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Report Shows Challenges For Latino Youth In Montgomery County

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Latino GED students attend class at Montgomery County's Crossroads Youth Opportunity Center.
Armando Trull
Latino GED students attend class at Montgomery County's Crossroads Youth Opportunity Center.

At the Crossroads Youth Opportunity Center, Latino students are working on their GED after dropping out of high school.

"I got tired of working in construction, and I really didn't want to be doing that for the rest of my life," says 21-year-old Walter.

Fellow student Nancy, 19, says she's changed her direction too.

"I stopped drinking, I stopped doing all that bad stuff, and I started coming here and CYOC has helped me a lot," she says.

Walter and Nancy get their high school diplomas in June. But they're exceptions -- Latino teens have the highest dropout and lowest graduation rates of any group in Montgomery County.

They face more challenges, including the highest teen pregnancy rate in the county and a sense, according to surveys, that they have no support.

"The community as a whole felt that if we did not act together we would lose a generation of Latino youth in Montgomery County," says Diego Uriburu, with the group Identity.

Uriburo also says the report recommends a host of changes in county policies to help that generation of latino youth "hanging in the balance".

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