Chicago Cubs and Hispanic Leaders Join Forces to Help Teens Succeed

The Chicago Cubs and Hispanic leaders have teamed up to help Chicago’s youth reach their potential through Cubs Charities, an organization devoted to using the power of sport to champion youth, families and communities.  Along with focusing on sports-based development, Cubs Charities has a number of priorities including academic programming, creating safe spaces to play and grantmaking. “It’s not just about the sports, but the youth development and academic support we’re giving,” said Alicia Gonzalez, executive director. One of several initiatives, the Cubs Scholars program offers “high-potential students with demonstrated need” the opportunity to receive a $20,000 scholarship upon enrollment in a four-year college or university. One of the current participants, Nicholas Lagunas, is an RBI all-star in the program and a senior at Walter Payton High School. Lagunas says he’ll be the first in his family to go to college. “I was recognized for my leadership and because of that, they wanted to extend to my college life,” he said. “The program allowed me to express the best qualities of myself.” Lagunas says his team is comprised of the greatest leaders from across Chicago high schools. “What they offer is the opportunity to become a leader on the field and outside it as well,” he said. “You play with amazing people and talk to amazing coaches.” One such coach, Tony Rodriguez, who has been involved in the organization for two years, joined after seeing the positive impact in his Little Village neighborhood. “It’s a family. It’s kindness is loved and respect for the game, being humble… key factors and a great program,” he said. Rodriguez also had a piece of advice for players – one that applies after they head to college. “If you’re a coachable player, you’re a coachable employee…and that goes for the rest of your life,” he said.

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