For most of us, September marks the beginning of a brand new school year. But it’s also a time to celebrate the many significant cultural and societal contributions made by Latinos. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), here are four groundbreaking Latino stars who work hard every day to make a difference.
Many know America Ferrera for her critically acclaimed portrayal of fashion-challenged Betty Suarez on the hit series Ugly Betty. The talented 27-year-old actress has also starred in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequel. Ferrera, who holds multiple awards including a Golden Globe and an Emmy, has never allowed fame to prevent her from bettering society.
Having grown up with very little money, Ferrera’s mother instilled in her the importance of a higher education. And now, the ambitious young star is actively working to help and encourage children to stay in school.
As an Ambassador for Save the Children, an organization dedicated to providing food, medical care, and a meaningful education to children in need, Ferrera (with the help of her Ugly Betty cast mates!) successfully raised funds to build a school in Mali.
“I couldn’t be more excited to support Save the Children in its effort to educate children around the world. When a child learns, the entire community benefits,” Ferrera said at the Clinton Global Citizen Awards ceremony in 2008. “It’s horrifying to think about the 72 million children who are not in school and may never have the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment. I believe that our world can become a much more productive and peaceful place when every child is given the opportunity to attend school.”
The celebrated Honduran actress also supports a host of other charities including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer.
To learn how you and your family can raise some much-needed funds for Save the Children, visit the organization’s website.
David Archuleta set the American Idol stage on fire back in 2008 with his nearly flawless renditions of popular songs. And this swoon-worthy singer, songwriter, and bestselling author not only has major talent, but a heart to match. The 20-year-old Honduran sensation counts himself a part of DoSomething.org's Teens for Jeans charity initiative, which outfits homeless teenagers across the nation.
“I think that this is a really great way to give back to the community and also feel good about yourself,” Indelicato told Seventeen in reference to his work supporting Teens for Jeans. “I'm donating jeans to someone who doesn't have as many [jeans] as I do. It's great to be involved in something that is so powerful, especially for teens.”
Teens for Jeans has already collected a staggering one million pairs of gently used jeans so far – but until teen homelessness is over, the collections won’t stop. Visit the organization’s website (http://www.dosomething.org/teensforjeans/take-action) to read about all the ways in which you can become a part of this admirable fight against homelessness. The site includes creative and fun ideas like a customizable public service announcement.
This Nickelodeon starlet made her debut on Zoey 101 and quickly ascended to leading lady status when she accepted the starring role in the network’s high school sitcom Victorious. The half Puerto Rican actress and singing sensation is also slated to star in two comedies next year.
And when she isn’t on set or in the studio, this ambitious 18-year-old serves as a spokesperson for Girl Up, a United Nations Charity that works to empower teen girls in developing countries. The organization also provides these young women with school supplies, clean water, and healthcare.
“I’m so excited to become a Champion for Girl Up and to help make a difference for girls who aren’t given the same opportunities that most of us take for granted,” Justice said in a statement featured on Girl Up’s website. “I know that there are plenty of girls throughout the country who are just like me – ready and motivated to stand up for the rights and well-being of girls in the developing world. I am confident that, together, we will rise to the challenge.”
Even if your last name isn’t Justice, you can still work for justice! With quick tips on how to host school fundraisers and promote Girl Up’s social media campaigns, you can be an essential part of improving the lives of impoverished girls and teens. Visit this page (http://www.girlup.org/get-involved/high-five.html) to start making a positive change!