State Senator Leyva presents nonprofit with $1 million grant to open Inland Empire institute

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (KABC) — This month, State Sen. Connie Leyva presented a $1 million state grant to the nonprofit Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, which will help open the nonprofit’s fifth institute in the state – this time in the Inland Empire.

“It is incredibly important because when you look at my district we are 70% Latino and Latina and we are underrepresented,” said Leyva, who represents part of the Inland Empire. “This will make sure that our young people are learning about the government, they are learning to participate.”

The nonprofit’s institute organizes an annual statewide and regional conference for the areas they serve, which are Sacramento, the Bay Area, Fresno, the Central Valley, Los Angeles and now the Inland Empire. The conference consists of having youth participate in panels and workshops centering around culture, community, college and careers.

“This is amazing. It is incredible when you learn more about your culture,” said Roxanna Perez, a student from the nonprofit.

The conference is also puts students through a mock legislative session, and county and city council meetings.

“It was life-changing,” said Joel Monte, a student from the nonprofit. “I want to go into government and politics.”

The nonprofit also helps pay for the students’ conference expenses, for which the grant money will be used. The grant will also help pay for full-time staff to work in the nonprofit, which will be a first in the history of the organization. Before, the nonprofit was run by volunteers.

“This was an area in the state that has been underserved and we are eager to get started in the Inland Empire,” said Ivan Carrillo, the nonprofit’s board president.

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