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May 10, 2012

Host: José Cárdenas

DATOS 2012

  |   Video
  • AZ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Gonzalo de la Melena talks about DATOS 2012 Transforming Arizona's Economy, the new report finds the state's Hispanic Community tops $40 billion in buying power.
  • Gonzalo de la Melena - Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: buying, power, increase, chamber of commerce, ,

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José Cárdenas: The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Salt River Project released a new report that finds Latino purchasing power is impacting business growth. According to "Datos 2012 Focus on the Hispanic Market: Transforming Arizona’s Economy” the annual Hispanic buying power in our state has reached an estimated $40 billion and could top $50 billion by 2015. Joining me to talk about "Datos 2012" is Gonzalo de la Melena, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Gonzalo, welcome back to "Horizonte."

Gonzalo de la Melena: Thank you.

José Cárdenas: After what has been a very full weekend. Actually, it started on Friday. Something different that the chamber did this year in conjunction with the presentation. Give us an overview.

Gonzalo de la Melena: Thanks for having me. We were excited this year to create this two and a half phase symposium, the centennial for the state, it's an election year and we're coming off the 2010 census, which prompted us to book-ended our Datos product and our black and white on the end and in between we filled it in with workshops for some of our small business owners, and then we also had a political town hall. We were excited to call that transforming Arizona's economy and really talk about the role and contribution of Latinos in Arizona's economic recovery but its future sustainability.

José Cárdenas: We're going to get into some of the details of Datos, which is the almost annual report that the chamber has been doing for some time now. But before we do that, the other things that were talked about at the conference, you had some outside political observers, and tell us what they had to share with your group.

Gonzalo de la Melena: On Friday after the Datos, we had political town hall where we showcased a primary set of research data that Univision that described the voter base. We now in Arizona that there are almost a half a million potential voters, registered voters, which are up about 70,000 from the last four-year cycle in 2008, and if we can get 70% of those folks to vote, that would be 300,000 plus Hispanics going to the voter booth this year.

José Cárdenas: But that's a huge dip, isn't it? Did your consultants discuss that?

Gonzalo de la Melena: It's assuming we can hold the line between 65 percent and 70% red-shirt voters to go out and cast the vote. The big delta is still in those who are unregistered and that's the opportunity to grow, as well.

José Cárdenas: And in terms -- there was some discussion as I understand it about the recent Morrison report on Latino education.

Gonzalo de la Melena: I think the biggest challenge that we continue to find is what they call the disconnect or the gap between the Latino graduation rates versus the general market graduation rates and we're still significantly depressed versus that. That's the opportunity for all Arizonans to ensure that all of Arizonans get educated in order to build an educated workforce in order to have a great supply chain for the future.

José Cárdenas: As I understand it, what really underscores the importance of having an educated Latino workforce is the demographics as evidenced by the 2010 census. You waited a year, you skipped last year because you knew the data was coming. Tell us what that had indicated.

Gonzalo de la Melena: We now know that Arizona like much of the U.S. is becoming more demographically dynamic and Hispanics grew by almost 50% in the state of Arizona, 2 million strong representing one third of the state, 42% of the city of phoenix, and greater than 50% of k-12, which is going to shape the future of Arizona.

José Cárdenas: And the report itself before we get into more specifics, let's talk about it the preparation. It was a little different than it was in the past.

Gonzalo de la Melena: We took a little bit different approach in building almost like a newspaper has an advisory editorial board, we brought own subject matter experts from leading corporations in Arizona. We brought on the head of research from the dial corporation, from Univision, from a media perspective, from small developers in town to get different subject matter expertise in each of those verticals, utility and media and retail. These folks not only provided content into our program but helped us shape the narrative, helped us draw conclusions, identify insights and most importantly what are the implications of the data and what are the indicated actions for both large business and small business?

José Cárdenas: So let's talk about that. What are the takeaways in each of those areas?

