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Valley institute helps others, teaches about leadership

MESA, Ariz. — High school and college students from all over Arizona were in the East Valley on Wednesday learning how to help others and getting a better education themselves.

The student are attending a week-long workshop with Arizona State University’s Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute. The program started in 1995 and teaches the students about such things as community involvement and higher learning.

The Institute’s Elyssa Bustamonte said the students participated in a food bank and back-to-school clothing drive for the Care Partnership.

“A mission of Cesar Chavez was to empower people and help them no matter what their situation might be,” she said. “The Care Partnership directly aligns with the mission of Cesar Chavez, as well as the values of CCLI.”

ASU student Miguel Lopez said he learned a lot from his mentor at last year’s Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute.

“She did a really good job of showing me the path to college,” he said. “Just showing me the kinds of things I needed to do to get to college in terms of financial aid, in terms of the things I should be involved in in college. She was really instrumental to me and I am looking just to give back to the students this year.”

Jesus Encinas, a senior at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Ariz., is glad he’s taking part in the program.

“I’m getting out of this a lot of leadership and community service,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of new people as well. It’s a fun experience to be here with a lot of people that you don’t know. There’s a lot of diversity as well.”

The Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute is in its 18th year of operation.