National FFA Organization to celebrate Latino, Hispanic diversity with ‘Somos FFA, We Are FFA’ during 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo

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CONTACT
Kimberly Vogel
Marketing and Communications
National FFA Organization
KVogel@FFA.org
888-332-2589

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012/National FFA Organization) – After emigrating from Mexico, Richard Apolinar’s parents found work in nurseries and eventually started their own nursery business. Today, the first-generation Mexican-American and FFA member works full time at his parents’ nursery in Angier, N.C.

He hopes to become a police officer one day and plans on continuing the family business.

Apolinar is one of more than 56,000 Hispanic and Latino students who belong to FFA, a 557,318-member national organization that develops students in grades seven through 12 into leaders, helps them grow personally and trains them to achieve career success in the agriculture industry. Hispanic and Latino FFA members reside in 45 U.S. states and in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and collectively belong to 2,760 local FFA chapters out of a total 7,498 chapters.

To celebrate diversity in FFA and examine ways to empower and advance Latino and Hispanic youth in agricultural education programs and FFA chapters throughout the country, “Somos FFA, We are FFA” will be a weeklong theme at the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo.

From leadership roles to higher education, the future includes a bright and important place for Latino and Hispanic youth to step up and step out as educated leaders of influence.

“Hispanics and Latinos represent the nation’s largest-growing minority population and it’s important we recognize these accomplishments and value our differences as we strive to promote wholeness in our organization,” said Dr. Dexter Wakefield, director of diversity and inclusion at the National FFA Organization. “The term “Somos” says it all: We are FFA.”

Sponsored by STIHL with Farm Credit, “Somos FFA, We are FFA” is more than just a celebration title. It is an initiative – and a call to action.

The theme speaks to the innate human need to have a sense of belonging and to be able to see ourselves in the organization and in success, Wakefield said.

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About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members as part of 7,498 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at www.FFA.org, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.