Student Voices - Supporting Our Leaders (SOL) Youth Program, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

Supporting Our Leaders (SOL) Youth Program is a program within the education department of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan founded in 1978. SOL is the only Latino youth program in Kent County designed to promote the educational success of the entire family through innovative and culturally responsive engagement activities. The community surrounding the Center is severely underserved, 76% are Latino and 63% have less than a high school diploma. SOL serves at-risk youth to become academically prepared for college and beyond. Of students served, 85% identify as Latino.

SOL has served more than 800 students since 2008, growing from 88 students in 2008 to 493 in 2013. Of students served, 93% completed the program. The graduation rate of participating students is 89%, compared to 42% of Hispanic students in Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) and 64% in Michigan overall. Over 50% of graduating participants enrolled in post-secondary education, compared to 42% of GRPS students and 79% of SOL students that entered college returned the next year.
The SOL Youth Program was selected as the 2014 Example at the Community-Based Organization level. Learn more about this program in the Growing What Works Database.