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Rural Champion, Roland Arriola, Brings Grass Roots Change to Youth in South Texas

Roland Arriola, Founder & President, Texas Valley Communities Foundation, Texas

Roland Arriola, Founder & President, Texas Valley Communities Foundation, Texas

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

After retiring from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2008, Dr. Arriola, like many retirees in America, wanted to continue to be of service to his community. He formed the Texas Valley Communities Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)3 tax exempt organization designed to provide funding and support to grass roots organizations in South Texas seeking to develop and implement effective college readiness outreach programs for Hispanics and at-risk students. Through his efforts, and with the help of grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Motor Company Fund, Meadows Foundation, and the Houston Endowment, Dr. Arriola’s foundation and its partner grass roots organizations have created the Engaging Communities for College Readiness (ENCORE) program.

During the last three years, ENCORE has worked with more than 30 local school districts in South Texas and provided college readiness mentoring to more than 4,800 Hispanic and at-risk middle school and high school students. Prior to his retirement, Dr. Arriola was named as one of the Top 50 Most Important Hispanics in Business and Technology for his leadership role in establishing the National Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Conference, an event held every year during Hispanic Heritage Month. HESTEC, now in its tenth year, attracts more than 50,000 parents, teachers, administrators and students to its week-long celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math initiatives. Major private sector corporations in the energy, chemical, and manufacturing arena are sponsors for this initiative.

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