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CHCI congratulates the 2016 R2L NextGen participants. With the support of founding sponsor State Farm™, as well as Southwest Airlines, the official airline of CHCI Leadership Programs, and Macy’s, the official R2L NextGen wardrobe sponsor, and regional sponsors, CHCI brought 36 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-Ford Driving Dreams Program.

Biographies and Profiles

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Britney Acevedo-Corona
Roswell High School
Roswell, Georgia

“The R2L NextGen program awakened passion in me as I saw the passion of others, and it greatly inspired me to create change in my community.”

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Guadalupe Aleman
El Capitan High School
Merced, CA

“The R2L NextGen program has opened my eyes to issues impacting the Latino community, such as immigration. Because immigration doesn’t personally impact me, I never knew that undocumented students have issues applying to college. I am grateful for being educated and plan to help make my community a better place.”

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Denis Cruz
Emmett J. Conrad High School
Dallas, TX

“From now on, the CHCI familia will always be a part of my life. Without this special program, I would have never expected to be in Washington, D.C. developing myself as a leader.”

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Isabel De la Cerda
William C. Overfelt High School
San Jose, CA

“The R2L NextGen program helped me learn more about politics and women’s issues than I ever did back in my community, and for that I am forever grateful.”

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Mario Del Rio
José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy
Hialeah, FL

“When they tell you no, say yes. When life pushes you down come back stronger. This is what I learned from CHCI.”

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Beverly Delgado
Whittier High School
Whittier, CA

“The R2L NextGen program was such an amazing experience. I got to meet Members of Congress and discuss current issues. I didn’t know anyone else participating in the program but now we are all really close, which is something I didn’t expect.”

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Julian Diaz
Le Grand High School
Planada, CA

“The R2L NextGen program helped me realize that Hispanics are more than just field workers. We have a bigger impact on society than we think. Our voices count.”

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Marla Espinoza Mendez
Nimitz High School
Irving, Texas

“The R2L NextGen program motivated me to continue to grow as a leader. It gave me the privilege of meeting 59 other passionate Latino/as who have some of the same perspectives I do. The program allowed me to enhance my knowledge of politics by doing workshops, visiting Capitol Hill and listening to Latino/as who are just as driven as I am.”

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Franco Fernandez
Robinson Secondary School
Fairfax, VA

“I learned how to be a leader in this program, and the importance of furthering my education so that I can succeed in life. The R2L NextGen program encouraged me to feel proud of my heritage.”

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Genesis Ferrer
Eco Escuela Bilingue Especializada en Ciencia y Matematica Papa Juan XXIII Secundaria
Bayamon, PR

“The R2L NextGen program helped me discover my love for politics and debate. It brought out my leadership skills and helped me understand that we, the Latino community, have a voice.”

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Abel Figueroa
Bullard High School
Fresno, CA

“The R2L NextGen program made a huge impact on me, and introduced me to Latino/as that inspired me to make a change. It taught me that my voice matters, and to never give up on my dreams no matter how big they are.”

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Francisca Fuentes-Vasquez
T.C. Williams High School
Alexandria, VA

“The R2L NextGen program has empowered me to speak out and not let my shyness pull me back. This vigorous program has given me the gift of familia, having hermanos y hermanas from across the U.S. who share the same political passion and educational goals. I will use the skills and tools I’ve learned to empower the Latino community.”

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Santos Amaya Guevara
Capital City Public Charter School
Washington, D.C.

“The R2L NextGen program encouraged me to continue supporting the Latino community because we are a united familia, and familia always have the courage to make our voices strong.”

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Jesus Lino
Los Angeles School of Global Studies
Los Angeles, CA

“The R2L NextGen program empowered me to advocate for issues impacting my community. It allowed me to meet amazing people, learn more about other people’s communities and made me more interested in pursuing a career in politics.”

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Enrique Little
Fresno High School
Fresno, CA

“Participating in the R2L NextGen helped me realize that I can make a difference. I really enjoyed meeting Members of Congress and hearing their stories.”

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Brandon Lopez Toro
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
Chicago, IL

“This is a great program. As someone who had no interest in politics or the government, I was not sure if I would like this trip. After five days, I was convinced that I needed to have more interest and needed to use my voice to make a difference in my community.”

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Liliana Maximiliano
Ironwood High School
Peoria, AZ

“The R2L NextGen program has provided me with an innovative and invigorating experience on how much the Latino community can change political issues. The program has inspired me not to be afraid to speak my mind regarding political issues and to never stop dreaming big.”

