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Social Services

Pa Latinos  Concilio  Aspira  HAAC

The US General Services Administration [GSA] has more than 200 free government publications, in Spanish.  Information from how you save money, eat right, stay healthy, take care of kids, travel safely and much more. To receive the Lista de Publicaciones federales en Espanol para el consumidor go to

If you are part of a non-profit organization and would like to publicize your event for free on PECO's Crown Lights Message System (the message display board on top of the building facing the Art Museum and the highway), fax your request to 215 841-4188.  The message cannot be more than 72 characters long including spaces.  Make sure that your written request be in your organization's letterhead, with contact name and phone number.  I can't call you to confirm we got your request, unless I have your name and number. Que viva la salsa! Paz, amor y felicidad! Your Hispanic PECO representative -

 PECO, An Exelon Company Tel. 215 841.5744 Fax #215 841-4188

If you're looking to find a Latino doctor, lawyer, etc, go to


Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, INC (Concilio)
705-09 N Franklin St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19123.

The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations was founded on October 1, 1962, by a group of Latino leaders concerned with the many problems facing Philadelphia's Latino community.  It is incorporated as a non-profit corporation.  Since its inception, Concilio has been guided by a mission to ensure that equitable social, educational, health, and cultural services are available and affordable for everyone.  Over the past 38 years, the organization has provided opportunities to the most disadvantaged in North Philadelphia, particularly Latinos, to obtain employment, health services, family counseling, adult and technical education, and cultural opportunities among others.

While Concilio’s primary objective is to provide leadership, advocacy, and human services to Philadelphia’s poorest communities, Concilio also promotes and invests in the development of micro-economies of several countries. In recent years the organization has helped to raise over $150,000 to support poor communities across Latin America.  This aid is targeted to help rebuild community infrastructures after catastrophic events and to seed community-owned micro economies. 

If you are new to Philadelphia, PA, and want to find some information about the Hispanic/Latino community, you can go to for more information.

 General Information About ASPIRA
This page contains general information about the ASPIRA Association. Topics are:

What is ASPIRA?

The ASPIRA Association, Inc. is the only national nonprofit organization devoted solely to the education and leadership development of Puerto Rican and other Latino youth. ASPIRA takes its name from the Spanish verb aspirar, "aspire."

Since 1961 ASPIRA has pursued its mission of empowering the Latino community through the development of its youth.  All of ASPIRA's goals and activities spring from one basic belief: Puerto Ricans and Latinos have the collective potential to move their community forward.

ASPIRA looks at Latino youth and sees this potential;   leaders waiting to emerge. With community-based offices in large cities of six states and Puerto Rico, ASPIRA's 500 staff members work with over 25,000 youth and their families each year to develop that potential. These are our Aspirantes---those youth who will become educated, committed leaders for the community's future benefit.
Since its founding, ASPIRA has provided a quarter of a million youth with the personal resources they need to remain in school and contribute to their community. Most mainland Puerto Rican leaders today were encouraged by ASPIRA during their adolescence.

ASPIRA's Mission Statement

The ASPIRA Association promotes the empowerment of the Puerto Rican and Latino community by developing and nurturing the leadership, intellectual, and cultural potential of its youth so that they may contribute their skills and dedication to the fullest development of the Puerto Rican and Latino community everywhere.
Based on this philosophy, the ASPIRA Association has defined its mission as follows:

To empower the Puerto Rican and Latino community through advocacy and the education and leadership development of its youth.

History of ASPIRA

In 1961, Dr. Antonia Pantoja and a group of Puerto Rican educators and professionals created ASPIRA (which means aspire in Spanish), to address the exceedingly high drop-out rate and low educational attainment of Puerto Rican youth. They were convinced that the only way to free the Puerto Rican community from poverty and to promote its full development, was by focusing on the education of young people, and developing their leadership potential, self esteem and pride in their cultural heritage.  This was the best way, they believed, of ensuring that youth would become not only productive members of society, but leaders the development of their own community.  ASPIRA conveyed in its name the expectation that Puerto Rican youth could succeed if they dared to aspire. 

