Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chispa in the news again!

Click here to see a wonderful article about the filming of Chispa's second video, in Visalia, California! We travelled to the Central Valley to film the talented and dedicated young men in the program Sequoia Gateway.

My first video, La Chispa del Béisbol, was officially released in March. It's been featured at several major foreign language teaching conferences and is being used in classrooms across the United States.

For my second video, I went to Visalia, CA to film the absolutely incredible group of academically and athletically talented high school boys who are part of Sequoia Gateway, a program designed to help them get to college on soccer scholarships.

In most cases, these young men come from the crop-picking families of the Central Valley, and will be the first in their families to go to college.

The Sequoia Gateway program provides intensive soccer training, takes the kids to tournaments where college recruiters will see them, provides tutoring and college advising, takes them on college visits, and carries out character education workshops. With Sequoia Gateway's help, these young men plan to become engineers, architects, teachers, businessmen, and whatever other careers they have as their goal. And I have no doubt they will achieve their goals!

I highly encourage you to find out more about Sequoia Gateway by visiting their website. You will be as inspired and moved as I was when I first learned about this group, and as my husband, daughter and two sons were when they came out with me to Visalia.

In fact, my entire family helped out with the shoot, as you can see by the photo above! My daughter showed an incredible knack for picking just the right camera angle, my husband and older son were invaluable in connecting all those wires so that the sound would come out just right, and my younger son repeated his role from the first video as key grip and top production assistant!

The video is already generating a lot of excitement, even before it is completed. It is truly an amazing story, and I am so honored to be able to feature the leaders, coaches and participants of Sequoia Gateway so they can serve not only as teachers of language and culture, but as role models for young people around the country who are looking to achieve their dreams.

And I have to say that, given the tenor of the current immigration debate, I am so pleased to be able to put materials out into the world that celebrate the Spanish language and Latino cultures in the US.

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