a-gala…