After extensive research on youth, ASPIRA founders developed a process for leadership development that remains the core of all ASPIRA activities: The ASPIRA Process.

Since its formation over 37 years ago, ASPIRA has grown from a small nonprofit agency in New York City to a national association with statewide Associate organizations in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico, with its National Officer in Washington, D.C.

In the last three decades, ASPIRA has become an inclusive organization.  While still mainly a Puerto Rican organization, it now reaches out to include all Latinos and a significant group of non-Latinos throughout the United States. Presently, ASPIRA serves over 25,000 students each year in over 400 schools, through its core activity, the ASPIRA Clubs.   ASPIRA provides leadership training, career and college counseling, financial aid, scholarship assistance, educational advocacy, cultural activities, and most importantly, continuing opportunities to implement community action projects. Throughout its existence, ASPIRA’s commitment to its initial mission of leadership development has remained unchanged. All programs still aim to help Latin• youth develop their intellectual and leadership potential so that they can achieve educational excellence and make a long-term contribution to improving their own lives and that of their community.

The ASPIRA Clubs

The Youth Leadership Development Program (LPD) is the core program of ASPIRA. Through school-based leadership ASPIRA Clubs, students learn the 'ASPIRA Process" of awareness, analysis, and action. ďhe program provides leadership training, cultural enrichment activities, and community action projects that teach students how to develop their abilities to become effective leaders of their communities. Each club is represented at the ASPIRA Clubs Federation (ACF), an assembly that convenes twice every month to discuss action-oriented activities for all clubs in New York. 

Our Founder - Dr. Antonia Pantoja

Dra. Antonia Pantoja was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and studied at the University of Puerto Rico where she obtained a Normal School Diploma in 1942. Upon graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, she worked as a schoolteacher for two years in Puerto Rico where she cultivated a profound interest in education and addressing the needs of disadvantaged children. She arrived in New York City in November 1944 where she got a job as a welder in a factory making lamps for children. During these years which involved long hours of hard work, Dra. Pantoja was awakened to the harsh experience of racism and discrimination against Puerto Ricans and how this community lacked the knowledge and political power to overcome these and other challenges in the United States. She became an activist in the factory, providing information to other workers about their rights and how to organize a union. These were the most formative years of her life. But within a few years, the women who welded pieces of filament for submarine radios would rise to weld together a fragmented community, a community much in need of leadership and vision.
After great personal initiative that included doing extensive research on academic scholarships, Dra. Pantoja received a scholarship from Hunter College, City University of New York, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1952. She went on to acquire a Master of Social Work in 1954and was bestowed a Ph.D. from the Union Graduate School, Union on Experimenting Colleges and Universities in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1973.
Her most profound contribution to the Puerto   Rican community in the United States began in 1958 when she joined a group of young professionals in creating the Puerto Rican Forum, Inc. which paved the way for the establishment of ASPIRA in 1961. ASPIRA was Dra. Pantoja’s dream, but it was not the only organization she help build for the Puerto Rican community. In fact, as early as 1953, Dra. Pantoja, then a graduate student at Columbia University, joined a group of students and created the Hispanic Youth Adult Association which later became the Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs (PRACA). In 1970 she wrote a proposal and secured funds to establish the Universidad Boricua and the Puerto Rican Research and Resource Center in Washington, D.C. and in 1973 became its Chancellor. For health reasons, Dra. Pantoja moved to California in 1978 to become an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, San Diego State University. There, in collaboration with another successful educator, she founded the Graduate School for Community Development in San Diego, an institution that served communities and neighborhoods throughout the nation. She became the President of this organization, devoted to imparting people with knowledge and skills necessary for problem-solving and restoring their communities. She was involved in a variety of community and professional organizations, all working toward the goal of building stronger Puerto Rican and minority communities, including the Ford Foundation, the National Urban Coalition, the Museo del Barrio, the National Association of Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education and several other groups and organizations.
Her most notable contribution-the creation of ASPIRA- in 1961 was the result of considerable hard work and collaboration with educators and social work professionals who shared her concer” with the high dropout rate of Puerto Rican youth in New York City during the ‘50s and ‘60s. The organization flourished into a major national organization dedicated to empowering communities and especially Puerto Rican youth to have a say in and control of their future
A Well-Deserved Honor: ASPIRA Founder Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
In 1997, Dra. Antonia Pantoja, founder of ASPIRA and legendary for her role in the education and leadership development of Puerto Rican Youth in the United States and Puerto Rico, she received the highest honor the nation bestows on a civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dr. Pantoja joined five other Americans of exceptional merit in receiving this award: the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, James Brady, Morris Udall, David Hamburg, and Rosa Parks. The medal was awarded by President Clinton at a ceremony at The White House. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and other distinguished members of the Administration were in attendance. Dr. Pantoja was also given a Recognition from the United States Congress.
A special reception in Dr. Pantoja’s honor was sponsored by the ASPIRA Association and the Puerto Rican Presidential appointees at the White House. Among friends and honored guests in attendance were many Aspirantes and ASPIRA National Board Members. Attendees included The Honorable Donna Shalala, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Nelson D’az, General Counsel, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Antonia Novello; Josephine Nieves, National Executiše Director of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); Suzanna ValdŽz from the White House; Raśl Yzaguirre, President of the National Council of La Paza; and Norma Cantś, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights. A video about Dra. Pantoja’s life was presenteŠ as part of the celebration.

