NJ Group Gives Scholarships to Peruvian Youths

Jorge León being sworn in as president of the Cholo Organization (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

For the last two years, a group of young students from New Jersey have skipped the parties and pushed aside their pastimes during spring break to collect money to create scholarships for low-income students.

Since 2016, the youth volunteers at the Cholo Organization have awarded $1,000 checks to eight students. However, they aspire to double the number of beneficiaries and also expand their impact by opening their own center to shelter and feed homeless people.

Jorge León, the new president of Cholo Organization Inc., said that they expect to have more support from the public as well as entrepreneurs such as Flor Morales (the owner of Inca’s Food), who provided the remaining money needed to complete the scholarship awarded to student Samantha López in 2017.

The organization was founded by activist David Toledo, and its mission is to empower students of families of Peruvian origin. Last weekend, the leadership for 2018-2019 period was sworn into office.

But that is not all Cholo Organization does. It currently offers summer school courses to children between 8 and 14, teaching them math and U.S. history at the Paterson Museum, among other activities.

“During the Christmas holidays, we usually carry out events for the homeless. Last year, we delivered 300 bags of gifts, clothing and basic necessities at the hall of St. Michael’s Church. The 300 other bags we had left were donated to a shelter in Paterson,” said León.

On Thanksgiving, they hold fundraising events to finance the children’s summer program. They also have an annual gala to raise money for their scholarships.

The new administrators taking office are Jorge León (president), Sebastián Toledo (vice president), Stephanie Ramos (treasurer), Fabiola Javier (corporate secretary), Marielena Mendoza (recording secretary) and Luis La Puente (sergeant in arms).

León was born in Callao, Peru, and came to the United States 14 years ago. He holds an associate degree in graphic design from Passaic County Community College and will soon obtain a bachelor’s degree from William Paterson University. León first got involved in community activism on Thanksgiving Day 2016, and was elected vice president of the organization that year.

Cholo Organization is incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of New Jersey and accepts donations in the form of money, clothing, food and other items via PayPal at CholoNJ.com or through their Facebook page.

The call for applications for the organization’s student grants for 2018 is open. The eligibility requirements are: being Peruvian or having Peruvian parents, having graduated or being in the process of graduating high school with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, having been accepted into a higher education institution, participating or having participated in community service for one year, and writing an essay explaining why the applicant should be awarded the scholarship. For more information, call (973) 687-8185 or (862) 220-5225, or visit CholoNJ.com.

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