From left to right: Dolores Terrazas, Children Services Division Director at MNC; Santiago Ruiz, MNC Executive Director; and Michele Rutherford, Deputy Director of the new San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education celebrated MNC's becoming a federal Head Start grantee. Photo by Laura Wenus

The non-profit Mission Neighborhood Centers was one of 150 groups to be honored by the White House last week for its commitment to early childhood education for Latinos.

The citation was part of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, which earlier put out a call for different organizations to invest in early education for Hispanics and is rewarding those that rose to the challenge.

“Today, on the culmination of the 2015 Hispanic Heritage Month, the President announced 150 [groups] with a collective investment of over $335 million…in high-quality education, from cradle-to-career, for the nation’s Latino community,” read a statement on the program’s website.

Last month Mission Local spoke to the group’s executive director Sam Ruiz — who went to the White House last week for a presidential reception — about the possible government shutdown and what it would mean for the organization. Mission Neighborhood Centers has been providing services for seniors, children, and language learners for 56 years and is San Francisco’s largest provider of “Head Start” programs.

As part of the celebration, the White House encourages people to tweet #LatinosAchieve to bring attention to the program:

The #LatinosAchieve online campaign highlights Latinos achieving, and seeks to inspire a positive narrative on Latino contributions, while recognizing educational achievement and progress are inextricably linked with the nation’s success.

The Initiative encourages everyone to participate in the online day of action. Using #LatinosAchieve, write a Tweet or FB post, and/or take a picture, and tell the nation:

  • What does #LatinosAchieve mean to you? Or

  • Why is #LatinosAchieve important? Or

  • What do you do to help #LatinosAchieve?

Listen to our interview with Ruiz below:

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