Latinos in Action


Jose Enrique came to the United States from El Salvador as a child, and he still remembers the first time he yearned to learn. His teacher, Ms. Yard gave him a book on photosynthesis, and he still talks about the experience to this day. Jose now runs the nonprofit, Latinos in Action (LIA). According to Peg Mcentee from the Salt Lake Tribune, Latinos in Action is, “a nonprofit junior high, high school and higher education program that emphasizes cognitive, social and linguistic skills that can help Latino students to become role models, mentors and tutors for their peers and younger students.”

The success of LIA is astounding, (according to Jose Enrique) Latinos in Action has a 98 percent high school graduation rate, and an 85 percent college admission rate. Those numbers sound even better when you realize that LIA is in over 94 schools across Utah, Idaho, Texas, and Washington.

Jose Enrique believes that his program is valuable across communities, and he spoke this week at the Governor’s Native American Summit at Utah Valley University. He believes that the same methods that work for Latin@ students can work for indigenous and Polynesian students. LIA requires students maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5, and commit to volunteer work at school and in the broader community. Student members are put in contact with mentors who have completed some form of college education, and other community leaders.

Latinos In Action is a wonderful addition to communities in the west, and we hope they continue to grow and impact other groups of students, including Native and Polynesian students. As always, you can make a difference in a local nonprofit agency by sending them just a few dollars. Your money might fund a student’s trip to the annual LIA conference, or help book a guest speaker who works with the youth. Either way, it is money well spent.

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