Gonzalo de la Melena: I think it the biggest thing that we're seeing is the validation that Hispanics are going to continue to be the future growth engine for Arizona, and if not harnessed correctly, Arizona won't be able to compete significantly in the global economy. If harnessed correctly and we create strategies of inclusion, we have an advantage. Said another way, we have to utilize all of our talent of all the Arizonans in order for Arizona to be successful.

José Cárdenas: So you mentioned inclusion creating an atmosphere of inclusion. That was a veiled reference to what's been happening in the state the last few years beginning with the implementation or the passage of S.B. 1070. Was there much discussion about that?

Gonzalo de la Melena: There was. I think now in hindsight looking back, everybody understands that it's had an effect on the brand image of our state and of the city of phoenix and that doesn't bode well for attraction of new business. That doesn't bode well for retention. That doesn't bode well for tourism and we saw all of that happen in decline over the last couple of years. Declines in tourism, loss of business opportunities, and I think in order to be a successful marketplace, we want to provide opportunities for everybody.

José Cárdenas: And yet the growth is in anticipated is still going to come from the Latino population?

Gonzalo de la Melena: Absolutely. In fact, from a small business standpoint, we now know that Arizona's primarily a small business marketplace, 98% of all jobs in Arizona are small business. There's 400,000 small business owners, of which one fourth of them are minority owners or 100,000. And approximately 60,000 are Hispanic-owned businesses. But more interesting is that group is growing at a rate three or four times faster than the general market. So not only will we be driving consumerism and construction but the small business makeup of the state.

José Cárdenas: Thanks for coming on for sharing these important results.

Feed My Starving Children

  |   Video
  • Feed My Starving Children is a Christian nonprofit that provides meals for malnourished people in nearly 70 countries. The prepackaged dry meals are funded and assembled by donor-volunteers in the United States. Janine Skinner, Site Supervisor for Feed My Starving Children in Tempe, talks about the organization's mission. Feed My Starving Children website
  • Janine Skinner - Site Supervisor, Feed My Starving Children in Tempe
Category: Community   |   Keywords: children, starving, health, feed, food, nonprofit, ,

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José Cárdenas: It’s an opportunity for people to save a child’s life and all you have to do is volunteer time for an organization called Feed My Starving Children. It’s an organization that packs millions of meals each year. We’ll talk to the site supervisor for Feed My Starving Children in a moment, but first here is a little more about what the organization is about.

Video Clip: When I say I'm hungry, what does that mean to you? I think that if we really thought about hunger on a global scale, the reality is more than we can imagine or would ever want to accept. The fact is that one child every five seconds dies from a hunger-related cause. That's like 18,000 kids per day. That blows my mind. How is it that we're comfortable with that? I think it's easy to let that fact just pass us by, unless we put a face or a name with that number. And that number becomes somebody's daughter or son or somebody's grandbaby or brother or sister. I don't think any of us would look a starving child in the eye and say I won't help you and walk away.

Mark Crea: Feed My Starving Children is a Christian organization. We produce a nutritious food that woe send to starving children in 67 countries around the world.

Video Clip: Backed up a big semitrailer full of ingredients and the equipment that's needed to pack.

Video Clip: We bring all of the raw ingredients, we bring bags.

Video Clip: We provide the table and trash bins.

Video Clip: The first thought that crossed my mind is we can do this.

Video Clip: We have churches from several denominations, public schools, a Spanish club from one of the high schools, it's just amazing. A couple of gap stores are coming. The word gets around. It's a wonderful event.

Video Clip: It doesn't how old or how young you are. Everybody has some gift that they can give.

Video Clip: You get high school kids, grade school kids, families, the whole works here. It's amazing.

Video Clip: Our food was scientifically designed to restore a child from malnutrition to health.

José Cárdenas: With me now to talk about the group's mission is the site supervisor for Feed My Starving Children in Tempe, Arizona. Let's talk just a little bit about the national organization and how old it is and how it got started, and then we'll focus on Arizona.

