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Davis, California

Saturday, October 23, 2021

UC Davis reaches out to Latino community

It takes a village to raise a child – or, according to UC Davis and Bustos Media, it is the “trabajo de todos.”

UCD and Bustos Media, a Spanish-language radio and television company, created public address announcements encouraging Latino parents to help their children prepare for college.

“Our goal is to convince Spanish-speaking parents that they can indeed help their children succeed in our complex educational system,” said Elias Lopez, director of analysis and information services at UCD in an e-mail interview. “Our educational system requires a very sophisticated consumer. But what if the parents have never been to college? The PSAs provide strategies.”

The six ads are currently airing on all 22 of Bustos Media’s radio stations nationwide. Each ad highlights a different educational strategy; for example, talking to teachers and designating study space.

Angelica Balderas, vice president of Bustos Media, teamed up with Lopez, the UCD marketing department and the UCD Academic Preparation Program after realizing the need for information on education in the Latino community.

“My hope is that this will be a beginning and that it inspires more activity from parents, students, teachers and the community at large,” Balderas said in an e-mail interview.

Lopez said that Latinos are underrepresented in the UC system despite their large population.

“California has over 6.2 million students enrolled in the K-12 and 49 percent or 3 million of these students are Latinos. However, Latinos have the lowest college-going rates to the University of California with only 4 percent going to the UCs directly from high school,” Lopez said. 

Thomas Hinds, UCD marketing director, said that Lopez and Balderas created the overall theme of the ads: “Trabajo de todos,” or “the work of all.”

“[Lopez] knew that work was very important to Latinos but that sometimes schoolwork was not seen as work, so other things would take precedence,” Hinds said. “So for instance, in one of the messages the father does the dishes instead of the children, because then it would be saying, ‘Hey, it’s more important for you to do your schoolwork than the dishes and that’s the most important work.'”

Balderas also wanted the ads to incorporate amusing depictions of the Latino community structure.

“I knew that the message had to coalesce around a key message that listeners could hear and that would resonate. Latinos, we are clannish; we do everything together,” Balderas said. “It is often a joke, so why not ‘Trabajo de todos?’ It is everyone’s job to educate children.”

Lopez said that reactions to the ads, and its accompanying website, have been positive so far.

“I have shown this to a few persons in the Latino community and they love the idea. They especially liked the public service announcements and the fact that UC Davis is taking an even greater interest in helping the surrounding communities,” Lopez said.

Everyone involved in the project is hopeful that more ads can be created to reach an even larger population of non-English speakers.

“We hope to reach out to other communities, such as the Hmong and Russian communities, to ensure that there is enough information for everyone to have access to the university, and what it takes to prepare,” said Ed Aguilar, director of Academic Preparation Programs.

Ultimately, the goal of the ads is to show parents that UCD has information in their language and that the university is here to support them, Aguilar said.

For Hinds, the ads can also be a means of creating a dialogue about education in the Latino community.

“This is not targeting kids who are a couple of years away from college, these are for parents who have younger children who want to prepare their children for college,” Hinds said. “It would be amazing if they are able to influence Latinos in a way that they were thinking about how to increase college-going rates in the Latino population. That’s the best possible outcome.”

To listen to the announcements, visit http://trabajodetodos.org.

ERIN MIGDOL can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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