The ASPIRA Association

The ASPIRA Association - Making Global Impact for Over 50 Years!

 
 
The ASPIRA Association, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the only national Hispanic organization dedicated exclusively to developing the educational and leadership capacity of Hispanic youth.  

 

Since 1961, ASPIRA has been working at the grass-roots level to provide programs that encourage Hispanic students to stay in school while preparing them to succeed academically, develop leadership skills and serve their communities.

 

ASPIRA is organized in eight states and Puerto Rico and has an extensive national presence through its partnerships with hundreds of regional, state and local community based organizations. It currently serves more than 85,000 students each year through its ASPIRA Clubs in schools and its after-school education and guidance programs.  

 

ASPIRA is a very diverse organization working with substantial numbers of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Central Americans, Mexicans and Cubans, as well as with African Americans, non-Hispanic whites and Haitians, among others.

 

The Association is a confederation of ASPIRA statewide organizations, which provide various educational, enrichment and support services to Latino youth and their families in schools, community centers and ASPIRA Clubs.

 

ASPIRA Associates develop partnerships with schools, community organizations, businesses, community leaders and parents to provide comprehensive programs to advance the leadership capabilities and educational achievement of Hispanic and other youth.

 

Today, ASPIRA has more than 450,000 alumni. Virtually every Puerto Rican leader, both nationally and locally, has been an Aspirante.  ASPIRA is in a unique position and particularly suited to advance its mission, for these reasons:

         

  • National scope. The Association has a widespread reach, with offices in seven states and Puerto Rico. At these locations ASPIRA maintains its long-standing relationship with the community. In addition, ASPIRA has hundreds of partners nationally, through which it delivers ASPIRA-originated programming.
  • Youth leadership development. ASPIRA has more than 50 years of experience in youth leadership development programs in inner cities.  Virtually every second-generation Hispanic leader, in the Northeast, Southeast, the Chicago metro area and Puerto Rico, has been an Aspirante.
  • International outreach. ASPIRA programs are used in more than 10,000 organizations operating telecenters in North America, Central America, South America, Africa, the Caribbean and Spain, through several international cooperative agreements.
  • Extensive experience in youth programs.  ASPIRA serves more than 85,000 students and parents directly each year through its Associate Offices and extensive on-line programs.
  • Proven track record with the Hispanic population. Our record demonstrates 44 years of experience in working with students and parents. In each of our offices, we have at least 35 years of service to the communities.
  • Rated as one of the Top 10 charities in the nation. As reported by Money Magazine, the American Institute of Philanthropy rated ASPIRA an A+ organization, based not only on our compliance with programmatic standards, but also on program spending, fund-raising efficiency and size of reserves.
  • Rated by Hispanic Business magazine from 2002 to 2014 as one of the largest Hispanic nonprofit organizations in the U.S.  Based on its shared mission and governance structure, budget size, human and technical resources the ASPIRA Association was rated one of the three largest Hispanic community based organizations in the country.
  • Extensive capabilities in information technology.  ASPIRA manages more than 20 web sites, provides web hosting for its affiliates and other community based organizations, manages e-mail services, the organization extranet and the national online MIS system. We also operate or provide support to more than 150 community technology centers, and provide networking engineering, security services and IT technical assistance and training.
  • Inclusive organization. ASPIRA reaches out to the local community to provide programs and services to any youth and their families who wish to participate. ASPIRA services Puerto Ricans, African Americans and non-Hispanic whites.
  • Youth Participation in governance and planning. No other youth organization in the country has the level of youth representation in governance that ASPIRA has. Youth are represented on all ASPIRA boards of directors (local) and each associate has a youth representative on the National Board of Directors. Seven voting members of the National Board of Directors are under 25 (stated in the by-laws)—40 percent of the National Board.  

 

The young people on the National Board sit on a standing committee: the Committee on Student Affairs. The committee chair sits on the Executive Committee. In fact , two of the seven members of the executive committee are youth members.

 

ASPIRA was incorporated in New York. The New York State legislature passed a law exempting ASPIRA, specifically, from the requirement that board members be 21 or over. Currently, ASPIRA, by special legislation, can have board members who are 16 and older.

 

The ASPIRA process and ASPIRA's success
 
Over the years, ASPIRA has developed a highly successful model for intervention called the “ASPIRA Process." It teaches young people to become aware of their own situation and that of their community, to analyze the root causes of barriers to their success, and to take action for positive changes in their personal lives and the life of their community, all within the context of reinforcing pride in their cultural background as well as their self-esteem.

 

Because of this process and the services ASPIRA offers, more than 95 percent of Aspirantes (ASPIRA’s students) complete high school, and more than 90 percent go on to college. Moreover, almost every Latino leader in politics, business and education in the cities ASPIRA serves has been an Aspirante.

 

Recently, ASPIRA was credited by the Superintendent of Bridgeport, Conn., public schools for cutting the Latino drop-out rate in that city by half. Among many others, ASPIRA has also been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Education for its mathematics and science academy and for its parent involvement program, called APEX, as well as by the President's Initiative on Race, which designated ASPIRA as an "Exemplary Program."

 

Drop-out prevention, increased college attendance, an alternative to
gangs and violence in Schools and a commitment to service.
 
 
ASPIRA's Youth Development and Youth Leadership program has proven a highly effective national model for ensuring that students remain in school, go on to college, pursue a career and engage in service. The program serves as an alternative to gangs and violence in schools with high concentrations of poor Latino students in the inner cities ASPIRA serves.  

 

Through community service, each year Aspirantes serve thousands of hours as tutors and mentors to younger children in their communities.  As indicated, an overwhelming majority of ASPIRA Club members (currently more than 15,000 nationally) participate in the program, finish high school and go on to college.

 

The impact of ASPIRA’s youth leadership program is best exemplified by the number of Latino leaders in the states served by ASPIRA who are today leaders in their communities. In fact, almost every Latino leader in these states—politicians, college presidents and other professionals—has been an Aspirante, and many leaders across the country were ASPIRA Club members in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

 

 

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