Making an impact during Hispanic Heritage Month.

By: Donna M Navedo Sexton
Manager-Corporate Communications

HISPA 20,000 Stories Project sponsored by Verizon.

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Making an impact during Hispanic Heritage Month

“It only takes one voice, at the right pitch, to start an avalanche” - Dianna Hardy

If there is that much power in just one voice, imagine the impact 20,000 voices could make?

When I was a little girl, my mother worked 60 hours a week at a car dealership as the sole provider for me, my brother and my grandmother. She didn’t have much, didn’t go to college or learn a trade, but had a strong work ethic and a purpose to keep her going — taking care of us.

Mom used to say, “your education is the only thing that no one can take from you, so pursue it with all your heart, and never give up on yourself.” I am the first in my family to go to college and get a graduate degree. I firmly believe it’s because I had a positive role model to give me hope. Unfortunately, not every kid grows up with a role model. And many kids like me grow up in low-income, minority communities where they never get to see someone that looks like them succeed.

Making an impact during Hispanic Heritage Month

HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire Hispanic students to discover their potential, ignite their desire to embrace education and achieve success.

Focusing on middle school-aged students, HISPA believes that having a role model to look up to can significantly improve a student’s chances to pursue their dreams and reach their educational goals. Verizon supports that mission and has partnered with HISPA to amplify 20,000 Stories for Our Youth, a cultural, educational, and professional experience to show students that they can do the same and achieve their goals.

Let your voice be heard

Sign up to volunteer and share your story. 20,000 Stories for Our Youth uses written, audio and video stories from Hispanic/LatinX Verizon employees with students and teachers to serve as positive examples showcasing pathways to higher education and high-skilled careers.

Because HISPA Role Models reflect students’ heritage, language and culture, they help to demonstrate to students that they, too, can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. Verizon employees have already made up 82 of the more than 200 HISPA Role Model Program visits in 2020-21.

Every voice can make an impact.

One student shared after hearing one of our V Teamer stories “Me gustaría darle las gracias porque ella me inspiro a seguir adelante con mis sueños. Yo creía que por ser de otro país no iba a poder cumplir mis sueños y ella me inspiro a seguir adelante.” (I would like to thank her because she inspired me to move forward with my dreams. I believed that because I was from another country I would not be able to fulfill my dreams and she inspired me to move forward.)

All V Teamers, regardless of heritage, are encouraged to participate in Hispanic Heritage Month to learn more about the rich culture of so many of our employees. If this project speaks to you, we encourage you to share your story.

Through Citizen Verizon, we are committed to economic, environmental and social advancement for all. One great way we do that is through volunteerism. Here are some additional ways you can make an impact:

  • Translate children’s storybooks into Spanish (through September 30): Help translate short stories for beginner readers for use on a free learning platform used in more than 200 countries or territories by communities that may not have access to a classroom or reliable internet.
  • Support entrepreneurs in Latin America (ongoing): Through the MicroMentor platform, you can answer business frequently asked questions that reflect key challenges entrepreneurs are facing and even become a mentor to help entrepreneurs thrive. This free resource aims to connect under-resourced communities and currently is used by 5,000 entrepreneurs in Venezuela, Columbia, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and more.
  • Become a bilingual volunteer Crisis Counselor (ongoing): With only 5.5% of mental health services in the U.S. administered in Spanish, Crisis Text Line is launching the first crisis-response service in the country to provide free, 24 x 7 support for Spanish speakers via text message. Trained volunteers are needed to respond to texts.

Want to learn more?

Making an impact during Hispanic Heritage Month

Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond, we are proud to offer a number of cultural events led by our SOMOS employee resource group to help V Teamers learn and become inspired.

We invite you to watch our very own bilingual version of Up To Speed called “Entérate” (which means “Find out”) airing on September 29, for more news on relevant Verizon initiatives, promotions and partnerships.

V Team, go to VZWeb to join the conversation

About the author:

Donna is part of the Corporate Employee Communications team, focused on our socially responsible business practices through Citizen Verizon's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives and the Women's CoLab.

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