I AM LATINO
Our supporters made 2015 a year full of victories for Latino youth and their families. Your hard work and perseverance isn’t just having an impact; you’re helping us define on our own terms what it means to be Latino.
WHO AM I?
I AM LATINA AND I ADVOCATE
  •  You made your voice heard on issues that affect families' lives.
    The political and social landscape is changing, and elected officials no longer have a choice of whether to engage with Latino voters, but rather how they will do so. For us, there is no better time than now to stand tall and proud and say: I am Latino, and I am an advocate. Just as they have for nearly 50 years, the NCLR Affiliate Network stands prepared to seize this opportunity and propel our community forward. With an active membership of 268 organizations around the nation, the NCLR Affiliate Network reaches more than eight million individuals every year. Together, we remain a formidable challenge to any policy that threatens to undermine the prosperity of Latinos in America. Access to quality health care is critical to the success of Latinos, yet states like Florida continue to limit this access to our families and other low-income Americans. That’s why in 2015, NCLR and its network of Affiliates in the state launched an advocacy campaign to expand Medicaid access in Florida—a policy that could help more than 800,000 Floridians gain access to health coverage. In California, the California Affiliate Network did something Congress failed to do in 2015—protect immigrant families. At their annual California Latino Policy Summit, leaders from across the network convened to join advocacy efforts in support of the Immigrants Shape California Package—a set of proposals designed to protect immigrants, provide increased opportunity, and advance the principle of justice for all. In Washington, DC, the threat of snow did not stop more than 300 Latino leaders from attending the National Latino Advocacy Days. Joined by youth from the Líderes Congreso, NCLR denounced an anti-immigrant agenda in Congress and attacks on President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. While a sensible solution to comprehensive immigration reform has failed to materialize in Congress, the NCLR Affiliate Network is ready to advocate and help our immigrant families fulfill the American Dream. There is no doubt. The NCLR Affiliate Network remains a powerful force to be reckoned with.
I am a voter. I am a leader. I am an advocate.
I AM LATINA AND I AM THE FUTURE
  •  A little girl learning English will join the five million students who will no longer sit quietly in the back of the classroom.
    A cross-country move is hard on anyone, especially a kid. For a student still learning to speak and understand English, it can feel like backsliding down a steep hill. Now, not only does he have to contend with a new school and making new friends, but also a new workload and new expectations. He’s integrated into mainstream classes before he’s ready and quickly falls behind. But thanks to NCLR’s victory with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), he can now pick up right where he left off. New methods of accountability for each student’s progress make it clear if a student is falling behind, and increased funding for English language learners means newer materials, better resources, and more effective teaching methods. Now, success is encouraged for the five million English language learners who, for far too long, had been overlooked by outdated education policies. Our education programs are prepared to seize this policy win and guide students through the new system and out into the future. Starting with Padres Comprometidos, parents are able to become more involved in their children’s schools and familiarized with the U.S. public school system. In high school, Escalera exposes students to different career paths, encouraging them to dream big, while the Líderes program develops their skills to be the next generation of American leaders. By the time graduation rolls around, that student’s chances of success have skyrocketed, and he’s ready to face the world with the same knowledge and skills as his peers. Whether he moves on to college or heads straight into the workforce, together with NCLR and the Affiliate Network, we will make sure he puts his best foot forward and doesn’t end up two steps behind.
I AM LATINA AND I AM TOMORROW'S WORKFORCE
  •  Her future looks brighter knowing that whatever career she chooses, NCLR will continue to fight for her to ensure she has basic workplace protections.
