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CHCI congratulates the 2017 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 23-28, 2017 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 2017 R2L NextGen Program.

Biographies and Profiles

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Adrián Alicea Román
Central High School of Visual Arts
Bayamón, Puerto Rico

“The power of people in politics, especially Latinos, is incredible. If we come together, there is nothing we can’t do.”

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Frida Arias Rivera
Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy
Gilroy, California

“I have grown as a leader because of the R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams Program. Getting to know other Latinos from different parts of Latin America has empowered me to help my community. I am ready to go home and be a leader.”

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Sonia Arreguin
Roosevelt Senior High School
Los Angeles, California

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program has motivated and empowered me to become a better leader in my community. It has taught me to see beyond labels and come together with different minded people to create a better environment for everyone.”

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Alexander Castro
Warren Travis White High School
Dallas, Texas

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program empowered me to become a greater citizen in America. This program has given me the knowledge about the Latino community and how strong we are. Together we shall rise and make change, not only in America, but around the world.”

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Rafael Cecenas
Diamond Hill-Jarvis
Fort Worth, Texas

“CHCI brings different people from the U.S. that go from being strangers to family while empowering us to see the change we can make in ourselves and in the world.”

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Jahayra Chavez
Irving High School
Irving, Texas

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program provided me with the opportunity to become a leader in my community. I am very excited to be able to go back home and make change in my community.”

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Henry Cintigo
Downtown Magnet High School
Los Angeles, California

“Whether we are Republicans or Democrats, we as Latinos have a strong impact on a system that restlessly tries to oppress us. Despite those who try to put us down, we as Latinos must strive for the better. My mind has been ingrained with the idea that I have the potential truly make change.”

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Alexis Cruz
James A. Garfield High School
Los Angeles, California

“I am beyond grateful for partaking in this life changing program which has motivated me to be a righteous representative for my Latino community. The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program introduced me to a myriad of influential Latino leaders who inspired me to voice my opinions to create a greater social change.”

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Luis Cruz Velasco
Gilroy High School
Gilroy, California

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program influenced me to become a more involved leader in my community. It expanded my knowledge of the political process, civic engagement, issues we face in the Latino community, and how to become an advocate. I am grateful for this opportunity and to be alumni of CHCI.”

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Gabriel Guizar
William C. Overfelt High School
San Jose, California

“R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams was an amazing experience. I was able to learn and meet influential people. I always intended to do politics, but CHCI motivated me to be more civic minded. I plan to repay CHCI by improving my community and reforming the education system.”

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Elizanena Ibarra
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Chicago, Illinois

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program has allowed me to change my once simple mindset into a more complex and diverse one. This will allow me to impact my community and inspire others to challenge their own mindset.”

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Lizbeth Jimenez Navarro
Gunderson High School
San Jose, California

“The CHCI R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program has made me become more open minded because I learned that anything is possible if you put your mind into it. The sky is the limit.”

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Marcelo Machado
Hialeah Senior High School
Miami, Florida

“Possibilities are the gates for the future, and the R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program has provided me with opportunities that will enhance my life. I realized what my path is and how I want to make it. Thanks for everything.”

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Angel Macias
Paramount High School
Paramount, California

“As we walked the halls of Capitol Hill and we heard the tap of our shoes ring through the halls it reminded everyone que aqui estamos y no nos vamos.”

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Julio Pardo
Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy
Hialeah, Florida

“These are moments in history when the virtues and benevolence of God guide us to places where our paths converge with visions and dreams of success. Often, we do not realize when they occur. It’s clear this occurred to me here in Washington D.C. The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program has placed a cornerstone in the building of my success.”

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Amari Rios
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Chicago, Illinois

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program became a life-changing experience that deepened my interest of the political system. It is so unbelievable that I was introduced to an experience as amazing as this.”

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Amanda Robles
Specialized School in Science, Mathematics and Technology
Caguas, Puerto Rico

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program demonstrated to me the world as it really is. Hearing the stories of my colleagues opened my mind about the various obstacles we live through on a daily basis such as discrimination and oppression. I am motivated to take action and work hard to make everyone feel as they belong and deserve the same treatment. It’s important to speak up and fight for what we believe in. I’m going to start to change the world.”

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Sara Rodriguez
Fredrick Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center
Chicago, Illinois

“Walking into this program, I had no idea what to expect. But what came out of this experience was more beautiful and influential than I could have hoped for. I feel more confident than ever that I will grow to be an influential figure within the Latino community, as will all of my peers. I am so grateful to have been a part of this experience, and forever will carry this week in my heart.”

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Jose Romero
Elk Grove High School
Des Plaines, Illinois

“As part of the Latino Community, it is our responsibility to do well and represent our community in a positive way; and the R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program does just that.”

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Angie Ruiz
South Broward High School
Hollywood, Florida

“Through CHCI’s R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program I have been able to connect with young, like-minded Latinos who are passionate about their community. It’s rare to find people I can connect with so easily and I’ve found so many of them this week in D.C. Not only did I meet people who inspire me, I have also learned to accept different points of view and be more cooperative.”

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Angie Sandoval
Miami Springs Senior High School
Miami, Florida

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program transformed and demonstrated to me what I am capable of. It showed me that leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime!”

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Javier Suarez
Irving High School
Irving, Texas

“The beginning only promises the end, but the end only alludes to the sequel. Through being exposed to our nation’s capital I have been empowered. My vision is to help influence and create revolutionary change in my community.”

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Josue Uvalle
Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School
Fort Worth, Texas

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program demonstrated to me the importance of not settling for the first thing you see. I know there are better options and opportunities in life, I just have to continue to work hard to find them.”

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Carlos Vazquez
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Chicago, Illinois

“The R2L NextGen-Ford Driving Dreams program demonstrated to me the importance of being politically involved. I came to DC with little to no knowledge, and now return ready to share my opinions and make a difference in my community.”

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