Sands Cares commits $150,000 to fund NHI programs for Las Vegas students
The National Hispanic Institute and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) today announced a progressive leadership training program for Latino high school students in Las Vegas, made possible by a cumulative three-year $150,000 commitment from Sands Cares. The funding enables NHI to build a volunteer alliance to lead NHI’s leadership development curriculum, along with scholarships for 38 students to participate in the program’s initial year.
The first stage of the NHI program is built around communications-oriented training and development for rising high school sophomores, culminating in their participation at the California Sol Great Debate on July 12-17 at the University of San Diego. NHI also will accept a small cohort of eight sophomore students to serve as a mentor group in San Diego, as well as have their own eight-day immersive leadership and governance experience at NHI’s Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session in June at Colorado State University.
NHI will accept the first round of applicants for ninth-grade and tenth-grade students who apply by January 31, 2022. Eligible ninth-grade students must have an 85/100 or 3.0/4.0 grade point average (GPA), and tenth-grade students must have an 88/100 or 3.2/4.0 GPA. Students from all backgrounds may apply. Las Vegas students who are selected to join NHI by March 31 will receive tuition support from Sands Cares, and additional students can join as the partnership enters its second and third years.
“With Sands Cares’ support to kick-start our efforts, NHI aims to open doors for high school students by expanding their opportunities to develop leadership skills, create networks and increase their college prospects,” said Nicole Nieto, NHI’s executive vice president. “Students who are intellectually curious and enjoy community involvement often don’t know where to access growth opportunities. The experiences we organize feel like home for students who want to make a difference in society.”
Founded in 1979, NHI provides a series of immersive leadership programs for high-performing, high-potential Latino high school students. Its three core programs prepare students for leadership, including the Great Debate, which emphasizes command of language as a tool for self-advancement and community change; the Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, which exposes students to governance, organization development and policy design; and the Collegiate World Series, which has a dual focus on tackling college admissions and preparing for the call to community leadership. All three programs work to build communication, organizational and leadership skills, as well as prepare students for college and active community engagement.
The launch of the Las Vegas program represents a significant step in the relationship NHI has been building with the community. In 2017, Rancho High School in Las Vegas was named NHI’s High School of the Year in part to honor the region’s developing relationship with NHI. Separately, Sands had identified NHI as a model program at the national level with success in communities across the country and began discussions with NHI to bring the program to Las Vegas.
“We saw that NHI’s 40-year track record in helping students reach their highest potential and becoming vital community advocates could provide valuable experiences to develop future Latino leaders in Las Vegas,” said Ron Reese, senior vice president of global communications and corporate affairs, who spearheads corporate responsibility for the company. “Sands is committed to cultivating tomorrow’s leaders by providing opportunities for youth from diverse groups through education and mentorship initiatives such as NHI’s program. Our partnership was a natural fit with a mutual goal of empowering the next generation of Latino leaders.”
Over the past two years, Sands has accelerated partnerships and programming with organizations serving diverse communities, working to empower and ensure civic representation among all groups. The company also has supported youth development and mentorship programs with 100 Black Men Las Vegas and Mastering Mindsets Las Vegas.