Esperanza, Inc. (meaning “hope”), began in the early 1980s as a community project to improve the educational opportunities for Hispanics by motivating and recognizing academic achievement through scholarships. As Ohio’s only nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Hispanic educational achievement, its founders recognized the need to expand the services by adding programs to address more of the educational needs of the community. Esperanza awarded its first college scholarship in 1983. Since awarding just one college scholarship that first year, Esperanza has grown steadily to where it is now able to award over 100 college scholarships every year through the support of corporations, foundations, and individual donors.
In 1988, a permanent office was established, a mentorship program was developed, and the number of scholarships started to increase. In 1989, a dropout prevention program was implemented and endorsed by the Cleveland Municipal School District. The following year, the William Senquiz Endowment Fund was established in memory of Esperanza’s first executive director. In 1991, a strategic plan for the 1990s and beyond was adopted by the Board of Trustees, and the first annual Fiesta of Hope Scholarship Awards Luncheon was held. The retention and graduation of Hispanics in school is of major importance to community leaders, educators, and corporate leaders who recognize the significance of this population in the growth of the community and as an active participant in the nation’s work force.
Esperanza has taken a leadership role in advocating on behalf of Hispanics and developing and assisting in the implementation of educational policy statements. By establishing linkages between community leaders, organizations, and educational institutions, Esperanza, Inc. represents a model for overcoming educational barriers and ensuring quality education through community action.
• Mentoring Coordinator
Meet Mentor Magda:
Magda was a young mom with two young children, working to support her family as a secretary for a local company.”I knew that I had so much more to offer. I wanted to be a role model, so my kids could see they have opportunity as well,” Magda said.
She set out to obtain her college degree and turned to Esperanza for financial support.”I wasn’t able to accomplish all I have on my own,” Magda said. She started at Tri-C, moved on to John Carroll to complete her bachelor’s degree, and completed a master’s degree at Case Western Reserve while being a community advocate and mentor for Esperanza students.
“I always keep in mind all that I experienced to try and make it easier for them. Often times when you are starting out, you are not aware of what the challenges are or even where to begin. Role models and mentors help students stay on track.”
Madga is currently working towards her Ph.D. while working at Tri-C as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion.