2015 Grantee Partners

"¡Soy Unica, Soy Latina!"  "I am unique! I am Latina!"

The Crosby Scholars Excelencia! program encouraged 118 Hispanic middle school girls to succeed in school and careers through a grant from The Women's Fund. Exelencia! recruits girls from five middle school with at least 25% Hispanic students.  Since foreign-born parents may come from a different cultural background, Excelencia! addresses issues of ethnic pride, self-esteem, cultural values and the importance of education.

At the heart of the program is "Soy Unica! Soy Latina!," a curriculum created by the US Department of Health and Human Services. "Soy Unica" covers academics, college preparation, career exploration and personal development to increase motivation to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. Two-hour classes meet once a month at the targeted schools. Girls are also required to attend a 90-minute "Crosby Academy" class that focuses on academics and personal development.  In addition, professional Hispanic women speak to the girls, showing them that education and success are within their reach.           

The bilingual coordinator, funded in part by The Women's Fund, leads "Soy Latina" classes and parent workshops and actively mentors the girls. Her proficiency in Spanish enables her to reach many more families. In addition, she puts a great deal of time into publicizing Excelencia in schools, agencies, community centers.          

Excelencia actively involves parents in the program so that they can work as a team with their children and the school system. Workshops provide information on how to communicate effectively with their schools and teachers, and how to guide and prepare their children for high school graduation. Parent workshops are based on a DVD, "Exitotal," which stresses the importance of higher education for their children. The coordinator has posted informational materials on the Crosby Scholars website into Spanish to further parents' understanding of the program's objectives.

Parents are enthusiastic about Excelencia. The mother of an 8th grader said, " I was about to take my daughter out of school when she graduated in the 8th grade cause I thought that the daughter of an undocumented person…could not go to college. With the Excelencia program I have learned that my daughter can be a professional and not suffer in life like I have."

Excelencia is an outreach program of the Crosby Scholars Community Partnership Program, which helps students from diverse groups in Forsyth County prepare academically and financially for college. Since 1992, the Crosby Scholars Program has helped students to further their education. The Program mentors students from middle school through high school and college.

Crosby Scholars exceeded their grant goals for the Excelencia program during their first grant and have recently been awarded a second grant to continue the program.


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