Dallas Concilio Receives Grant to Expand Mentor Program

The Dallas Concilio of Hispanic Service Organizations is one of four organizations in North Texas that will split $100,000 from the NBC Universal Foundation.

Dallas Concilio is a network of agencies serving the needs of Dallas-area Hispanics.

Last year, it started the Hispanic Role Model program to help improve the academic success of students at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas.

"Our children aren't graduating from high school as they should, " said CEO Florencia Velasco Fortner. "And to take it a step further, when they go on to college, they're not, many of them are not successful in college."

The students involved come from disadvantaged homes with parents who may not know how to help their children academically succeed. The program offers a stable support system during high school.

"We went and toured a radio station because one of the girls was interested in being a radio producer, " said volunteer mentor Sara Duran. "We went to the King Tut exhibit because they thought that would be fun. Sometimes we just go to lunch."

Duran said the girls she mentors have become more confident and outgoing.

"Now they're setting goals, they've got As and Bs, (and) they have things they want to do," she said. "They're asking questions, (and) they're signing up for activities."

Fortner said the program has made a difference.

"It's the difference of a young person dropping out of high school and being unemployed or underemployed for the rest of their life, or a young person graduating from high school, going on to college and being productive, successful citizen of North Texas," she said.

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