NHI and UNM partner on new LDZ honoring Dionisio ‘Dennis’ Chavez
The University of New Mexico is partnering with the National Hispanic Institute to host the 2022 Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez New Mexico LDZ for New Mexico high school students — marking a return to the Land of Enchantment for NHI.
This year’s event will host 150 top students in a week-long leadership experience on the UNM campus from June 12-19, 2022, and will highlight the legacy of the late Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez. The program is made possible with the help of special funding from the New Mexico Legislature, as requested by State Sen. Michael Padilla.
Chavez, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1931-1935 and in the U.S. Senate from 1935-1962, was the first Hispanic person elected to a full term in the Senate and the first senator to be born in New Mexico.
“Since 1982, NHI has presented more than 150 LDZ Youth Legislative Sessions throughout the U.S, Mexico and Latin America,” said Lawrence Roybal, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for community initiatives at the UNM Health Sciences Center and a longtime supporter of NHI’s efforts.
“NHI is a well-respected nonprofit organization with a 42-year history in youth leadership development and was selected through a statewide request-for-proposal process.”
The National Hispanic Institute’s LDZ experience presents an eight-day creative learning program for 10th and 11th-grade college-bound students. It engages participants in active learning by having them play key leadership roles using a legislative format.
Through NHI’s signature community equity-building approach, students form communities, develop constituencies and craft strategies to leverage strengths and capacities. Along the way, they gain valued personal and community identity.
“The LDZ experience prompts a personal transformation whereby students feel competent, in control of their life direction, valued in the eyes of others and engaged in adding equity and worth to their community,” said Gloria de Leon, NHI co-founder, executive vice president and architect of the LDZ experience. “It nurtures young minds to engage in proactive solutions as a lifelong process.”
One of the first LDZ experiences, created relatively early in NHI’s history, was a New Mexico program hosted by UNM between 1988 and 1998. NHI organizers are thrilled to be returning to New Mexico to work with future Latino leaders in a state boasting a significant Latino population.
New Mexico high school sophomores and juniors with an 88/100 or 3.2/4.0 grade point average enrolled in a college-bound curriculum are encouraged to apply. Selected students will be named Dennis Chavez Scholars and participate at no cost, other than transportation to and from UNM in Albuquerque, and a $25 application processing fee.
Students are encouraged to promptly submit online applications to the Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez New Mexico LDZ. The first round of admissions will be accepted beginning Jan. 21, 2022, and conclude once the program has reached capacity, expected to be in mid-March.
Co-sponsors of the program include ENLACE New Mexico, UNM El Centro de la Raza and the UNM Health Sciences Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.