Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute Scholars Volunteer at Boys to Leaders Foundation Youth Leadership Conference
On October 28, 2023, a dedicated group of students from the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute of Seton Hall University made waves as volunteers at the Boys to Leaders Foundation Youth Leadership Conference. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the conference was a focal point for young leaders and the Latino Institute students were at the heart of this influential event.
A Commitment to Youth Leadership and Development
The Boys to Leaders Foundation is renowned for its dedication to developing leadership skills among young men in New Jersey. This year’s collaboration with the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute highlighted a shared vision: nurturing leadership and success in youths, especially on the needs of the Latino community. Centered around the theme "Lead with Courage", the conference featured a range of dynamic speakers such as, Andres Acebo, Interim President at New Jersey City University. He is a first generation who grew up in Union City, graduated from Brown University and pursued his Law Degree at Rutgers University. Mr. Andres Acebo is the youngest known President to ever lead a public university in the State of New Jersey. Amongst, Andres Acebo, Jonathan Cabrera was another dynamic speaker who left an outstanding mark in these young men. Jonathan Cabrera is an instructor of criminal justice and a current member of the HCCC All College Council. He arraigned initiatives and coordinated team management at the New York City Mayor’s Executive Office while also collaborating with the NYC Department of Corrections on various projects. Along with hearing the impactful stories of Andres Acebo and Jonathan Cabrera, participants also engaged in various workshops, including Financial Literacy, Youth Entrepreneurship, Scoring the Job, and Financial Aid Information and Registration. These workshops provided valuable insights into everything from the college application process to interview etiquette, offering a robust platform for learning and personal growth.
Volunteer Efforts of the Latino Institute Students
Under the guidance of Assistant Director, Cristina Cosme, the involvement of Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute scholars was crucial to the conference's success. Scholars Anayeli Vigo, Ariela Romero, Britney Guzman, Maria Elena Lugo, and Sofia Diaz actively participated in their assignments and networked with professionals, gaining firsthand experience in organizing such an event. Additionally, Jalen Pierre, a regular participant in J.A.U.L.I. events, engaged in the conference, showcasing its broad and inclusive appeal across diverse student groups. Cristina Cosme states, "At the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute our scholars exemplify servant leadership inside and outside of the classrooms. Building these key community partnerships with leaders like Sara Pena has given us an opportunity to see firsthand the impact we are able to make when we work together. Our partnership with Boys to Leaders has been insightful and has given students the opportunity to network with influential professionals."
Quotes from our scholars are as follows:
"I feel like this experience really helped me grow my networking skills and connected me to new people and opportunities. As an undergraduate diplomacy student and a first-generation Latina, it was a great opportunity to connect to professionals and other high school and university students coming from similar backgrounds in New Jersey as myself. I also admire all the work that went into the planning and execution of this event and would like to thank every board member of the Boys to Leaders foundation for being welcoming and passionate in this foundation. I am proud to have been a part of such an inspiring event even as just a volunteer."- Sofia Diaz
"Volunteering at the Boys to Leaders conference was a true privilege. The conference aims to provide the necessary resources and inspire young men to achieve their highest dreams. I learned about the importance of representation and showing up for those around you."-Ariela Romero
"The Boys to Leaders Conference does not just give young men stuff that they didn't have before, it truly meets young men where they are at, and with exactly what they need."- Maria Elena Lugo
"My experience at the Boys to Leaders Conference provided me with relevant life lessons that will serve me as I continue my college career. I am grateful to the team of professionals that dedicated their day to motivating me and the other young men in my community."– Jalen Pierre
Empowering Future Generations
The partnership between the Boys to Leaders Foundation and the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute symbolizes a joint commitment to empowering the next generation of leaders. The Youth Leadership Conference was an embodiment of this commitment, offering a space for young individuals to develop their leadership skills and prepare for future roles as community trailblazers.
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