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Group Hopes to Raise Cash for Latino Youth

April 25, 1998|SUSAN DEEMER

About 60 community and business leaders from Orange County gathered Friday to kick off an event aimed at raising $1 million for the education of Latino youths by next year.

"My prayer and hope is that we go beyond $1 million," Maria Elena Avila, a member of the executive board of the Hispanic Education and Endowment Fund, told the leaders gathered at the Center Club.

The fund was created in January 1994, to help Latino youths in their educational pursuits. At that time, members of the organization pledged to raise $1 million in five years. So far, the effort has raised $700,000.

Friday was a kickoff to the 1998 awards dinner to be in September at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, where the organization hopes to raise another $300,000.

The education of Latino youth is important for Orange County corporate and community leaders. Avila said 44% of students enrolled at local schools are of Latino or Hispanic heritage. Additionally, in 1995, statistics show about 27% of the population in Orange County was Latino or Hispanic. By 2020, it is projected to grow to 41%, she said.

At the September event, the organization plans to honor individuals from the community who have helped to increase educational opportunities for Latino youth.

Information: (714) 553-4202.

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