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Stefano Mazzini-Hermoza
Chattahoochee High School
Johns Creek, GA

“The R2L NextGen program helped me realize that I do have a voice. I met wonderful people and talked to Members of Congress about important issues, which is something I never thought I would do.”

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Edgard Mercado Arzuaga
Academia Discipulos de Cristo
Bayamon, PR

“The R2L NextGen program helped me find my voice. It introduced me to a new environment, so I could learn how the world of politics works. It helped me become a true leader that expresses his thoughts. I have changed for the better!”

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Teresa Moreno
Le Grand High School
Planada, CA

“The CHCI NextGen program enriched my understanding of politics and the power that we have as young Latinos.”

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Ricardo Nieto
James Logan High School
Hialeah, FL

“The R2L NextGen program was eye opening and informative. It helped me develop necessary leadership skills, expanded my network, and gave me a familia to be a part of. Simply amazing!”

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Francisco Olivares
Moises E. Molina High School
Dallas, TX

“I profoundly believe now the Latino/as are powerful, and that our country will one day have fair and equal opportunities for everyone. I thank the R2L NextGen program for showing me that my voice matters and that we are all leaders.”

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Frank Palacio
St. Mary’s High School
Phoenix, AZ

“Through the R2L NextGen program, I explored Washington, D.C., interacted with peers from across the country, learned about the government while considering other points of view, and made personal connections that will help me reach new goals.”

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Mariana Pereida
Buhach Colony High School
Merced, CA

“Through the R2L NextGen program, I learned how to talk and make friends with people I just met. I got out of my comfort zone and shyness and learned about important issues impacting Hispanics.”

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Julia Portillo
Jack E. Singley Academy
Irving, TX

“The R2L NextGen program opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. I now know what it is to be a familia. CHCI has taught me that we as Latinos have a voice and that our voice will be heard!”

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Alondra Ramos
Theodore Roosevelt High School
Chicago, IL

“The R2L NextGen program gave me one of the best experiences of my life. I met great people from across the country and felt very connected to my Latino roots. I grew as a person and gained the confidence to empower my community.”

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Christian Reid
Clarksburg High School
Germantown, MD

“Not only did the R2L NextGen program encourage me to further my education, it made me want to make a change in my community and help others. I learned that even though I can’t vote, I can encourage people to vote.”

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Alicia Rivera
Camino Nuevo High School No. 2
Los Angeles, CA

“The R2L NextGen program gave me a voice to follow my dreams and to always believe in myself. I am a proud Latina!”

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Evelyn Rojas
William C. Overfelt High School
San Jose, CA

“Had I not participated in the R2L NextGen program, I would have never completely understood the power of my voice or believed that Members of Congress care about the public’s opinion. I now believe in myself because the program emphasized the power we have as young people in our communities.”

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Chrissie Roque
The New School
Atlanta, GA

“The R2L NextGen program surrounded me with extremely passionate and dedicated people, and therefore I was pushed to find my own passion.”

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Deja Royal
Metro Tech High School
Phoenix, AZ

“The R2L NextGen program exposed me to the reality of civic engagement and peers from across the country that desire change in their communities. Before the program, I felt that my voice didn’t matter. I now know that my voice counts and that I can make a difference.”

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Miguel Alejandro Tineo
Hollywood Hills High School
Fort Lauderdale, FL

“The R2L NextGen program was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had, giving me the opportunity to meet with “familia” around the country from different backgrounds, but with the same objective: become the future leaders of this beautiful nation.”

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Alejandra Tinoco Bonilla
San Jose High School
San Jose, CA

“CHCI has allowed me to take a step closer to my dreams by exposing me to the world of politics through a Latino perspective. I learned to use my voice and believe in myself.”

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Jesus Alejandra Valencia
Eric Solorio Academy High School
Chicago, IL

“The R2L NextGen program empowered me to value education and to never underestimate the power of my voice. I was lucky enough to meet driven individuals with aspirations and struggles similar to my own. I realized that we should never miss out on an opportunity because the what-ifs would haunt us forever.”

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Felisa Vasquez-Gonzalez
Synergy Quantum Academy
Los Angeles, CA

“The R2L NextGen program showed me that my community is powerful and that together we can make a difference. It showed me that I need to let people know that our voices matters and that just because we are young does not mean that our opinions don’t matter. I learned that politicians work for us and are willing to listen if we show up.”

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Nelson Daniel Villegas
J.E.B. Stuart High School
Falls Church, VA

“The R2L NextGen program equipped me with the knowledge and tools to create change in my community. It’s been one of the most beneficial experiences I have ever had. It took us all out of our comfort zone, empowered us to do great things, and has provided a strong network and support system to succeed.”

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