Latino Youth Conference to focus on ‘Power of Dreams’



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Feb. 28, 2014 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A young man who was the first in his family to go to college will be the keynote speaker for Grand Rapids Community College’s 15th annual Latino Youth Conference on March 4.

Gabe Salazar will encourage eighth-graders from throughout West Michigan to look beyond the goal of high school graduation to higher education. The theme of the free conference, sponsored by GRCC’s Bob & Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center, is El Poder De Soñar (the Power of Dreams). It runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in GRCC’s Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE. Following the keynote address, students will participate in various workshops in education, youth leadership, career preparation and self-esteem.

Over the past 14 years, 14,000 students have attended this conference and $35,000 in scholarships have been awarded. Organized by the Diversity Learning Center and a steering committee comprised of various businesses, nonprofit organizations and school districts, the Latino Youth Conference will host more than 1,000 eighth-graders from throughout West Michigan.

“The true dedication of the committee and the generous support and resources of the Kent Intermediate School District, GRCC and Grand Rapids Public Schools, along with area colleges and businesses, have made this the premier conference for eighth-graders in the state,” said Christina Arnold, director of the Diversity Learning Center. “The ability to make this a sustainable reality over the past 15 years is an indication of the commitment to our youth by these institutions and the West Michigan community.”

GRCC encourages the entire community to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate a need for an accommodation, or have questions about accessibility, please call Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at (616) 234-3390 in advance of your visit or program participation.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.