bienvenido scholars latino initiative invites public to 10th anniversary celebration

Bienvenido: Scholars Latino Initiative invites public to 10th anniversary celebration

Scholars Latino InitiativeIn celebration of 10 years of supporting Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships and supportive mentorships, Scholars Latino Initiative will hold ¡10th Anniversary Tapas!

The Harrisonburg-based college access nonprofit celebration will be held from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Sunny Slope Farm. The evening will offer mingling over diverse, locally sourced heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer from Three Notch’d Brewing Co., live music by Lua Project, and salsa and bachata dancing led by Phillip Fusaro.

This outdoor family-friendly event is organized for ages 12 and older. Tickets are available at through September 20.

“This celebration will reflect the richness of Latino foods and cultures in our community,” SLI board member and event planner Sylvia Whitney Beitzel said in a press release. “It will also be a time to reflect on the impact that SLI and its community of support have had on the students who are SLI scholars.”

SLI collaborates with public school teachers and local university faculty, staff and student mentors in Harrisonburg, Richmond, and Winchester, Virginia to provide college access opportunities for children from families that are disproportionately under-resourced and disenfranchised. Despite growing as a population in Virginia and the U.S., Latino students are underrepresented on college campuses. SLI has provided more than $437,000 in college scholarship awards, computer awards and dual enrollment tuition assistance since 2012, and SLI alumni have attended 21 colleges and universities.

“SLI understands how difficult it is for Latino families to contribute to their children’s education, and produces new opportunities for Latinx students facing struggles during the college process,” said Janefer, a SLI scholar who graduated from Harrisonburg High School this year and will now study biology and medical Spanish at James Madison University. “SLI opens new doors by not only helping us pay our dual enrollment tuition to obtain college credits while in high school, but also by challenging us to serve the community without receiving anything back. It is our choice to help, and we do it with much love and dedication.”

Founded in 2001 by Peter Iver Kaufman and others at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kaufman brought the nonprofit to the University of Richmond, and later to the Shenandoah Valley, where SLI was incorporated in 2012.



Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.