It was in 1993 that a man by the name of Alberto Esparza started the Si Se Puede Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing extracurricular activity for Latino and immigrant youths in Chandler, Arizona.

For more than two decades, Si Se Puedo has been offering help with homework, soccer and folkloric dance lessons to underprivileged kids who just need a place where they can go to not only feel safe, but enjoy a sense of community belonging. Read more: Jim Larkin | and Jim Larkin | LinkedIn

The organization has taken a remarkable leap forward of late in the form of STEM – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Yes, Si Se Puede has gone high tech, and the advantages it brings to Latino, immigrant and other youths is beyond calculation.

Careers in science and engineering mean high paying jobs. There is also a constant need across a variety of industries to fill these kinds of positions. Good paying jobs and high-demand for well-trained people to fill them brings enormous power to those who can obtain such skills. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin:

That’s why the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund is providing financial support to Si Se Puede. Getting immigrant students involved in high tech careers is a path up and out of poverty and into mainstream society.

The Larkin and Lacey Frontera fund was established by two Phoenix journalists, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, using $3.7 million they received after they successfully sued the Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff’s Department for unlawful arrest.

Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey were taken from their home in the middle of the night in 2007 under the orders of then Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They were tossed in jail for nothing more than doing their jobs – writing news stories about the unlawful police tactics of the sheriff’s department.

Former Sheriff Arpaio was recently convicted of criminal contempt of court for actions in relation to the brutal and often illegal police tactics he used against Latino and immigrant people in Arizona. His attempts to quash the First Amendment right of free speech and freedom of the press with his arrest of Lacey and Larkin cost his employer $3.7 million in damages.

Now some of that money is going to organizations like Si Se Puede which assists the very people Sheriff Arpaio so loved to intimidate. It’s proof that there can be justice in a world where determined “good guys” are willing to stand up to those who promote hate and fear in our American community.

Students who participate in Si Se Puebe programs are between the ages of 6 and 18. They attend Title 1 schools and live in the “at-risk” neighborhoods of Chandler and Phoenix. For nearly a quarter century, Si Se Puede has brought hope and opportunity to thousands of young people.

Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn