Unbelievable! A record number of you visited this blog on Tuesday to view the latest update regarding the Hispanic Education Task Force work and a collaboration in the making with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Buckner International. Yesterday I reported that Felipe Garza, VP for Ministry and Missions at Buckner offered ½ of the salary for a Hispanic Education Consultant to work on the issue of the Hispanic High School Drop Out Issue. Randel Everett, our new Executive Director and the Executive Board of the BGCT have reaffirmed the decision to make this a priority again and find the other ½ of the funding for this position.
Our next step is to draft a collaborative agreement much like the ISAAC project, create a job description, and then hire the person for this project. But why Buckner and why now?
First, I am passionate about this issue and have been since my years at Baptist University of the Americas. Why start with Hispanic youth? Hispanic youth hold the highest number of High School Drop Outs over every other cultural group in Texas. I am concerned about all Texas youth who lose hope or don’t have the support to finish their high school education and have the opportunity to go to college. If we figure out how to help Hispanic youth graduate from high school, this will impact African American, Anglo, and Asian youth as well. Since I am passionate about this issue I will not rest until we take action to reverse the trend.
Second, Ronne Rock, Marketing Director has helped us to hone our essence statement. We exist to make life better for children and families. Our positioning statement is to build healthy families and promote self-sufficiency. Buckner, under the leadership of Felipe Garza, invests heavily on the preventive side of a continuum of care for families to ensure they don’t require more intensive services later on. Helping Hispanic youth finish their high school education and providing bridges for them to complete a college degree positions them to provide for their families rather than face a future of minimum wage income and poverty.
Third, Kenton Keller, Chief Strategic Initiative Officer, has been working on Economic Development and has reminded us that addressing the Hispanic High School Drop-Out Issue is a means to help promote self-sufficiency, among a wide array of other solutions that are context specific.
When I think about Jesus’ mission to preach good news to the poor, I have to wonder what that would mean to those facing a future of poverty in this state and nation. I think we are on the right track. Buckner is well positioned to convene resources to reverse this trend. If not Buckner and BGCT now, then who and when?