    In the dim light of the early morning, while many of us lay sleeping, millions of Americans are already awake and on their way to a work. Arriving at homes across the nation, home care workers dedicate themselves to caring for the sick, the disabled, and the elderly. Assisting with medications, bathing, household chores, and driving their charges to doctor’s appointments, home care workers know that their charges appreciate every extra bit of help. While they may have their charges’ gratitude, it has largely been a thankless job. “Many times, my fellow coworkers and I were mistaken for maids and asked to clean the house. Additionally, we were not compensated for travel nor were we provided with benefits,” says Maria Caro, a former home care worker and NCLR donor. With no minimum wage, overtime pay, or travel stipends, home care workers were stretched to a breaking point. That is until NCLR championed the Home Care Final Rule, which offers vital protections for the two million caregivers who lend assistance to the disabled and elderly so they can remain in their own homes. This policy effort was about protecting hardworking Americans, and our commitment to enacting meaningful change that allows families to reach their full potential. But our work is not over, and we’ve set a new target for 2016: expand overtime pay for 13.5 million workers. While policies are being debated in Washington, DC, NCLR continues to work at the local level to prepare Latinos for the jobs of tomorrow. Through programs like Bienvenidos and Aprendiendo Juntos, NCLR has helped 17 Affiliates strengthen their adult education programs to engage, educate, and empower Latinos across the country. Similarly, our Bridges to Vocational Education and Latino Millennials in College and Careers ensures that Latinos remain competitive and are able to pursue high-paying careers. Through our policy victories and local programs, NCLR is at the forefront of the changing demographics of our nation’s workforce. As we look toward the future, we are committed to giving everyone their fair shot to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
I AM LATINO AND I AM FAMILIA
  •  The whole family sleeps more securely with vital tax credits made permanent for 13 million working families.
    Working two jobs doesn’t leave single mother Yubely Cinero much time to spend with her daughter, and the minimum wage salary at both doesn’t allow for any savings. Benefits such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) allow parents to cover necessary items for their families. “I live day-to-day here; there is no way to save. Without this money, there is no way to buy school supplies and uniforms for my daughter,” said Yubely. “The worst thing is not being able to give my daughter the quality of life I would like to.” In the United States, 42% of Latinos earn poverty-level wages, but that isn’t stopping others like Yubely from working hard to contribute to the economy. But when the looming expiration of the CTC and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) threatened these families in 2015, NCLR and its Action Network mobilized to advocate for their permanent extension. This fight was more than just about taxes. These credits help working families cover their expenses and they actually promote work, since only employed taxpayers are eligible. And we won. Today 13 million families—five million of which are Latino—will no longer have to fall asleep worrying if they will be able to feed and clothe their children. The Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit are now permanent. But we haven’t stopped there. Through the Comprando Rico y Sano program, we have helped improve food security for more than 76,000 families and ensured access to affordable and healthy food. For low-income families, the program has also helped more than 19,000 families access SNAP benefits to ensure no child ever goes hungry. This isn’t just about extra money in the pocket. Studies have shown that the food and income security provided by programs like these are linked to better performance in school, including higher test scores, increased graduation rates, and improved college attendance. This is about ensuring Hispanics are part of our nation’s future. In California, the California Affiliate Network did something Congress failed to do in 2015—protect immigrant families. At their annual California Latino Policy Summit, leaders from across the network convened to join advocacy efforts in support of the Immigrants Shape California Package—a set of proposals designed to protect immigrants, provide increased opportunity, and advance the principle of justice for all. In Washington, DC, the threat of snow did not stop more than 300 Latino leaders from attending the National Latino Advocacy Days. Joined by youth from the Líderes Congreso, NCLR denounced an anti-immigrant agenda in Congress and attacks on President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. While a sensible solution to comprehensive immigration reform has failed to materialize in Congress, the NCLR Affiliate Network is ready to advocate and help our immigrant families fulfill the American Dream. There is no doubt. The NCLR Affiliate Network remains a powerful force to be reckoned with.
I AM LATINA AND I INNOVATE
  •  Afterschool programs have shown her the magic of STEM disciplines, allowing her to shape the future.
