Aylwing Olivas, a 21-year old student at Miami Dade College's InterAmerican campus in Miami, noticed that undocumented immigrant high schoolers were dropping out at staggering rates.
So between biology classes and his duties as college student body president, Olivas organized a group of friends. After deciding that social media would be the best way to reach undocumented high school students, Olivas' group developed an online campaign to help Miami-Dade teenagers learn about their options for higher education and develop a plan. But, until this week, the group lacked one thing -- money.
On Monday, the InterAmerican campus group became one of five organizations to receive part of a $25,000 grant from Mobilize.org and the Knight Foundation. Thirteen student groups competed for the funds.
Across the nation, undocumented high school students attend college at very low rates. According to a 2008 report by the Immigration Policy Center, roughly 65,000 undocumented children who have lived in the United States for five years or longer graduate from high school each year. Only between 5 and 10 percent of these high school graduates go on to college, according the report. And those that do make it to college campuses often do not graduate. In 2010, only 51 percent of all Latino college students graduated after six years in school, according to the American Enterprise Institute.
The InterAmerican campus' anti-drop out group will receive a $5,000 grant and technical support from Mobilize.org. Their videos and pod casts will be made available to students at Miami Senior High School, Coral Gables Senior High School and Miami Springs Senior High School, according to The Miami Herald.
Olivas, who is also an undocumented immigrant, hopes that his project will empower others to take action to slow the drop out rate among undocumented students.
"We are trying to empower students within our communities to develop a sense of urgency and to try to do something. If we can get students within high schools to actually go out there and form coalitions and groups within our high schools, than we've done an incredible thing," Olivas told the Mobalize.org judges.
WATCH: Aylwing Olivas Makes His Bid For Funding (Starting at 1:50 minute mark)
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more