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Encuentros Leadership is a non-profit organization founded to encourage and support boys of Latino descent to achieve optimal performance in education.


About us

Our Mission: To empower Latino leaders through education

Our Vision: That every Latino male maximizes their potential to lead.

Our Core Values: Honor, Educate, Empower, Lead, Serve, Advocate

Organization History

Encuentros Leadership is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, Latino community organization focused on advocating for the educational, social and economic success of young Latino males. Encuentros Leadership was incorporated in Northern San Diego County by Latino leaders in 2003 in response to the historically low post-secondary education achievement levels of Latino males. Community members came together and set out to develop an organization that would directly address this issue. Encuentros Leadership has since partnered with six local universities and community colleges, as well as with numerous other middle and high schools to work directly with Latino male students and their families.

Encuentros Leadership has impacted thousands of Latino boys throughout San Diego county with their many programs. Today, our efforts have been recognized as an award-winning community response. In 2015 and 2016, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics identified Encuentros  as a “national Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.” In 2015 and 2016, Excelencia in Education, an advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., recognized Encuentros “for accelerating degree completion among Latino males” and for delivering effective, evidence-based programs. Encuentros was published in Excelencia’s 2016 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Education.”

Our Programs

Summer Academies

This is our week-long college dorm residential program for high school students. Students live on a college campus and develop core leadership competencies and are challenged to complete their college degree and give back to their communities. Since our initial Leadership academy, we have since added career specific academies: The Engineer and Teacher academies, each aimed to encourage students to pursue those respective careers.

Career Exploration Conference

Our career exploration conferences, a day-long event hosted by local community colleges, offer middle school students the opportunity to meet professionals from various fields, learn about potential career options and develop a college going spirit.

Platicas: Hombre a hombre

Platicas are a 6-week workshop series developed for Latino male students and their fathers. Through the series, both son and father explore topics of cultural identity and heritage, family history and the importance of the expression of gratitude and love between men.

Encuentros Class

A year-long middle school course, our Encuentros class provides a space for students to engage in culturally relevant curriculum and to learn more about their cultural heritage through the mentorship of an Encuentros teacher.

Awards and Recognition

In 2015 and 2016, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics identified Encuentros  as a “national Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.” Excelencia in Education, an advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., recognized Encuentros “for accelerating degree completion among Latino males” and for delivering effective, evidence-based programs. Encuentros was published in Excelencia’s 2016 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Education.”

In 2019, the Encuentros Teachers Academy was identified as a “Program to watch” by Excelencia in Education, the “nation’s premier authority driving change to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.”

Encuentros Leadership has been invited to present at the San Diego County Office of Education Equity conference for three years (2018. 2019, and 2020) to share their work with local educators and community advocates.

Encuentros in the news

  • Encuentros to host 8th annual conference for Latino students
  • Encuentros Leadership recognized by White House
  • Encuentros Leadership Aims to Increase Graduation Rates for at-risk Latino boys
  • Encuentros Academy Helps Put Latinos on Path to Teaching
  • Why young Latino men don’t think of becoming teachers

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