Janine Skinner: We're an organization based in Minneapolis in the Twin Cities area. We've been around for about 25 years. The organization basically started because a gentleman went on a trip to Honduras and saw the tremendous need and really felt like he needed to help. He worked with food scientists back in Minnesota to create kind of a super food that's specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs for malnourished children and to bring them back to health.

José Cárdenas: And then he got people involved all over the country. Arizona, though, this is a relatively new activity. What about five years?

Janine Skinner: We started doing mobile packing events here in the state and about a year and a half ago, we had a site donated to us, which was quite a blessing.

José Cárdenas: Mobile packing meaning you would go from one church to another?

Janine Skinner: We would bring everything to the church. They would host the event, provide the volunteers and provide the funding to pay for the meals that we were packing.

José Cárdenas: You got at least a temporary site, and now a permanent one. Let's talk about that.

Janine Skinner: Terrific so we basically started the temporary site just to see what kind of support we would have here in the state. And it has been a really grassroots movement that has grown virally. Pretty soon, we were turning volunteers away, our site was booked six to nine months in advance. We have now become a permanent site and just recently as of this March, we've extended to full time. We are open -- now, we are open Tuesdays through Saturdays each week, 21 packing sessions per week. It's a tremendous amount of growth from weekends to that point.

José Cárdenas: Some pictures on the screen as we're talking. Is this the local or the national?

Janine Skinner: These are pictures of folks packing and these pictures may have been taken in Minnesota. Our site looks like that.

José Cárdenas: We have some of the local volunteers. What is it that they actually do? There was a mention in the video intro of the scientific composition of these packets. They're all the same?

Janine Skinner: They are all the same. We have four ingredients. The primary ingredient is rice. We also have dehydrated soy for protein and dehydrated vegetables and the flavoring, it tastes like chicken but it's vegetarian so it's culturally acceptable world wide and it's a powdered mix that has 20 vitamins and millions and that's that key ingredient that provides the vitamins and millions necessary to bring the kids to the complete health.

José Cárdenas: And speaking of the kids, we've got some pictures of them receiving this food. We'll have them on the screen as we talk. Now, Arizona's focus is Latin America?

Janine Skinner: We ship to the Philippines as well but because of our proximity, we ship to Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua.

José Cárdenas: A total of 67 countries of mentioned in the video.

Janine Skinner: Around the world, correct.

José Cárdenas: And how does it work out in terms of how you coordinate the efforts here in Minnesota with the recipients?

Janine Skinner: We do our piece, providing the meals. We use volunteers to hand pack the meals. We give our meals away for free to the mission partners that work with. Our meals have a 99.97% success rate to get into the country where they need to go. We're handing them off to the mission partners who live there and work there.

José Cárdenas: You talk about getting to the people who need it. That's obviously been a big issue in troubled parts of the world where the food is not getting through. Any of those issues?

Janine Skinner: Like I said, we have a 99.97% success rate of shipments arriving over 25 years.

José Cárdenas: Everywhere in the world.

Janine Skinner: It's an incredible thing.

José Cárdenas: And are you avoiding some of the trouble spots?

Janine Skinner: No, not at all. We're shipping meals to north Korea, we were helping with the horn of Africa this past fall and it's something again because of our model with our mission partners being in the country that I think works really well.

José Cárdenas: Obviously, from everything you've said in the video, this is a very volunteer-driven effort. Let's talk about that. What is it they do?

Janine Skinner: Our volunteers when they come to pack with us when they arrive, we start with an orientation that has a video. We're very education-focused. We really want to let people know, especially the youth that come to volunteer with us. What world hunger is really all about and help them to understand how lucky we are to live here in the United States because we're all so much more fortunate than the people that we're serving. We take them in and do a real beef orientation on how to pack the meals. It's assembly-line fashion. We can handle volunteers as young as five and we have seated positions for folks who can't stand for two hours. Then we put them to work and we just have them pack for the next hour and a half or so. We play lots of really fun music, it's very lively, it's really fun, entertaining, it's competitive. And at the end of that time, we do a little wrap-up. And that basically consists of giving them their statistics so they know how many meals they packed in that packing session and how many kids that will feed for a year. We serve them a sample of the food at the end of the packing session. And I've just found we don't do any advertising. It's basically word of mouth. We've had about 55,000 volunteers join us so far since we've begun in Arizona, and we have not sought out those volunteers. They've been coming to us because the people who come to back with us want to come back, they want to bring their friends, their family, their coworkers, their school, their church and it's viral that way.

