Avanzando Mentorship Program

By Iván Ramírez, Senior Student Services Coordinator
Office of Multicultural Student Affairs – Avanzando Program

Avanzando is the result of a partnership established between the Hispanic Development Fund (HDF) and the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). Avanzando started serving students in 2011; with 27 scholars Avanzando was designed to support HDF and Agapito Mendoza Scholarship recipients with individualized support in reaching their academic and career pursuits.

Today, Avanzando continues to grow, it has moved to The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) continues to serve over 100 scholars to date. Although the core goal of Avanzando has not changed new components have been added to enhance the program. There is an ongoing effort to increase retention and graduation rates of Latin American students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Our students come from many walks of life. We not only serve First Generation students but also: new-comers, DACA, 1.5 generation immigrants, 2nd and 3rd generation Latin American students. These students look at MSA and Avanzando provide guidance and college assistance. We support our scholars through monthly Success Workshops, which are a collaborative effort with the UMKC A.A.C.E. Program, UMKC Office of Financial Literacy and Academic Support & Mentoring. Topics covered in the series include “College Budgeting”, “Searching for Scholarships”, “How To Succeed in an Online Class”, “Reading Strategies”, “Time-Management “and many more. We also provide identity workshops with topics such as Afrolatinidad, Latino Mental Health, and LGBTQ + Latinos.

Along with the Success Workshops, Identity Talks, Cohort Outings, other components of the program are bi-weekly Academic Support Check-in meetings with an MSA Staff member and a mentor match-up with a UMKC Upperclassmen and/or Professional from campus or the Kansas City community.

During my first months on the job, the scholars expressed their yearning to have a Latino College experience. As a 1.5 generation immigrant in a predominately white institution, I lacked that experience which is why I strive to enhance the scholars’ journey while at UMKC. It is my hope to see them graduate and when they graduate and go out in the real world, they share of that experience they had at UMKC to other Latino students.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a scholar or mentor in the program, please contact: Ivan Ramirez at 816.235.6625 or ramirezii@umkc.edu.