CORONA, Queens — A nonprofit is helping Hispanic teenagers, mostly new immigrants or first-generation Americans, find role models to not just help guide them to college and their dream careers, but pave the way through life’s ups and downs.
Lizet Luna, 18, said her dream is to one day go to law school. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants.
“I would be the first to graduate college and become a lawyer,” she said. “It means a lot to me because I know how much my family sacrificed,” said Luna.
Sandra Munoz said she sees herself in Luna’s story. She was also a Latina growing up in Queens — and now, she’s a successful attorney. Thanks to the mentorship program, the two are now connected.
Munoz said it feels like she’s a big sister.
“When I was her age … I didn’t have someone to guide me or show me the ropes,” Munoz said.
The program is called “Escalera,” which means staircase or ladder in Spanish. It’s just one of the programs offered by the Dominico-American Society of Queens, located in the heart of Corona.
Jose Tejada is the executive director of DASQ, and said that, since 2016, the program has mentored over a hundred young college bound Latinos and Latinas— high school students ages 14-18.
The mentors are from all cultures and ethnicities, helping guide the young mentees. From police officers and politicians to judges and college professors, these mentors, don’t just give advice — they create a relationship that lasts for years.
Learn more about the program on the Dominico-American Society of Queens website.