M.A.S.A. helping students achieve their goals

August 13, 2010 3:31:23 PM PDT
The Mexican-American Student's Alliance is helping students achieve their goals through graduating high school, college, obtaining scholarships, and providing helpful workshops.

People attending one of the workshops performed an exercise in trust.

The people want the student in the circle to know they would not let him fall.

The workshop was run by the Mexican-American Student's Alliance.

"We're just trying to make a better society for everyone by becoming professionals and be contributors to our society," said Angelo Cabrera, M.A.S.A. President and Founder.

Cabrera founded M.A.S.A. in 2001.

It was created to address what he calls an educational crisis.

"About 47% of our high school students are dropping out of high school. So, what we're trying to do here is an intervention program," Cabrera said.

The group's programs start early, targeting younger school children with homework help.

A key strategy at M.A.S.A. is to bring whole families into the fold.

"I'm happy too because they have an education that I never had in my country," said parent, Carmela Alejandro.

M.A.S.A. wants to change the fact that only about 3% of Mexican-Americans go to college.

The program has worked for Erika Flores, a college student, who has returned to M.A.S.A. as a volunteer mentor.

"They helped me through everything I needed; through applications, through the S.A.T.'s through scholarships and everything, so it was a really helpful program," Flores said.

M.A.S.A.'s founders say its benefits go beyond Mexican-American youth.

"A kid that goes through a program like this is more likely to graduate high school and go to college. That kid then becomes a taxpaying adult with a college degree," said Professor Robert Smith, Co-Founder.

Those behind the M.A.S.A. organization say their overall goal is to turn the small minority of Mexican-Americans who gain the opportunities and advantages of going to college, into a majority within that community.