DES MOINES, Iowa — This year organizers of the Iowa Latino Heritage Festival are putting a focus on Iowa’s Latinx youth. For the first time in the festival’s history, more than 20 Latino teenagers will be receiving $1,000 scholarships this weekend.
“We have a lot of students that come with undocumented parents or their exchange students who are not able to apply for a lot of scholarships,” Latino Resources board member, Nela Blanco said. “We do it in a way that we are able to give back to the community and not make it difficult for those students who really need the money to go to school.”
According to the Iowa Data Center, by the year 2050 Latinos will make up 12% of Iowa’s population and there are currently more Latino preschoolers in the state than any other race or ethnic group.
Year-round, Latino Resources, offers internships and career-related volunteer opportunities to Latinx students.
Executive Director of the nonprofit, Joe Gonzalez, said the goal is to help these young people find careers that can be developed and sustained here in Iowa.
“The more young people we can retain, stay in the city, the more special it becomes because we don’t want to lose that young, thinking power, buying power,” Gonzalez said. “We’re all consumers and we’re all participants, we’re all leaders, all the young people, everybody here to try to make this a better city.”
These scholarships can apply to four year universities, trade schools and those seeking a masters degree.
For more information about the Iowa Latino Heritage Festival, visit this website.