Youth Development2022-08-01T11:55:12-05:00


“Escalera: Taking Steps to Success” is a free after school program that promotes economic mobility for immigrant and refugee youth by supporting educational attainment, college planning, and access to information about professional careers. The program is delivered through weekly cohort meetings for any first-generation college student (regardless of background) in 11th and 12th grades at select high schools.

Our team offers:

  • Individual Case Management
  • Leadership Development
  • College & Career Exploration
  • College Trips & Info Sessions
  • Information in Spanish & English
  • Support with college applications
  • Support with scholarships
  • FAFSA Assistance
  • Specialized advising for DACA/undocumented students

We are currently implementing the Escalera Program with 11th and 12th grade first-generation immigrant and refugee students at Glencliff, Overton and Cane Ridge High Schools. In Spring 2021 we are accepting juniors at Antioch High School; interested students should apply here.

Eighty-eight percent of students who have enrolled in this nationwide program developed by UnidosUS have successfully completed the program and graduated from high school, compared to 73% nationwide for Hispanic students (Pew Hispanic Center). Of those Escalera graduates, 87% enrolled in postsecondary institutions (compared to 44% nationwide for Hispanic high school graduates).

For more information about the Escalera Program, please contact Maria Paula Zapata.

College Success

Escalera Grads is a college level continuation of Escalera that follows Escalera students through their college career and continues providing the support they need to achieve their educational and professional goals.

Our team provides:

  • 1:1 Coaching Support
  • Personal Development
  • College & Career Exploration
  • Job Readiness Training
  • Parent Workshops
  • Information in Spanish & English

Events and coaching for first generation college students from partner high schools and the wider community.

Contact Linly Stowe for more information.

Youth Development Specialist

In the fall of 2018, Conexión Américas and Overton High School began a one-of-a kind partnership to serve recently arrived Latino immigrant students.

The Youth Development Specialist is a full-time Conexión Américas staff member who is on-site at Overton High School providing specialized support to students. The YDS works closely with school administrators and staff to support efforts related to students’ sense of belonging, academic progress, socio-emotional wellbeing, and attendance.

If you are interested in a partnership to bring this position to your school, please contact Maria Paula Zapata.

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