Encuentros is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that is governed by a community Board of Directors. Since its inception, effective partnerships have been developed with local education leaders in K-16, business, corporate and civic leaders. Encuentros continues to work as a purposeful voice and mindful advocate for young Latino males.

Encuentros Leadership was founded in 2003 as a response to the high pushout rate of Latino male high school students in San Diego county. Community leaders sought to reverse this trend and in 2003, Encuentros Leadership held their first program, a Career Exploration Conference on the campus of CSU San Marcos. Since then, Encuentros has hosted thousands of young men at over 15 such conferences across 3 different community college partners.

In 2006, Encuentros Leadership launched its inaugural Leadership Academy, a week-long residential program for high school students aimed to reinforce positive cultural identity and foster a college completion mentality. The academy has hosted over 500 Latino male high school students. The academy model has been used to develop other career specific academies: The Engineers Academy and the Teacher Academy.

Encuentros has also partnered closely with our local K-12 partners to implement the Encuentros course at middle schools and Platicas, a 6 week-long father-son workshop series for middle and high school families. The Encuentros class, which is an A-G approved course for ethnic students, has shown to improve students’ GPAs, increase school attendance and reduce the number of referrals when compared with non-attending Latino boys in the same school.


Encuentros Leadership continues to be fully committed to providing support for Latino boys across San Diego county using our various program models. In fact, Encuentros received national recognition by Exelencia in Education, a national database of programs shown to be effective in helping Latinos attain higher education. Our Leadership Academy was a finalist in 2015 and our Teacher Academy was a program to watch in 2019.

Our programs have already impacted thousands of young men and their families for nearly 20 years. As an organization, we continue to be committed to our mission of empowering young Latino men and help them maximize their potential.

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