José Cárdenas: On the screen, we have a website where people I assume can go to and get more information. Would that also tell them how they volunteer?

Janine Skinner: Absolutely. Volunteer registration is online.

José Cárdenas: And in terms of growth for the future, we were talking off-camera about the statistics you've got what about 55,000 volunteers counting each volunteer per day.

Janine Skinner: So far. We've packed about 12 million meals in Arizona so far. Our goal for this new year with the growth is 9 million meals at our Tempe site. We also have a vision for expanding here in the valley. The need is so great, 18,000 children die of starvation every single day. We can't stop. We need to pack more meals and there's a great need in our community to provide this kind of a unique volunteer experience. So we are hoping to be able to open a second site sometime in the next two years in Arizona and our goals for that site would be to have a site big enough to pack 25 million meals a year and that would provide that volunteer opportunity for about 115,000 Arizonans each year.

José Cárdenas: And we're almost out of time but assume the source of funding is donations?

Janine Skinner: Absolutely.

José Cárdenas: People can figure out how to give if they also go to the website?

Janine Skinner: Absolutely. You can donate online, as well.

José Cárdenas: Thank you so much for joining us to talk about this wonderful project.

Janine Skinner: Thank you.


  |   Video
  • ICAN provides positive programs designed to meet specific needs of at risk youth and their families in Chandler. Henry Salinas, founder of ICAN and Shelby Pedersen, Director of Resource Development for ICAN, talk about the programs and the organization's approach to meeting the needs of the community. ICAN website
  • Henry Salinas - Founder, ICAN
  • Shelby Pedersen - Director of Resource Development, ICAN
Category: Education   |   Keywords: ICAN, education, programs, ,

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José Cárdenas: ICAN is an organization chandler community who came face to face with issues of youth. gang violence and drugs in his own neighborhood. He decided to do something about it and give at risk kids a chance to succeed. Joining me to talk about ICAN is the founder of the organization, Henry Salinas. Also, here is Shelby Peterson, ICAN developer resources development. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte." Mr. Salinas, the personal experiences that we referenced in the introduction were very close, involved a family member. Tell us about that.

Henry Salinas: Well, we have had a family member who was 15 at the time in the late '70s. He was involved in gangs. And as usual, it's because older adults bring him into that and they just talk these kids into doing things that they're not supposed to be doing. They know they can talk to a young kid and make him do things by lying to them, telling them you can do this and nothing will happen to you. And -- wound up getting in a fight and a man died and he went to prison for 20 years at the age of 15. He was sentenced as an adult.

José Cárdenas: You want to try to avoid situations like that.

Henry Salinas: Yes, because I started seeing more and more of that and not only that but there was a lot of killing in my neighborhood. That didn't happen when I was young. It was getting to the point where family members that lived in the south side and the east side would beat up each other because they were from different barrios, different neighborhoods. I had to go out there and see what I could do to change that because I didn't want to see that. Too many young kids were dieing.

José Cárdenas: What was it that you decided you could do?

Henry Salinas: The only thing I could do was literally go out and walk the streets with them and so I would understand where they were coming from, what was going on. The only way I was going to understand that is for me to literally get out there with them and walk with them and try to get their trust to see what I could do to change it. What I see and what they asked was they needed someplace to go where they would feel safe and they didn't have no money to go to the clubs where they needed money. For example, one person would charge for a program maybe $20. But it doesn't sound like much or even $10 but when you've got three or four kids, that's $40 that the parent would have to do. A lot of these parents need that $40 for food.

