The National Hispanic Institute is a non-profit organization that develops Latino youth to become potential world leaders by training them in a series of programs for high school and undergraduate students. We challenge our talented youth to develop themselves culturally, intellectually, and socially and encourage them to use their leadership skills to become better citizens and members of their communities. All training and programs are run by volunteers, such as myself. In an average year, I will spend a minimum of 500 hours training freshmen for the Young Leaders Conference, or making trips around the country to staff programs.
In the four years I have actively participated within the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), I have grown as an individual, a leader, and in my ethnic culture. I am more aware of my Latino community and the role I can play in making a difference for the future. I have spent hours volunteering my time and energy in training extemporaneous debate and have received the greatest rewards from the fruit of my labor as the students that I train go off to competition and do exceptionally well. I remember being in competition myself and feeling ashamed because I could not debate in both English and Spanish, and I did not know the popular Latino music and simple everyday slang. I made a promise to myself that I was going to change, I no longer was interested in being consumed by American mainstream; I wanted to not only learn but become a living, breathing, vibrant example of my culture. I was a new person upon arriving home, like many other people who participate in all of NHI’s programs. My mind was open to think outside of the box in what we like to call the 3rd Reality, in which there are no limitations on what can be achieve. I polished my leadership skills and continue to utilize them in my day to day life. I will be forever grateful to the organization’s founder Ernesto Nieto and his wife Gloria De Leon for providing a series of programs that challenge and develop well rounded Latino leaders. I look forward to the summer time so I can volunteer my time and do my part in insuring that the teens who come after me will be able to have the same or better experience then what I had. This organization has truly become my passions and I plan to give back to it what it has given me.
Recently, I was asked to train to become a Secretary of State at the Lorenzo De Zavala Youth Legislative Session for the summer of 2008. This is a huge honor considering that I am only the second female to train. I have also been awarded other honors from the Institute including, All-Star Extemporaneous Speaker and the Major League Award. I have made life long friends who live within the United States and other countries such as, Spain and Mexico. With the help of NHI I have touched the lives of over 500 teens just like me. Empowerment does not even begin to describe the benefits of participating in all NHI’s programs. With the skills I have developed I have achieved success in all of my endeavors, notably becoming one of the youngest associates ever hired by the CHISTUS Spohn Health System. This is only the beginning for me, and I plan to work for the National Hispanic Institute and give all that I have to ensure that the legacy created by its founders continue throughout the coming decades.
For more information please visit: http://www.nhi-net.org/