Monday, September 03, 2007

Llano Grande gets big grant

Jared Taylor
September 3, 2007 - 3:36PM

EDCOUCH — The Llano Grande Center recently received a big financial boost.

Presented during a reception Thursday, the AT&T Foundation donated $25,000 to the center, which focuses on helping high school students in the Delta region develop skills necessary to enter post-secondary education.

“The grant … is a grant to help local kids build skills,” said Francisco Guajardo, Llano Grande’s executive director.

The money will be used for Llano Grande’s programs, which include sending students on visits to colleges outside of the Valley, helping students develop computer skills and study abroad programs, Guajardo said.

State Rep. Aaron Peña said State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. spoke at the reception.

Peña said centers like Llano Grande help area youth develop skills necessary to succeed after high school.

“The future of this community is not in picking grapefruit, although some still do that, it’s an honorable profession,” Peña said. “It’s in educating our kids for this new century.”

With more than 40-percent of people in the area living below the poverty line, Lucio said quality education is the foundation to improve the quality of life.

“I want it down significantly, and that can happen through education,” he said. “That is our key out of that poverty cycle and our key for our future.”

Guajardo said the donation represents about 10 percent of Llano Grande’s annual operating budget.

AT&T Foundation spokesman Sergio Contreras said Llano Grande provides help for students in the Delta region that they otherwise would not have.

“This [donation] gives a lot of pride [for the Foundation] to give back where it’s really needed, and we’ll be back,” Contreras said.

Jared Taylor covers Edinburg, the Delta Region and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4439.

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