José Cárdenas: As I understand it, part of the motivation for doing what you did is some of the kids were turned away from other clubs.

Henry Salinas: Yes, I was a volunteer for the boys and girls club and they have their policy and the rules was that kids could not go there dressed as gang bangers or just they were not allowed just because of the dress code that they had. So they would run away. These kids wanted to go play basketball and they were not allowed in. We were told they had to leave. So that's when I started seeing these are the kids who need the help.

José Cárdenas: I want to come back and talk more about how this evolved. In terms of what it is today, both providing opportunities for these kids to get together to have some fun but also, a strong educational component.

Shelby Peterson: Very much so. Since our founding in 1991, our organization has evolved significantly. We're providing programs in five different areas. The first is education.

José Cárdenas: And I know we've got some pictures we're going to put on the screen about some of these activities.

Shelby Peterson: Yeah, education is definitely one of the key components of our program. The homework help portion is essential because 4 of 10 kids are graduating without their GED in our community. Secondly is our health lifestyles, health living component. Providing these kids with healthy lifestyles information. Arming them with the tools they need to be successful adults. The third component is the job kills component, giving kids the skills, teenagers specifically the skills they need to be successful adults in the workforce. We also provide a life skills program that helps kids avoid the substances and the gang involvement that Henry has mentioned. It's very prolific in our neighborhood. And lastly we're working with parents and our community to educate about these issues so that their parents can be armed with the skills so you have that comprehensive change in the home.

José Cárdenas: There's some very, very young children involved.

Shelby Peterson: Age, five to 18 primarily.

José Cárdenas: And the largest majority are the teenagers?

Shelby Peterson: The largest majority are five to 12. They're the younger kids, but we have the opportunity to prevent some of those activities and that's part of their daily life.

José Cárdenas: The statistics are pretty sobering in terms of dropout rates and hunger, for example. Just give us a brief overview.

Shelby Peterson: Brief overview, 8 of 10 kids are living in households earning less than $25,000 a year. If you can imagine providing for your family on such meager income. 4 of 10 won't graduate high school by the time they're 25 or achieve their GED. That educational component obviously keeps them in that cycle of poverty. They're unable to grow in their careers or in their families. Another 2 of 10 will be gang affiliated by the age of 13, which is a very sobering fact. Simply too young to be faced with those realities.

José Cárdenas: We've got the website on the screen so people can get more information. Henry, quickly, tell us about the success you've had in involving the police because it wasn't always a good relationship between your organization and the police in Chandler.

Henry Salinas: No. The chief Harris, one of his men was a sergeant gang unit. At that time, he was on the board of directors.

José Cárdenas: And he was also the head of the gang unit. So it wasn't working well personally. He came around?

Henry Salinas: He came around. He was told by his boss that he had to be on the board. And he kind of didn't see it my way. What I wanted to show them, everyone, was that these kids are looking for some love and somebody who cares for them and talk to them.

José Cárdenas: And eventually, he came around and the relationship now --

Henry Salinas: It's amazing. It is amazing. They're doing what I would do with the staff that I can. And they're just amazing, how the community has come together and the police department, it's the greatest thing that we have.

José Cárdenas: We're almost out of time but the big news is the new building. Tell us a little bit about it.

Shelby Peterson: Yes. Our new building is opening very shortly and we are growing capacity to serve over 55% more youth. On a daily basis we're serving between 150 and 180 kids. In a 6,500-square-foot facility, very humble, very rundown, built in the '60s. So a new building is actually 20,000 square feet. It's very close to our current facility so it's serving the same kids. And we're expecting to serve 200 or more every day.

José Cárdenas: A much better facility.

Shelby Peterson: Yes.

José Cárdenas: Well, thank you both so much for coming in, Mr. Salinas, thank you for gracing us with your presence. Congratulations on your success.

José Cárdenas: That’s our show for this Thursday night. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I’m José Cárdenas. Have a good evening