Encuentros Leadership was launched in 2003 to curb high drop-out rates among Latino boys. Today the program attracts more than 600 middle and high school Latino boys each year from local school districts in North San Diego county. Encuentros highlights the importance of education and its connection to a successful career. The nonprofit grew out of a deep concern that high school graduation rates are the lowest among Latino boys in comparison to other ethnic groups. The timeline is the 2018-19 academic year.
A report published by the A. Schott Foundation for Public Education states that barely half of male Latinos graduate from high school in four years. Heidi Brooks, COO for the Shott Foundation, states, "Instead of a child's success being determined by his talents and abilities, today it is determined by what ZIP code a child attends school in""We've seen across the country that schools with high Latino and Black enrollment often lack AP (advanced placement) courses, up-to-date textbooks, full science labs, and libraries."
Encuentros Leadership is trying to reverse this trend of high drop out rates by promoting STEM careers aimed at attracting middle and high school Latino boys to science, technology, engineering and math fields. With chapters in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and Escondido school districts, Encuentros Leadership also supports a large outreach program to Latino fathers to heighten awareness and encourage support for their sons' education beyond high school. The program, called Pláticas: Hombre a Hombre, is a six-week intensive program where each participant father learns a multitude of skills to help his son navigate life beyond high school.
The funds will be used to guide Latino boys through their education, to help reverse the high drop out rates by encouraging boys to stay in school, to graduate, and to go onto a higher education. Route 78 Rotarians model professional demeanor through their interactions with the boys. One Rotarian is on the Board of Encuentros Leadership. The timeline for the use of these funds is the Academic year 2018-2019.