In 2007, Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) was founded with a mission to mobilize Latino professionals to speak in schools as role models for Latino youth. HISPA’s key program, the HISPA Role Model Program (HRMP), began in 2008 in New Jersey. HRMP sends role models to public schools with majority Latino enrollment (85% of students in the HMRP program are Latino), targeting grades 5 through 9. Over the school year, students participate in three aspects of the program: 1) 12 different role models make six visits to HRMP students in a given school (six visits per year, two role models per visit), 2) students visit one of the role model’s organizations, and 3) students and role models participate in a youth conference at an institution of higher education. Role models share their personal journeys and professional careers while emphasizing the importance of higher education. HRMP role models represent diverse careers: 41% business; 30% STEM; 14% Social Sciences/Humanities; 15% other (e.g. education, law, health care).
HISPA’s mission is to build the pipeline of Latinos in higher education by mobilizing Latino role models to inspire students' academic achievement. HISPA has 3 goals: 1) unite Latino students and role models who emphasize the importance of higher education, 2) expose students to diverse career opportunities, and 3) increase student awareness/attitude towards college/careers.
Research shows a strong correlation between having a role model and pursuing education. Although HISPA focuses on grades 5 through 9, the program helps create a college-going culture among the students they serve.
- To date, HRMP has made 500 school visits and reached 7,000 students. During the 2015-2016 school year, HRMP served about 1500 students at 12 schools in New Jersey, Florida, Texas, and New York.
- HRMP positively impacts student attitude/awareness of college/career. In '14-'15, 67% of students reported an increased interest in college and 70% of students reported an increase in their belief that they could attend college.
- Additional survey data showed that 92% of students learned more about possible careers, 96% of students were inspired to do better in school, 95% of students were inspired to set college as a goal, 94% of students reported that they want to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, and 40% want to earn an advanced degree.