Youth Rising, an empowerment program for Latino students in Central Oregon, is growing, so the Latino Community Association has hired a full-time program manager. Renee Sanchez is a familiar face at Jewell Elementary School, where she helps out with the Raíces (Roots) after-school program that nurtures students in their native language and culture.
Sanchez grew up in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. She studied in Colima, Mexico, and then completed a bilingual cross-cultural language internship through California State University Fullerton.
Sanchez taught elementary school in Santa Ana, on the Pala reservation, and in a dual language program in San Clemente. In 2006, she and her family moved to Bend, and she began teaching English language development at Jewell Elementary School. Later, she taught Dual Immersion second grade Spanish at Bear Creek Elementary.
Youth Rising offers simple interventions that can motivate immigrant kids to succeed in school and in life. Integrating the arts into Raices and the Amiguitos summer enrichment program is a priority for Sanchez. She studied Intercultural Communications at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., and Arts Integration into the Curriculum through Lesley University.