In Newark, Hispanic Role Models Commit to Inspiring Student Achievement

Hispanic Role Models Commit to Inspiring Student Achievement

HISPA Celebrates Historic Kick Off with Hosts Prudential and Hispanic Heritage Network


Princeton, N.J. – Nonprofit HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement), Prudential and Hispanic Heritage Network (HHN), the company’s Hispanic-serving Business Resource Group, will host a diverse group of employees to kick off a new academic year of role model programs for New Jersey youth. Also in partnership with Wells Fargo Latin Team Member Network and Latino Networks Coalition, the annual HISPA Role Model Program Kick-Off and Recruiting Event, themed “With the Endless Power of Our Voices,” will be held September 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Prudential in Newark, N.J.

HISPA mobilizes Latino professionals to visit local classrooms, share their stories, and introduce students to college and career opportunities. This event will bring together more than 200 such professionals dedicated to inspiring Hispanic youth to achieve their full potential.

“Prudential’s role in piloting this program is to help one of the fastest growing populations in America find professional role models,” said Joe Hayes, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Prudential Group Insurance. “We are proud to host the HISPA event and support programming that connects Hispanic youth to unique opportunities for growth, putting them on a pathway to long-term, sustainable success and helping them achieve financial wellness.”

HISPA’s first Kick-Off was held ten years ago, shortly after the idea for HISPA first began when the organization’s now-CEO, Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, stepped into a Newark classroom. She saw so many young Hispanic students who reminded her of herself as a child and was moved to share the obstacles she faced growing up in Puerto Rico. As a girl with a passion for math, teachers doubted her ability and discouraged her from pursuing an advanced degree. She found a role model in a Puerto Rican professor who had earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in the U.S. Inspired, she went on to do the same.

After speaking, a young Latina approached her and said, “Now I know I can pursue a Ph.D., too.” Diaz-Claisse realized that Hispanic youth could not aspire to something they didn’t see. She left her ten-year career behind to lead HISPA.

HISPA has since made 984 classroom visits and reached more than 10,000 students.  The Kick-Off event will continue HISPA’s movement to share 20,000 stories by year 2020, an effort that continues forward because of recent funding from Wells Fargo, Investors Bank, the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development, and Southwest Airlines, HISPA’s official airline partner.

“I am in awe of what we have been able to accomplish since our first Kick-Off in 2008,” said Diaz-Claisse. “I began with the goal of recruiting 100 role models and today we have more than 2,500. I am honored to work with such accomplished volunteers and am excited to welcome more Hispanic professionals dedicated to inspiring the next generation.”

For more details or to register to attend, visit: https://2018-nj-kickoff.eventbrite.com

For more information about HISPA, visit www.hispa.org.