Since I was asked to be a part of the National Hispanic Education Association, Inc (NHEA), I was very excited to work on a project that dealt with my own heritage and gave me an opportunity to help this wonderful community. Though it has been all of that it has also been a shocking eye opening experience. In talking to people of the Latino and Mexicano communities, I have heard heart wrenching stories of immigrants being shot in fields only to never be heard from again. I have heard stories of children in our schools being placed in special education programs not because they are learning disabled, but simply because they did not know English and there was no one available to teach them. I spoke with a gentleman yesterday who knew of a young woman in her third year of high school who had only accomplished two credits towards her graduation because no one could help her get through the language barrier. Oh I could go on and on with stories I've heard in the past week. But what breaks my heart the most is what happens to these young people who our schools aren't alway able to help? I'll tell you. Most of them turn to drugs, gangs, alchohol, crime...they certainly are not able to be in the middle working class. They certainly will not be in high paying jobs that will contribute to local economy and societal contribution. The NHEA is about empowering this community. Not enabling them. This association can be a vital part of getting educational assistance to those children to achieve the education that they so desperately need to be contributors to society and able to share with their communities the gifts that they posess. Won't you tell everyone you know about the NHEA. None of us can afford not to.