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Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Cesar E. Chavez Leadership Institute

Hispanic Heritage Month is a great opportunity to introduce you to Arizona State University’s César E. Chávez Leadership Institute (CCLI). This program works to improve access to higher education for Arizona high school juniors and seniors by providing experiential programming and support throughout their educational journey.

Since 1995, more than 1,300 students have been through the leadership program and have been provided the options, direction and encouragement they need to succeed.

SRP is a sponsor of CCLI as a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to community outreach. In 2018, SRP’s community outreach included nearly $3.8 million in corporate contributions to more than 350 non-profit organizations, and 45,000 hours of employee volunteer hours.

Panelists inspire through personal journeys

One of those volunteer opportunities happened recently, when SRP hosted a panel for CCLI participants to hear from SRP employees who have charted paths to success.

One of the panelists was Jacqueline Garcia, who today works in SRP’s Legal Services department.

“I participated in the César Chávez Leadership Institute in 2007 and was the program’s scholarship recipient in 2009,” she said. “As a first-generation college graduate, I was ecstatic at the chance to speak to students whose shoes I was once in.”

Another panelist, Hilen Cruz from Lighting Management and Maintenance, felt similarly and saw an opportunity to inspire.

“I enjoy talking to students and sharing pieces of my journey in hopes of providing them with the reassurance that as long as they work hard and remain disciplined, they can achieve any success they aim for,” she said.

An impact felt beyond Hispanic Heritage Month

Angel Omar Sandoval, an SRP engineer, explained how youths can benefit from these events.

“They just need options, a little direction and encouragement. I was fortunate that I had my teachers, mentors and school resources to see I had potential,” he said. “Programs like CCLI see potential in everyone and provide a platform for success for underrepresented members of the community.”

And it goes both ways, as everyone benefits from a strong future workforce.

SRP cares about supporting our communities, and by supporting educational programs, I believe SRP will help produce the well-rounded and productive professionals that are needed for a fast-changing world,” Cruz said.

Garcia’s personal experience as a CCLI alumni shows the power that companies like SRP have when they work in the community to support programs like CCLI.

“Participating on the CCLI panel was a full-circle moment for me,” she said. “CCLI and other organizations like it rely on assistance to carry out their mission. I am proud to work for an organization whose support and generosity represents an investment in the future.”

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