History of Al Éxito
Latinas al Éxito (LAÉ) started in Marshalltown, Iowa in 2006-2007 as an Iowa American Association of University Women [AAUW] project under the diversity and equity committee chaired by Jan Mitchell and Pam Swarts. Several Latina leaders in the community came together to assist in the layout of a mentorship program focused on keeping 8th grade girls engaged and successful academically and for their future. The mentorship model expanded to other AAUW sites across Iowa that were experiencing an influx of Latino families and high dropout rates of Latinas.
LAÉ became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2009. In 2011, LAÉ was a national finalist for AAUW’s Breaking the Barriers Award. Breaking from its history of all-volunteer leadership, the Board of Directors hired Dawn Martinez Oropeza, Executive Director in March 2013.
LAÉ rebranded in 2013, changing the name to Al Éxito which reflects the expansion of the program to include boys and parent programming. Now in schools across the state, the program is serving 6-12th grade weekly, asset-based, culturally relevant afterschool programs. A college support program and youth lead business are currently being developed for the program.