The Emerging Latino Leaders (ELL) Fellowship is an 8-month-long program designed for Latino youth ages 16 through 20. Beginning in early April, the fellowship kicks off with a youth summit where fellows are introduced to the fellowship, participate in workshops on leadership development and community mobilization, and begin to plan out their very own service projects. These projects, focused on encouraging civic engagement, are led by small cohorts of fellows working together. Over the summer fellows meet twice a month with their mentors and program sponsors who guide them through the project planning phase. Then, in the fall, fellows implement the service projects in their schools and surrounding neighborhoods. Finally, in November, fellows attend an awards banquet honoring their achievements as well as the accomplishments of prominent community members.
Our mission is to educate and empower future latino leaders. To provide them with the confidence, support, and skills necessary so they can take an active role in their community’s development.
Vision and Purpose
Widespread civic engagement is the lifeblood of any well-functioning democratic society. Unfortunately, many groups are not equally involved in public life. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Engagement, Latino youth are the least engaged and most civically alienated ethnic and racial group in the United States. Two out of every five Latino youth do not feel connected to civic life. This is especially troubling in a city like Houston where Latinos are the single largest ethnic group. We seek to promote awareness of the issues facing local Latinos while at the same time encouraging electoral participation to ensure their voice is heard at all levels of government.
The Emerging Latino Leaders Fellowship envisions a future where Latino youth take ownership of their community. First, we must challenge talented young Latinos to see themselves as more then just passive community members, but active agents of change. By empowering the youth of today, we can work towards building a healthy and vibrant society for tomorrow.
The Emerging Latino Leaders (ELL) Fellowship was created in the Spring of 2015 through a collaboration between Rice University’s Center for Civic Leadership and Mi Familia Vota—a non-profit, non-partisan, national organization dedicated to increasing Latino civic engagement.