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With Community Support Latinx Students Are Graduating

Lidia Harding
Latino HEAT Programs Success Stories
Latino Heat Members Graduate

The Hispanic community is one of the fastest-growing populations in East King County. According to the 2019-20 Bellevue Human Services Needs Update, Hispanic students now make up 13% of the Bellevue School District. Historically these students had disproportionately lower graduation rates and higher truancy rates than their White and Asian peers.

Providing a safe space

Since 2011, thanks to funding from our community, YES has been able to reach out and support at-risk Hispanic students through our Latinx programs: Latino HEAT at Sammamish High School, Latinos Unidos at Redmond High School, and upcoming this fall, a new group at Juanita High School.

Ethnicity is a strength

Through these programs, our community is helping Hispanic students use their ethnicity as a strength, helping them develop self-esteem, leadership skills, and motivation to achieve academically. Through funding, not only do students have access to weekly support groups but their whole family is offered case management services such as helping with legal applications and referrals to community resources.

Giving back to those who gave

Youth in these programs are inspired to give back to the community that supports them by building unity across cultures and differences through cultural events, addressing systematic racism through talking circles with school administrators, and volunteering in community service.

YES program facilitator and former Latino HEAT member Judith Mercado says,

“When someone believes in you, it’s the best feeling. It encourages you to do well for the next generation.”

Your gift is making an impact

And thanks to our community, these programs are working!

In the 2010/2011 school year, for example, roughly 19 percent of Hispanic students dropped out of Sammamish High and 29 percent did so at Redmond High. Now, thanks to all the support, dropout rates at both schools are less than 2%!

In honor of #NationalMinorityMentalHealth month, we’d like to celebrate Latino HEAT and Latinos Unidos, two YES programs dedicated to supporting local Latinx youth and families. These East King County groups are a safe space for Latinx youth to make friends, connect with their culture and make a difference.

Learn more about YES’ Latinx Programs

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