PO Box 93531
Des Moines, IA 50393
Dawn Martinez Oropeza
Al Exito (AE) is a statewide organization that empowers Latino students and families to succeed in life and in Iowa by encouraging the pursuit of higher education through leadership skill development, civic engagement and building entrepreneurial skills. AE motivates and prepares middle and high school Latinos to be successful in school and post-secondary school by empowering youth and their families about the importance of higher education for the success of their children and ultimately their community.
Al Exito mission is to provide programming that builds the leadership potential of Latino/a youth through college preparation, career development, civic engagement, family support and celebration of culture.
The new vision statement "A better community through Latino excellence!"
The American Association of University Women-Iowa's Diversity and Equity Committee initiated a pilot program for Latinas in Marshalltown in 2006-2007. AE now is in its eleventh year of operation in Marshalltown and has grown to include boys as well as parent programming. The model developed in Marshalltown has been replicated in nine communities across Iowa. AE became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2009.
AE Afterschool at Miller Middle School and Movimiento high school programs meet weekly at the schools in a safe space with a trained facilitator. AE provides culturally relevant cirriculum focused on the assets that Latino students possess to be resilient and prepared to achieve their education and career goals.
AE goals are to increase Latino students' 1) school attendance, 2)academic achievement, 3) parental involvement, 4) graduation from high school, 5) enrollment in post-secondary education. AE believes achieving these goals will significantly increase the number of Latino youth who successfully graduate from high school and go on to earn college degrees. Many will return to the community to contribute to the local economy, engage in civic life and serve as role models to younger students.