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CHCI congratulates the 2016 R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams participants. With the support of sponsor Ford Motor Company Fund, as well as Southwest Airlines, the official airline of CHCI Leadership Programs, and Macy’s, the official R2L NextGen wardrobe sponsor, CHCI brought 24 students to D.C. July 10-15, 2016 to learn about how the Federal Government works, the importance of being civically engaged, and how they can affect positive change in their communities. Each one of these high school students had a unique experience. Read the lasting impressions each one had from this life-changing week.

The program was held in conjunction with the 2016 R2L NextGen Program.

Biographies and Profiles

Noel Arguello-Vega
Cajon High School
San Bernardino, CA

“The R2L NextGen program helped me see myself as a leader and understand the political process better, as well as encouraged me get even more involved in my community.”

José Colón Medina
Escuela Secundaria Especializada en Ciencias, Matemáticas y Tecnología
Caguas, PR

“Without a doubt, one of the best things I’ve participated in. I started as a simple Puerto Rican boy and I’m leaving like a handy man, with tools for everything, and with a thirst to help others. Now, it’s time for me to pay it forward. The R2L NextGen program is truly one of a kind!”

Bryan Flores
Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy
Dallas, TX

“The R2L NextGen program gave me skills I can use for life. I now have lifelong friends and a family of truly inspiring people. They taught me that we do have a voice!”

Jhair Galindo
Nimitz High School
Irving, TX

“The R2L NextGen developed my leadership skills and showed me that I have a voice. It exposed me to great leadership examples ranging from prominent leaders to my own peers.”

Debora Gonzalez
School for Advanced Studies Wolfson
Miami, FL

“The struggles we endure day to day often drown the dreams we hold for tomorrow. CHCI’s R2L NextGen program cleared the horizons, empowering my voice and bringing me to the realization that this is where I belong.”

Barbara Jimenez
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Chicago, IL

“The R2L NextGen program gave me the opportunity to meet inspiring peers, Latino professionals, and Members of Congress. It helped me realize that it’s important to get involved and care for my community because when we get involved, change happens.”

Sandra Machuca
ASPIRA Early College High School
Chicago, IL

“The R2L NextGen program completely changed my life in every aspect. I had the privilege of connecting, interacting and bonding with other young people, who like myself, want to be leaders in their community. I have always been nervous about speaking in front of others in fear of sounding absurd but everyone who surrounded me in this program made me feel important and appreciated.”

Estrella Martinez
William C. Overfelt High School
San Jose, CA

“The R2L NextGen program made me realize that even though I’m brown I can still be a leader. It changed me in a positive way, helped me break out of my shell, and opened doors to success.”

Thalia Mendoza
Westland Hialeah High School
Hialeah, FL

“The R2L NextGen program helped me grow as an individual. It provided me with the necessary tools and contacts to help my community. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity and hope programs like this one continue to succeed in the future to inspire other young Latino leaders.”

Eduardo Negrete
San Bernardino High School
San Bernardino, CA

“The R2L NextGen program inspired me to be more politically active and to make a difference in my community.”

Jessica Nuñez
Westland Hialeah High School
Hialeah, FL

“The R2L NextGen program was empowering and provided me with the tools I need to make a difference in my community. It was amazing learning about issues impacting the Latino community and what I can do to make a difference. I will definitely take this home with me.”

Olivia Palacios
Andrew P. Hill High School
San Jose, CA

“The R2L NextGen program opened my eyes to the power that we as Latinos have, and what we can do to transform our community.”

Yetzamil Pedroza
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Chicago, IL

“The R2L NextGen program opened my eyes and mind to the world of politics and taught me how my voice can make a big difference in this world.”

Raymundo Perez
Moises E. Molina High School
Dallas, TX

“The R2L NextGen program was an amazing experience; I never thought I would be in the nation’s capital. It increased my interest in politics, expanded my network, and inspired me to make a difference in my community.”

Jose Pineda
Anaheim High School
Anaheim, CA

“Participating in the R2L NextGen program sparked my interested in having a career in politics and living in Washington, D.C.”

Leonardo Quezada-Ibarra
Oakland Technical High School
Oakland, CA

“The R2L NextGen program is a once in a lifetime opportunity. In just one week I learned how to help out and empower my Latino community. Without CHCI, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet so many powerful Latino leaders who are making a change for our nation. I can’t wait to go back home and become one too.”

Emily Reyneri
Pembroke Pines Charter High School
Fort Lauderdale, FL

“The R2L NextGen program allowed me to realize the privilege I have in society and the necessity to use that privilege to advocate for the liberation of our own community. It gave me the tools and connections to be an agent of change within my community.”

Jose Rivera
Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo
Toa Alta, PR

“Because of my participation in the R2L NextGen, I now want to explore colleges in the States instead of just in Puerto Rico. I want to be a voice for others and be a great leader.”

Samuel Rodriguez
Albert G. Lane Technical High School
Chicago, IL

“The R2L NextGen program was life-changing. I was provided the opportunity to explore democracy, my role in it, and the most powerful city in the world. We are powerful.”

Makayla Ross
Diamond Hill Jarvis High School
Fort Worth, TX

“Coming here, I did not expect to feel so impacted. However, I was moved by the activities we did and the people I met. I was inspired by the people, the stories, the love, and friendships I made. It was truly meaningful.”

Yaumiri Subiza
North Dallas High School
Dallas, TX

“The R2L NextGen program opened my eyes to different opinions that were similar but also different from my own. I left Washington, D.C. more informed than I came, and with friendships with peers from across the country.”

Jasmine Ureno-Diaz
Andrew P. Hill High School
San Jose, CA

“It’s always difficult being in an environment where people like you don’t get enough recognition. But, being a part of CHCI, I was surrounded by dozens of driven, intelligent beings who inspired me. The connection that we as Latino leaders have is impeccable and one of the strongest forces that will change the world. I intend on being one of the best.”

Diana Uribe
Jack E. Singley High School
Irving, TX

“Before the R2L NextGen program, I had given up on myself and didn’t think I had a voice or influence. I didn’t want to be involved in the political process because I didn’t think anybody cared. But meeting with people who work on Capitol Hill made me realize that they are doing what they love, and that makes me want to explore this option. Now, I believe I have a voice.”

Jamilet Velazquez
Jack E. Singley Academy
Irving, TX

“Participating in the R2L NextGen program helped me realized that I have a voice and need to be proactive politically, and that people on Capitol Hill care about our opinion.”

More R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams Participants

2015 R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams Participants