SAF has focused on education reform since its inception over 20 years ago. The Levante program began through a partnership with the North Carolina Migrant Education Program in 1998. Through this partnership, SAF developed 17 peer support groups in high schools, organized college access workshops, retreats, and college tours for over 1,000 migrant youth, provided over 100 college student mentors, and offered information about scholarships and other resources for farmworker youth. In 2006, SAF began working more deeply with a small group of farmworker teens. The Levante program provides monthly trainings on college access, academics, life skills, and advocacy, have helped participating families and students successfully explore options for staying in school, furthering their education beyond high school, and addressing injustices in their communities. The project is a part of the Triangle for Latino Student Success project, through which SAF is aligning curriculum with two other after-school programs targeting Latino students and school success. The Levante program uses cultural arts and organizing as a means to successfully engage the students and annually works with up to 20 farmworker teens and their families.
The goal of the Levante Leadership Institute is to provide farmworker youth in Eastern North Carolina with the necessary tools, mentorship, and support to achieve in school and become leaders in their community. Through the Levante Leadership Institute, youth and their parents learn how education can have a positive, long-term impact on their families’ ability to move out of poverty. Participants meet other youth who share their experiences, and they support each other to gain the self-confidence needed to fully participate in their schools and communities. Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) is developing a pipeline of local Latino leaders—after graduating from Levante and enrolling in college, students are eligible for other SAF leadership programs.
· Over the past five years, 85% of participating youth successfully completed the program.
· Of the participating youth that graduated from high school, 75% enrolled in college.
· Youth worked with The Beehive Design Collective on a portable mural creation process and learned how to use their stories to graphically tell a collective story to capture their experiences and those of other Latinos, as well as farmworker injustice. The youth now see themselves as part of this larger Latino and immigrant movement for social change.