The Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY Association are pleased to announce the 2016 Jr. Grand Marshal winner and Scholarship recipients of their Jr. Grand Marshal Youth Development Program.
Lukas Alvira is 18 years old and just graduated from Hutch Tech High School. He will be attending Medaille College where he will major in Sports Management. Lukas is a great role model to his younger brothers and to his community, where he has been involved in for the past few years. He helps with whatever is requested of him. Lukas first started attending the Boys & Girls club on 10th street four years ago as a Summer Youth Program Worker. At first Lukas was hesitant, but little did he know, this place would play a big part in his life. Although Lukas’ work schedule was from 8 am to noon, he would stay until closing time of 6pm to help and assist others. He has made a huge impact on the kids he has met and mentored by working with others. He knew that he wanted to be a better person and was meant to help others also achieve success. Lukas has won the Youth of the Year from the Boys & Girls club, which is an award given to the best youth in the Buffalo area, who have helped their club and their community. He has demonstrated sincere love for his community. As a youth leader, he organized field trips to the nearest nursing home and played board games with the elderly. He showed the elderly that there are young adults in today’s world that do care about the senior citizens. Lukas is a firm believer that today’s youth must give back to the community so they can learn that they too can make a difference in this world.
Other scholarship winners of the Youth Development Program are Carlos Hernandez, Fabian Rosario, Joshua Cruz and Angel Chimelis.
Pictured above left to right: Fabian Rosario, Joshua Cruz, Lukas Alvira, Angel Chimelis and Carlos Hernandez
As part of a nationwide effort that seeks to improve the lives of young men of Hispanic descent, The Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY, Association, Inc. with the assistance of The Community Foundation of WNY, Buffalo Public Schools, and D’Youville College has moved into the action phase of its Youth Men’s Development Program.
The program will focus on keeping young Hispanic men in school and on track to pursue college or vocational education. Francisco Guzman, who was appointed as Chair of the Youth Development Program by Yolanda Martinez-Rodriguez, Parade President, announced the rollout of the program early last year at the organizational meeting of the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade. Francisco Guzman said the Youth Development Programs seeks to “change the narrative” for young Hispanic males in Buffalo, NY.
“Despite the relative success the city has had in the quality of life, education and employment areas, we know those are only averages,” said Mr. Guzman. He also noted, “ looking at the statistics, we know too many young Hispanics are being left behind. Our goal is for Hispanic high school students to reach their potential, regardless of their life circumstances or which ZIP code they were born into.”
The resulting format of our Youth Development Programs includes four pillars; high school completion, post-secondary attainment, workforce development, reducing violence and recidivism.
Each pillar in the plan has a “support council” that works to advance a host of programs based on “best practices” at both demonstration sites, Guzman noted. Program leaders will work with school districts, higher education leaders and community organizations to develop initiatives for the program.
Guzman advised “We want to make Buffalo a place of second chances for those who’ve stepped off track,” We want to see more Hispanic males in front of the classroom, serving as teachers and role models for our youth.”
The sponsors of the Scholarships include the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade, Asset Protective Services and Panorama Hispano News