UnidosNow welcomes “First generation” college applicants (the first in their families to attend college) in grades 9-12 from Sarasota and Manatee county high schools to the 3rd Annual College Prep Fair on Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the campus of USF Sarasota-Manatee. UnidosNow is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to elevate the quality of life of the area’s growing Latino community through education, integration, and civic engagement.
This free event will offer a series of comprehensive workshops on relevant topics such as selecting the right college or vocational program, filling out financial aid forms, and preparing for SAT and ACT tests. Representatives from local four-year and two-year colleges and vocational schools will be available to talk with prospective students, provide information about their institution and answer questions.
“Although this event is open to the public, this is a great opportunity for Latino students to pursue their dream of going to college,” said Cathaleen Kaiyoorawongs, director of education initiatives for UnidosNow. “Currently, Latinos represent approximately 24 percent of the total K-12 student population in Florida, yet only 6.2 percent of full-time college students (both undergraduate and graduate students) in October 2010 were Hispanic. Within 14 years, the percentage of high school students represented by Latinos will be approximately 44 percent and 30 percent in Manatee and Sarasota counties, respectively.”
UnidosNow works closely with a wide range of partners such as USF Sarasota-Manatee, Take Stock in Children, Community Youth Development (CYD) and counselors from the Sarasota and Manatee county school systems in a model of increased cooperation that can help create a sustainable educational movement for Latinos. UnidosNow also strives to connect with disenfranchised Latino communities, including families and places of worship, to strengthen the overall support system for students and parents.
“Latinos’ ability to secure a good education will have major ramifications, not only for Latinos, but for the general population of Southwest Florida,” said Kaiyoorawongs.
For more information or to register for this event, please visit www.unidosnow.us or call (877) 598-4466.