Partnering With the Latino Hispanic American Community Center to Help Children Achieve Their Brightest Future
By Ruben Cardona & Erika Nava, Latino Business Resource Group
At Hershey, we consciously work to ensure our employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day, and that our workforce mirrors the diversity of our consumers around the world. One of the ways we do this is through our eight, diverse, employee-led Business Resource Groups, including the Latino Business Resource Group (LBRG).
As LBRG members, we are passionate about the work we do to connect the company to the Latino Hispanic American community, such as syncing our LBRG members with the commercial team to identify new and better ways to connect to our growing segment of Latino consumers, as well as volunteering within our local community.
For the third year, LBRG collaborated with the Latino Hispanic American Community Center's (LHACC) youth leadership program—LISTO . The purpose of LISTO is to provide Harrisburg's rising student talent with practical knowledge and leadership skills they'll utilize in their coming formative years. Through these volunteer opportunities, we make a difference in the life of future leaders who will in turn, create change in their own communities of tomorrow.
Hershey has been a long-standing supporter of LHACC providing more than $102,000 over the past nine years to support grants for the youth leadership program, as well as overall general support for the LHACC mission. The non-profit provides services that support basic human needs including food, clothing and shelter. The organization also supports individuals with immigration matters, employment assistance, education needs such as GED and ESL, both physical and mental health services, intervention services and support in other legal matters.
As part of The Hershey Company’s commitment to the youth leadership program, we provide two workshops to help students better prepare for coming life events. We had help from Milton Hershey School's World Languages teacher, Christine Fisher, who guided the students on how to dress for events such as graduations, interviews and social gatherings. Also, our very own Esther Read from our US Commercial human resources team, provided direction to the students on interviewing skills to prepare them for conversations with their dream schools and future employers.
We matched each student with a mentor of similar interests to have frank conversations of what to expect in the years ahead. In true Hershey fashion, each person contacted as a potential mentor responded with a resounding "Yes!" to participate in the program. The diverse workforce at Hershey allowed us to match students with mentors who had experience in their career aspirations and shared interests and hobbies.
One of the students expressed interest in political science; they were matched with Limer Batista, senior manager government relations. Given her political knowledge and expertise in government relations, Batista was able to provide useful insight leaving her mentee happy with the experience and excited for what's to come. Another student expressed interest in writing; she had some time to talk to Anthony Southard, general manager of our office and operations in Mexico, who studied Spanish and talked to his mentee about languages and the power they have to advance careers.
At the end of the program, LHACC held a virtual graduation for the students. Dr. Ski from Harrisburg Area Community College was master of ceremonies, and before commencing the graduation, asked the students to name one great takeaway they had from the LISTO experience. Most of the students answered that the time with their Hershey mentors was the most valuable take away. Hearing this feedback reaffirmed that our commitment to community outreach was a core pillar worth pursuing and maintaining. Once the ceremony ended, we said our goodbyes with some parting gifts, but more importantly, knowledge and resources that will last a lifetime.
Experiences like this make us proud to work at Hershey—our impact as employees goes well beyond producing and selling candy and snacks. Making a difference is part of who we are as a company.
If interested in working at Hershey, explore our open career opportunities.