News Column

Hispanic Youth Mentoring Grads Get Certificates

May 10, 2013

Recent graduates of the "Passport to Success" Hispanic Youth Leadership Mentoring Program at Elkhardt Middle School received certificates signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Vestal Kelly on Thursday.

Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce program coordinator Lisa Zajur said the recognition was unexpected but welcome. She also received a request from an Old Dominion University representative to help duplicate the mentorship program in Norfolk.

Every Wednesday for 13 weeks, Hispanic professionals met their students at Elkhardt Middle School's media center during their lunch hour to discuss student goals, time and stress management, and what success can look like.

The mentorship program stresses the importance of education for the Hispanic community, which has the highest dropout rate among all ethnic groups, according to the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

It is part of the chamber's larger "Passport to Education Initiative" featuring workshops with high school students and their families.

The chamber wants to "make sure that kids are motivated and stay in school," Zajur said. "Making it a family program and helping parents understand that it is better for students to stay in school instead of entering the workforce early."

The next workshop, about college preparation, will be 10 a.m. to noon June 1 at the Sacred Heart Center, 1400 Perry St. Topics include SAT test preparation, visiting colleges and navigating the FAFSA system.

For more information about the "Passport to Success" program contact Lisa Zajur at

(804) 649-6243


(c)2013 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.)

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Source: Copyright Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) 2013

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