Ivan Echeverry speaks at the launch of a report on Latino youth. County Council Member George Leventhal (left) and County Executive Ike Leggett (right) announce how they will address the challenges presented in the report Monday.
"I let myself get controlled by all of the gang stuff," Navarro says.
But he got a second chance through a community based program run by an organization called Identity.
"First, after I get my GED I'm going to go to college. I’m going to study to be an automotive technician, then I’m going to work on cars and open my own business,” he says.
Navarro‘s case is not unique. Latino young people have the highest rate of high school dropouts and teen pregnancies in Montgomery County, and surveys indicate the youngsters feel they have little support from their families or community. County Executive Ike Legget has tasked county agencies with providing more culturally competent help for Latinos.
Shirley Brandman is Vice President of Montgomery County’s Board of Education.
"We need to become very aware of how we as a community embrace and welcome Latino youth and their families,” Brandman says.
She adds that another key recommendation is for schools to serve as resource centers for Latinos. An oversight group has been charged to oversee how the recommendations are implemented over the next two or three years.