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As the coronavirus pandemic has forced many schools to close, HISPA has suspended in-person programming. But HISPA remains committed to its mission, as the students we serve are at additional risk at this time. According to the Economic Policy Institute, schools with concentrated populations of children affected by COVID-19 and serious socioeconomic problems are able to devote less time and attention to distance-learning, and data predicts-and in some instances already shows-that many factors make Hispanic communities more vulnerable to these very issues. Hispanics disproportionately work in the country’s 10 lowest-paying jobs-jobs that also require their physical presence and do not offer telework options (Economic Policy Center, 2020). Job and wage losses due to COVID-19 have hit Hispanic adults the hardest, and Latinos who contract COVID-19 are dying at disproportionately higher rates (Pew Research Center, 2020).
These and many other barriers-including language and equipment access-are exploding the academic achievement gap that already exists between Hispanic students and their non-Hispanic peers. In times like this, it is more important than ever that students have access to positive, inspirational role models who encourage their continued academic achievement. In response to this need, HISPA has pivoted to an entirely virtual model as well as created ‘20,000 Stories for our Youth’, a web-based platform to collect Hispanic role models’ stories and share them in one place, all in a way that is easily accessible by Hispanic youth, their parents, teachers and counselors during the pandemic and beyond. By incorporating a virtual Role Model Program into students’ distance learning curriculum, students will continue to have access to motivational stories of hope.
HISPA Role Models still needed: 0