Fuerza is the youth leadership committee of Juntos. It was founded in the fall of 2011 by student leaders in South Philadelphia to address the issues of education, labor, and immigration from a youth perspective. The high Latinx drop-out rate in the city of Philadelphia and the barriers to college access for undocumented youth are issues that Fuerza tries to address. Many youth in our community have at one point or another felt discouraged by the education system. The burden of not knowing English in addition to attending underfunded schools has caused many immigrant youth to experience depression and isolation when thinking about life after high school. Applying to college is a daunting prospect under most circumstances, but when you are undocumented, it becomes even more challenging. Most schools view undocumented applicants as international students, meaning that 1) it is harder for them to be admitted and 2) even if they are admitted, they are charged full tuition. Many counselors do not know how to support undocumented students in this situation; they are not clear on what rights these youth have to a college education or how to help them navigate the application and financial process.
If you are a Latinx immigrant youth in Philadelphia and want to find out more, you can come to our weekly meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 3pm @ 600 Washington Ave (2nd floor of the Saigon Maxim Shopping Center).