United Way of Ventura County update for Nov. 9

November 9, 2017
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President’s Message
Dear Friends,
Last Saturday, over 200 parents and students attended United Way’s 2nd Annual GradNation Summit, which was the first fully bilingual program of its kind. This year’s theme “Student Success: You Make It Happen – College and Beyond” provided parents with information and tools to keep their children on track for high school graduation. The purpose of the summit was to prepare parents for the transition to high school, and to inform and connect them to available resources and opportunities, all with the goal of increasing the high school graduation rate.
I was moved to tears as siblings Maricruz Hernandez, Principal at Oxnard Middle College High School, and Oscar Hernandez, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the Rio Elementary School District, shared their stories. Both Maricruz and Oscar came to the  United States from Mexico as teenagers, attended high school and college locally, and then embarked on education careers in the Oxnard community. Like Maricruz and Oscar, the majority of the audience came from generations of farm workers who never believed that higher education was a possibility for their children. Thanks to the collective power of South Oxnard, the parents attending the conference, and our education partners, we took real steps to change that perception and to identify, address, and eliminate many of the barriers to graduation.
This Thanksgiving, please take a moment to imagine what your gift means for families becoming more involved in the education of their children. It means your generosity inspires hope. It means you are willing to continue to champion the underserved. And most importantly, it means you believe in the collective impact of United Way.
In service,
Eric Harrison 
President & CEO 
United Way of Ventura County

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