On Wednesday, November 18th, Esperanza’s Director of National Programs & the Executive Director of the Barrio Youth Initiative, Rev. Ruben Ortiz, participated in a panel discussion on Mentoring in Philadelphia following the screening of Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper at the Ritz East in Old City, Philadelphia.
Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper looks at the lives of families from across the country that participate in life-changing intervention programs exemplifying the principles of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative to improve the life outcomes of youth, particularly boys and young men of color.
This event was presented by the Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center (MPRC), My Brother’s Keeper Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and Discovery Communications. The screening and panel discussion were a means to bring mentors, mentees, and mentoring program staff together to have a discussion about the intersections between mentoring and the need for culturally proficient mentoring to empower the advancement of children and youth of color as well as other vulnerable populations. Panelists were chosen to highlight a diversity of local mentorship programs and best practices here in Philadelphia.
Rev. Ortiz has been working in youth development for 30 years. Before joining Esperanza, Rev. Ortiz served as the Director of Hispanic Engagement for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania and pastored Iglesia Del Barrio for 10 years. He also helped design and implement AMACHI, a national mentoring program for children of prisoners, and the Center for Transforming Mission, an accredited international institute that trains grassroots leaders to serve vulnerable youth and families living in hard places.
As Director of National Programs at Esperanza, he oversees 11 mentoring programs in 6 states as well as works with Esperanza College of Eastern University to develop an Associate’s Degree program in Youth Ministry. As Executive Director of the Barrio Youth Initiative at Esperanza, he is responsible for developing a leadership development organization that inspires vision, provides challenging educational opportunities and develops resources for those that work with Latino youth and beyond. In addition to all of the amazing work he has done to improve the lives of Latino youth in our region, Rev. Ortiz has volunteered as a Big Brother for 9 years, and serves as Board Chairman for Timoteo, a flag-football program that uses coaching, mentoring, employment and educational activities to develop youth.
Esperanza is proud to have leaders who are steeped in the knowledge of their specialized field, especially those like Rev. Ortiz who wholly exemplifies a Latino youth advocate.