Solutions for Hispanic High School Completion…Why Buckner?

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?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Solutions for Hispanic High School Completion…Why Buckner?

  1. Dr. Reyes, Thank you for sharing the need to help our Hispanic youth complete their education and sharing ways/opportunities of changing this hard reality. It is so important we also focus on how we can help the parents of these youth to be an example to their children. I give my mom so much credit for my education and desire to continue preparing myself academically. My mom was 22, married to a “machista”, had three children, lived on my father’s income, didn’t not speak English and in a country that was not hers broke through these barriers and completed college. I remember how hard she worked on learning English and how late she would stay up studying, to show us later in life that we could also better prepare ourselves. Growing up my mom always challenged us, she would say “if I made it this far, you must make it much higher, you have no excuse”. It was my mom’s example, encouragement and challenge that pushed her children to become educated. I couldn’t see myself pulling through all the barriers Hispanic Youth face with out my mother’s example.
    I work with youth at church and my husband and I are the only Hispanic adults they know that have completed college. They share their desire to finish high school and college but it is hard for them when their parents don’t understand that it is possible. Many Hispanic parents expect their children in High school to begin working and helping at home, it becomes a priority for these young Hispanics to work and education becomes their last priority. These teens don’t have parents to sit with them and do homework with them and go to school with them to check on their school progress, no these parents have to work; they work hard to give their children their basic needs. Many of these parents might not have completed high school, themselves. We must also do something about the parents, they too need to be educated, educated academically and educated on the importance of challenging and encouraging their children to continue their schooling in the midst of their barriers. I don’t have statistics but in my opinion the person that can make the biggest impact on the importance of education for youth, are the parents.

  2. This response is truly amazing!
    Do we need further encouragement and confirmation of what God is doing?
    He is preparing His army to move forward!
    What a response!
    Two things that keep coming to mind in regards to specific tasks for outreach are:
    1.- Mentoring : What an awesome opportunity to engage those Hispanics who have already obtained a professional degree! Let’s bring them on board! After all, is this not the example we want students to follow? The task is too great, so the responsibility and privilege needs to expand to as many people groups as possible! On another end, an exciting way of engaging people in service / ministry in a lower commitment level (30 to 60 min. per week). We can continue the efforts that were once started, I remember attending a banquet at Convención where hundreds of Hispanic Business brothers and sisters where honored and a step was taken to create a data base… We can continue the effort and pair up career people with teens so they can mentor and keep the youth accountable and coach them on their path to a career.
    2.- Curriculum: There is a curriculum called “HABITUDES” which deals with the habits and attitudes that a young Christian leader needs to develop early-on to become an effective leader. This group has amazing open doors in Colleges and High-schools due to a double version of the books: “secular” with Biblical principles but with language accepted by schools and the original version with full pledged Biblical references. This is a way in which we can reach schools, teachers and teens who are not yet part of a Church. I know Pastor Abel Lopez is looking into something not as structured, but similar, where we can provide teachers with training and thus have access to the schools. Further more, a step such as this provides a move for spawning the much-needed leaders.
    What an enormous path of possibilities to be effective! 🙂
    Blessings to all!

  3. Anyra, there is not doubt that parents influence their teens and your mom did that in many ways, not the least of which was her own example. We probably need a strategy to encourage parents to help their teens get a high school education.

  4. Elizabeth, where can HABITUDES be found? This sounds like an excellent resource. We are slowly but sure collecting a repository of resources, ideas, and contacts on this blog thanks to your willingness to post. Thanks so much.

  5. Richard, years ago I came across a study that said a Hispanic high school graduate would make $300,000 more in his or her life than those who do not graduate from high school; those with a BA degree would earn $600,000 more in their lifetime as opposed to those without a BA; those with an MA would earn $1.6 million more than those without an MA. The standard for a good wage these days seem to be a BA degree rather than a high school diploma like it was when I was in high school.