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Latino Youth as Information Leaders: Implications for Family Interaction and Civic Engagement in Immigrant Communities
Unformatted Document Text:  Information Leaders Dream” Foundation to discuss community issues and to develop media strategies for promoting awareness. The demographic profile at Centaurus is 65% Anglo, 29% Latino/Hispanic, 4% Asian, 1% African American, and 1% Native American; 25% are free-lunch eligible (National Center for Education Statistics, 2008-2009). Notwithstanding our CU connections, youth and parents in immigrant communities represent a difficult-to-reach population as respondents (Berk, Schur, Chavez, & Frankel, 2000). Language barriers coupled with populist backlash against illegal immigration in the Southwest make data collection a formidable challenge. For data analysis purposes, ideally we could have asked youth and parents about citizenship status, but we opted to forego that question to facilitate recruitment. (According to the Pew Hispanic Center (2008), 28% of Colorado Latinos are foreign born). We tapped individuals in positions of trust to distribute questionnaires and to recruit for focus groups. Coaches enlisted Centaurus students, who distributed questionnaires to other students. Three students also agreed to write personal reflections about where they get information, and what information sources they trust most. Twelve students completed diaries over a 48-hour period to document amount of time spent with media. Adding ethos to the project was our focus-group facilitator, a Latina, bilingual immigrant and graduate of Centaurus. In seeking to document political contagion, we took advantage of community activism in promotion of the DREAM Act. During the spring semester, Centaurus students organized an eight-mile march to celebrate Cesar Chavez and to promote the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The act would create a path for youth to acquire legal status by attending college or serving in the military. At a regional level, Colorado is one of the few states with substantial immigration that has not passed a “dream” act (Flores & Chapa, 2009). Consequently, college access provided a salient topic for discussion in Centaurus families. 9

Authors: McDevitt, Mike. and Butler, Mary.
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background image
Information Leaders
Dream” Foundation to discuss community issues and to develop media strategies for promoting 
awareness. The demographic profile at Centaurus is 65% Anglo, 29% Latino/Hispanic, 4% 
Asian, 1% African American, and 1% Native American; 25% are free-lunch eligible (National 
Center for Education Statistics, 2008-2009).   
Notwithstanding our CU connections, youth and parents in immigrant communities 
represent a difficult-to-reach population as respondents (Berk, Schur, Chavez, & Frankel, 2000). 
Language barriers coupled with populist backlash against illegal immigration in the Southwest 
make data collection a formidable challenge. For data analysis purposes, ideally we could have 
asked youth and parents about citizenship status, but we opted to forego that question to facilitate 
recruitment. (According to the Pew Hispanic Center (2008), 28% of Colorado Latinos are 
foreign born). We tapped individuals in positions of trust to distribute questionnaires and to 
recruit for focus groups. Coaches enlisted Centaurus students, who distributed questionnaires to 
other students.
Three students also agreed to write personal reflections about where they get 
information, and what information sources they trust most. Twelve students completed diaries 
over a 48-hour period to document amount of time spent with media. Adding ethos to the project 
was our focus-group facilitator, a Latina, bilingual immigrant and graduate of Centaurus. 
In seeking to document political contagion, we took advantage of community activism in 
promotion of the DREAM Act. During the spring semester, Centaurus students organized an 
eight-mile march to celebrate Cesar Chavez and to promote the Development, Relief and 
Education for Alien Minors Act. The act would create a path for youth to acquire legal status by 
attending college or serving in the military. At a regional level, Colorado is one of the few states 
with substantial immigration that has not passed a “dream” act (Flores & Chapa, 2009). 
Consequently, college access provided a salient topic for discussion in Centaurus families.      

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