Our Logo - The Pitirre 

The Pitirre is the symbol of ASPIRA. A small tropical bird found in Puerto Rico, the pitirre is known for its agility, rapid flight and for its ability to outsmart, tire and defeat much larger birds. ASPIRA believes that the pitirre is a fitting symbol for young Latinos. Aspirantes gain the confidence of the pitirre by acquiring knowledge and developing their leadership skills. They can face and overcome seemingly overwhelming odds to become productive adults, returning to their communities the benefits of their skills and leadership abilities. The symbol of the pitirre reinforces ASPIRA’s belief that even the smallest and seemingly powerless can take control of their lives and cause change.

The ASPIRA Process

Over the years, ASPIRA has developed a highly successful intervention model called the ASPIRA Process. The model consciously accentuates the positive, putting the stress on developing the potential of Aspirantes rather than on trying to overcome their perceived deficits.
The ASPIRA Process of leadership development teaches youth to become aware of their current situation, to analyze its consequences, and to take action for change in their personal lives and the life of their community. ASPIRA brings together students, parents, school and community members to promote educational success and community service. ASPIRA also works with foundations, corporations, and the government to improve educational opportunities for these young Latinos.

The ASPIRA Association

ASPIRA currently has offices in the Latino communities of major cities in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico. Each local office operates many programs that grow out of the specific conditions of the local site but have in common the ASPIRA Process model and ASPIRA's commitment to leadership development and education.
These local offices, with ASPIRA's broader network of 5,000 community-based organizations, school districts, local and national policy makers, and corporate representatives, receive information and assistance from ASPIRA's Washington, D.C.-based National Office.

Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County, Incorporated
P.O. Box 7507, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 822-8584 Fax (609) 822-3372

The purpose of the Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County, Inc. shall be to bring together talents and abilities of the members of the Hispanic Community as a resource for the economic, cultural, social and civic betterment of the community, and to provide opportunities to further enhance the leadership skills and professional network of its members.

To provide leadership and advocacy for the Hispanic community and an arena for members to enhance their leadership skills and professional network.

Pa Latinos  Concilio  Aspira  HAAC

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Revised; February 19, 2007

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