McDonald's announced the latest extension to its national Hispanic education program with the launch of Latinos Rumbo al College, a free webinar series developed in conjunction with non-profit organization Latinos in College (LIC) and LULAC National Educational Service Centers (LNESC). The new webinar series was created to make the college process simple and attainable for both Hispanic students and their parents by leveraging LIC's expertise in developing interactive content that will be delivered in a culturally sensitive way through a trusted community partner and premier educational service organization, LNESC. The first of the bilingual webinars, titled "On the Track to College," was broadcasted live today from the LULAC National Convention in Orlando, Fla., in front of an audience of students, parents, educators and community stakeholders.
"As a long-standing partner of Hispanic education, McDonald's understands that some of the main barriers preventing Hispanic students from obtaining a college degree are misconceptions about financing a college education and unfamiliarity with the college application process," said Cristina Vilella, U.S. marketing director for McDonald's USA. "Through the new Latinos Rumbo al College webinar series we will reach thousands of Hispanic students and parents with an interactive resource, in English and Spanish, to help them navigate their way to college."
Today's webinar featured 2009 RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipient Luis Duran, the son of Salvadoran immigrants who just finished his junior year at Arizona State University where he is studying to become an architect. Luis talked about his experience attending college despite financial difficulty and lack of familiarity with the college application process. The webinar also offered practical tips for parents and students to get on the track to college – including the importance of building a support network of other college-bound students.
"College starts as an almost unreachable dream for many Latino students," said webinar host and designer Mariela Dabbah, who founded Latinos in College to help students find the resources, tools and connections they need to successfully graduate. "There's nothing wrong with dreaming. But if you want to make it to college, you need to connect your dreams with actions. You need to find the right people and resources to support that dream so it becomes a reality."
LNESC, the education arm of LULAC, serves 11,000 students annually with direct educational services in underserved communities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. LNESC will roll out the Latinos Rumbo al College program through its unique network of community-based education centers and long-standing school partners, offering the webinars as a vital resource for counselors and teachers. LNESC's commitment to the new program also includes coordinating with LULAC and its technology affiliates to integrate the webinar series as a resource across its network of 42 technology centers.
"The majority of our school partners have high student-to-counselor ratios, making it prohibitively difficult for counselors to deliver critical college access information to talented high school students most in need of this information," said Richard Roybal, LNESC executive director. "Through our relationship with McDonald's and LIC, we will be empowering thousands of educators, students, and, most importantly, Spanish-dominant parents who will finally have access to the bilingual information they need to make their children's dreams of going to college a reality."
The Latinos Rumbo al College series will continue in the fall with the following webinars, which will be made available in English and Spanish:
• "Acing Scholarship Applications" – Wednesday, September 5th
• "Finding Mentors and Building a Support System" – Wednesday, October 3rd
• "Mastering the College Application Process" – Wednesday, November 7th
For more information about the upcoming Latinos Rumbo al College webinars, and to register for the free sessions, please log on to http://event.xfactorcom.com/sd/mcds/20120629/>. For more information about McDonald's commitment to education visit www.MeEncanta.com or follow us @MeEncanta.