Chicago High School Students Meet with Members of Congress, Participate in Leadership Development in Nation's Capital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2016                                                                                               

MEDIA CONTACT: Yamilett Lopez, 414-405-0975,

Chicago High School Students Meet with Members of Congress, Participate in Leadership Development in Nation’s Capital

CHCI Provides Leadership Experience for 60 Students from Around the Nation

WASHINGTON – The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the nation’s premiere Latino youth leadership development organization, is hosting seven high school students from Chicago for its 6th annual R2L NextGen program from July 10 – July 15, 2016. On Sunday, CHCI welcomed sixty low-income high school students from 10 metro areas across the country to the nation’s capital to learn about the federal government, meet important leaders, visit historic sites, and develop a deeper understanding of how they can affect positive change in their communities.

The R2L NextGen program was created in partnership with founding sponsor State Farm® in 2011. Over the past five years, State Farm has helped CHCI bring 210 students to Washington, D.C. For the second year, Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is partnering with CHCI to support select students from its Ford Driving Dreams program to participate in R2L NextGen. Additional support is provided by Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc.; Univision; Southwest Airlines, official airline sponsor of CHCI’s Leadership Programs; and Macy’s, the official wardrobe sponsor of R2L NextGen, which provided $200 gift cards to each student prior to their arrival in Washington.

The Chicago R2L NextGen participants are:

  • Brandon Lopez Toro, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
  • Alondra Ramos, Theodore Roosevelt High School
  • Jesus Alejandra Valencia, Eric Solorio Academy High School

The Chicago R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams participants are:

  • Barbara Jimenez, Roberto Clemente Community Academy
  • Sandra Machuca, ASPIRA Early College High School
  • Yetzamil Pedroza, Roberto Clemente Community Academy
  • Samuel Rodriguez, Albert G. Lane Technical High School

The R2L NextGen program is an extension of CHCI’s intensive one-day Ready to Lead (R2L) college readiness program, held in cities throughout the country. The 60 student participants in this program represent 10 geographic areas, including Atlanta; the Central Valley of California; Chicago; Dallas; Phoenix; Puerto Rico; San Jose/Oakland, California; South Florida; Southern California; and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The program combines the Close Up Foundation’s civic education program and CHCI’s proven leadership curriculum for Latino youth to expand CHCI’s outreach to Latino high school students and increase its impact in the college readiness and leadership development arenas.

“Our support of CHCI’s R2L NextGen Program reinforces our commitment to education excellence and to support the communities we serve,” said Javier Rey, State Farm Vice President of Operations. “We know that access to leadership programs like the NextGen program is a key factor for the success of Latino students.” 

“At Ford, we believe that there is nothing more important than education to make our nation a better place,” said Joe Avila, community outreach manager at Ford Motor Company Fund. “We continue to partner with CHCI to ensure a brighter future for youth and their communities.”

About CHCI

CHCI is the premier Hispanic nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) leadership development organization in the country that educates, empowers, and connects Latino youth by providing leadership development programs and educational services. CHCI directly impacts the lives of more than 1,600 students and young professionals each year through its fellowships,  congressional internships, scholar-intern programs, Ready to Lead (R2L®) college readiness program, and R2L NextGen program. CHCI NextOpp is its latest resource allowing young Latinos to save, search and share life-changing opportunities for Latinos across the United States.

The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic members of Congress, nonprofit, union and corporate leaders. Visit, or join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.