Esperanza,…celebrating 30yrs of success!
Commentary By Antonio Barrios, La Prensa Correspondent
Feb. 28, 2014:
Executive Director Victor Ruiz of Esperanza, Inc.
beamed with joy as the crowded space of Club Pura Vida
[located at 170 Euclid Avenue near Public Square in downtown
Cleveland] rocked with enthusiastic supporters, alumni, and
was the launch of Esperanza’s continuing efforts to engage the
college-bound students and graduates of local colleges with the
official formation of Esperanza’s alumni group.
who recently was elected as president of the board of the
Hispanic Alliance in Cleveland, spoke to La Prensa—he
explained his ideas when he first became the executive director
of Esperanza four years ago. “My plan was to focus on strategic
planning and find out what were the needs of the Hispanic
community in Cleveland.
“We proceed to
formulate a 5-year plan to answer those needs and can proudly
say we have not only met those needs but have exceeded our own
expectations. We have raised the graduation rate from 30 percent
citywide to 53 percent and have raised the graduation rate for
students in our program 75 percent.”
where he sees Esperanza in five years he emphasized: “Focus more
on the big picture, hopefully establishing several locations
around town, expanding more into the Hispanic community,
engaging more schools, providing more services to college
students, and beginning to create a regional presences.”
exclusive interview with La Prensa newspaper, the 6-year
president of the board of Esperanza, Inc.—Felicia Soto,
who was recently awarded the President Emeritus title and who is
the new president of the alumni group—stated: “We have been
talking about the idea for some time now; we looked for more
resources as Esperanza celebrated it 30 years of commitment to
the community and the future leaders.”
Ms. Soto, some of the purposes of this new alumni group will be
to: ‘reconnect with the graduate students, to follow-up with
them to see where they are, and to network. But mostly to help
the alumni give back to the community by mentoring and helping
the current students in the Esperanza programs.’
Ms. Soto, Esperanza will: “ask for feedback on their programs,
evaluate the experience, and then make it better. The alumni
group will also help identify alumni, provide leadership, plan
events, and create and support an alumni scholarship.”
Adria Hankey-Brown is the
coordinator of volunteers and alumni who will be running the
programs. Before she was hired by Esperanza, Adria had come from
a 1˝ year stint at AmeriCorps. Her present duties will be
divided between volunteers and alumni. For the volunteers, the
plan is to recruit and then place in the best suited programs.
After training, the volunteers will be placed into the structure
alumni, the job is to recruit the graduates from 1983 to 2012,
to engage them in volunteer work with Esperanza, and to help
them network to gain employment. Ms. Hankey-Brown’s plans are to
pursue a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management. She is also
an artist and loves to paint and sculpture.
At the launch
party was Jonathan Anderson—chief fashion designer at
Anderson Couture— who discussed networking for his upcoming
fundraiser on March 21 at the City Hall Rotunda. The proceeds
will be going to Esperanza. He was also mentored by Esperanza
and it helped him graduate at the top of his class.
was recently interviewed on the TV program Kaleidoscope. The
event was a huge success for Esperanza. He is highly respected
in the community not only by Latinos but also by the many
corporations and foundations that support the organizations that
work in the community.
For the past
30 years, Esperanza, Inc. is truly an
that has been producing incredible results for future
generations of leaders and civic-minded graduates.