    When Ulissa Montes decided that she wanted to become a nurse, the pressure was overwhelming. As the first in her family to go to college, she wasn’t sure where to begin. What courses should she take in high school? How could she best prepare for the challenge ahead? Thanks to NCLR’s Escalera program, which exposes high school students to a variety of career paths, Ulissa attended leadership development programs in Washington, DC, and Kansas City, Missouri, where she had the opportunity to meet with her peers from across the nation, all working through the same struggle. With the help of a dedicated mentor and knowing that she was not alone, Ulissa found an internship at a local hospital during her senior year of high school. “My internship at the White Memorial Medical Center really motivated me to keep pushing for my goal.” Now, she’s confident that she is prepared for the challenges that college will bring. By 2020, just four years from now, more than two million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs will go unfilled if the next generation is not prepared to succeed in a competitive STEM-driven economy. That’s why in 2015, NCLR and its Affiliates developed new and innovative programs to invest in our youth for the future. NCLR STEM programs encourage problem-solving, creativity, and innovation. Starting with CHISPA (Children Investigating Science with Parents and Afterschool), NCLR works with 19 Affiliates and 11 national science museums to provide culturally relevant STEM curricula in elementary schools across the country. CHISPA exposes students to STEM after school, and engages parents through our Padres Comprometidos program, addressing two of the main challenges in STEM education: early exposure to STEM and family engagement. Escalera works with high school students to keep them thinking critically about potential careers in STEM fields. Finally, NCLR’s new Innovation Lab program, inspired by the film Underwater Dreams, trains STEM teachers to better engage their Latino students and encourage greater participation in STEM-focused programs and careers. Our nation and our community are changing, but together with the NCLR Affiliate Network, we are prepared for what lies ahead.
I AM LATINO AND I AM A HOMEOWNER
  •  After a long day, they take it back to where every story starts: the home.
    Saul Calderón, whose eyes shine behind the folds of his smile, sounds like he can’t believe he finally bought his first home. When he emigrated from Mexico more than 20 years ago, he settled in Chicago with his family. Saul worked long hours as a seasonal landscaper, redesigning suburban Chicago’s intricate lawns by day before returning to his rented home at night. For seasonal workers and immigrants who must navigate language barriers and unreliable employment, owning a home can seem impossible. When Saul received notice that he might qualify for a home-buying assistance program, he didn’t think much would come of it, but the lure of owning a home is more powerful than doubt, and he attended a workshop for the CHA Choose to Own (CTO) program anyway. There, he received a referral to NCLR Affiliate Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH) that would start his family’s three-year journey home. At SCH, Saul met Pre-Purchase Counselor Alma Hernandez, whom he now “trusts as if she were family.” He largely credits her patience and persistence with their success. As a seasonal worker, his window of opportunity to buy a home was limited to the time of year that he had work, a significant obstacle when it can take months to qualify for, negotiate, and finalize home loans. For two years, Alma and Saul fought the clock. By the time they realized the first bank they approached didn’t work with CTO, Saul’s window of opportunity had closed. The second bank seemed more promising, but they couldn’t bypass the red tape in time, and the loan was denied on the grounds that he wasn’t currently employed, even after he had found the perfect house. “It was hard seeing [my family] dream about each house, imagining putting a little office here, or a desk there, and then—nothing,” Saul explains, smile slipping at the thought of the time he almost quit. After long years of hard work and insistent bargaining, some people might have admitted defeat, but Alma refused to quit. “It’s because of her I didn’t give up,” Saul says. When they began the process for the third time, they chose to work with Glen from Pulaski Bank, a smaller lender who had demonstrated a great depth of knowledge and dependability for CTO clients. The stars aligned—Saul found a great house within his budget in a calm neighborhood that suits his family; and with the assistance he receives through CTO, his mortgage payment is one-third of his previous rent. To add to the excitement, a week before closing on the house Mrs. Calderón learned that she had passed the U.S. citizenship test. Now, the whole Calderón family are U.S. citizens, own their own home, and are on their way to attaining long-term stability. Saul couldn’t be happier. This story was made possible thanks to our generous individual and corporate donors and the tireless work of NCLR Affiliate Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH). The SCH is a member of the NCLR National Homeownership Network, which helped more than 42,000 families purchase and stay in their home in 2015.
I AM LATINO AND I DONATE Our thanks go out to every one of you who keeps the story going. Make more stories possible in 2016, become a friend of NCLR and make a gift to support our work. DONATENOW