Funded by Indiana’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), 8 Padres Estrellas – translated from “Star Parents” – work with community organizations focused on empowering Hoosier Hispanic and Latino communities to provide college and career support to students and families across the state.
Padres Estrellas connects with schools, neighborhoods, and community partners to focus on helping students and families enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program and the Workforce Ready Grant to increase student access and attainment to higher education.
To enroll your student in the 21st Century Scholars program or to learn more about the Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant, please contact the Padre Estrella below that is closest to your residence.
WHY WAS PADRES ESTRELLAS CREATED?
The Commission’s 2021 College Equity Report reveals that Hispanic and Latino students are poised to become the second-largest racial or ethnic group among Indiana high school seniors. Still, they’re more than twice as likely as White students to be low-income. Hispanic high school graduates are also nine percentage points behind the statewide college-going rate, 44 percent to 53 percent, respectively. Hispanic men have the lowest college-going rate of all race and ethnic groups at 42 percent.
According to Indiana’s College Readiness Report, eight of 10 Hispanic Hoosiers in the 2019 high school graduating class who were part of the 21st Century Scholars program went directly to college. This rate is 37 percent higher than their higher-income Hispanic and Latino peers and 51 percent higher than their low-income non-Scholar peers.
INDIANA’S 21ST CENTURY SCHOLAR PROGRAM
Padres Estrellas works to promote the 21st Century Scholars program that strives to make education more affordable and accessible for families.
NEXT LEVEL JOBS WORKFORCE READY GRANT
Padres Estrellas also promotes Next Level Jobs to help students and adults get their careers started by receiving free career training.
WHO ARE THE PADRES ESTRELLAS?
The Padres are a team of eight community members who advocate for Hispanic and Latino families to receive academic resources. They meet students and families one-on-one, assist with the application process, and ensure current Scholars meet program eligibility requirements.
Contact a Padres Estrellas connector in your county to receive more information on the program.
Anahi Santos (North Central Region)
21st Century Scholar at Indiana University Kokomo
Santos is a current 21st Century Scholar pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and psychology with a minor in Spanish at Indiana University Kokomo. As a Scholar and a first-generation college student, she understands the value of the Padres Estrellas program and the difference it can make for students and families. Santos’ mission as a Padre Estrella is to help connect families to information, resources and services that can help them achieve their goals as it relates to higher education.
Luz Neira Cruz H. (Central Region)
Juntos 4-H Bilingual Assistant and Director/Founder of Escuela de Vida para Padres
Neira Cruz is a positive parenting discipline educator with a specialty in culture and child development. She is also a Spanish as a foreign language educator. As a Padre Estrella serving the Metropolitan School District Wayne Township, Neira Cruz’s objective is to guide families in achieving their students’ educational goals in the short, medium and long term through knowledge of the American educational system. Also, to provide tools to the strengthening of family relationships with workshops for parents or caregivers.
Luis A. Santiago (Southwest Region)
Extension Educator, County Extension Director, Purdue Extension-Daviess County
Santiago works to serve as liaison between Purdue University Extension Service and the Latino audiences in Daviess County and is the Juntos 4-H Coordinator in Dubois County. He seeks to establish partnerships with other community organizations and families, with the purpose of coordinating and delivering outreach and engagement programs to address the needs of Latinos and other underserved/under-represented audiences. For Santiago, the goal of partnering with the Padres Estrellas program is to empower families and their students to actively seek available opportunities and help them achieve their dreams of better success in life.
Noemi J. Lozano (Northwest Region)
EL SEL Parent Liaison and Juntos 4-H Coordinator at River Forest Community School Corporation
Lozano serves as a parent liaison for the EL parents and community members. Her goal through her involvement with Padres Estrellas is to inform and educate families about the resources available to support their children’s education and promote parental involvement in the school community.
Mariana Petraglia (Southeast Region)
Latino Coach for TuFuturo
Petraglia is part of a community driven, non-profit organization part of the Community Education Coalition, dedicated to assisting Latino students and their families through America’s educational system in order to improve Latino’s graduation rates and college access at Bartholomew County and related areas. Born and raised in Brazil, Petraglia knows that studying in the USA means learning in one of the most unique academic systems in the world. Our goal is to support Latino Hoosiers’ awareness of all the opportunities to increase college-going rates and decrease the gap between Hispanic high school graduation and the statewide average.
José Juarez (Central Region)
Family and Community Engagement Director at Indianapolis Public Schools
Juarez coordinates with family and community engagement liaisons in various districts to assist in developing partnerships with parents and leaders in the community. Juarez’s goal through his involvement with Padres Estrellas is to help Hispanic and Latino families overcome the barrier of access to information on their path toward greater success in Indiana and the United States.
Lauro Zuñiga (Northeast Region)
Health Promotion Specialist and Bilingual Professional
Zuñiga works with Special Education students to create a one-on-one learning environment so that students feel motivated and supported to complete their work in a timely fashion. Through Padres Estrellas, he aims to better the Hispanic and Latino community by providing students with the tools needed to become leaders in their community.
Gladys Rosas (Northwest Region)
Program Coordinator at La Casa de Amistad
Rosas works as the Program Coordinator for the middle school after school program at La Casa de Amistad. Her goal in partnering with Padres Estrellas is to connect students and families in St. Joseph County with opportunities and resources that will help them achieve their academic goals, as well as empowering them to take those next steps. As a bilingual person, Rosas’ hope is to create a safe space for Spanish-speaking families to ask questions without judgment.
“Last year, I (applied for the 21st Century Scholars program) for my fourth and last 8th grader. My oldest is a senior in college, the next one is a sophomore, then another senior in high school and finally a current high school freshman. I am so thankful to La Casa de Amistad and to the Padres Estrellas program because it was through them that I was able to enroll all my children into the 21st Century Scholars.
It is through this program that my dream and that of my children’s – to be able to get a higher education and have the tools to be successful – (can be fulfilled). My husband and I would have never been able to afford putting four children through college and change the course of their lives, our lives and those of our community.
Thank you to 21st Century, La Casa de Amistad and Padres Estrellas, these programs are truly a blessing in our community.”
CONTACT PADRES ESTRELLAS
For more information, contact Program Director José Medina at JMedina@che.in.gov