Friday, February 6, 2009

Hispanic teens take pride in car show

Hispanic teens take PRIDE in car show
by Srianthi Perera - Feb. 5, 2009 The Arizona Republic

A group of Hispanic teens who belong to a club they call PRIDE are holding a car show to raise funds and raise awareness of their organization.

The Saturday show will feature more than 60 cars, mainly low riders, which are popular in Chicano culture, as well as low-rider bikes and toy models. The cars not only will be on display, but be eligible for awards based on categories like "kids' choice."

The teens are members of the Gilbert branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs.

PRIDE stands for Potential, Respect, Initiative, Desire and Education and aims to foster a sense of pride in Hispanic culture and in its members, mainly through meetings with Hispanic professionals in Gilbert. The group also organizes events to benefit families and the general community.

"This is our kick-off event, this is a big thing," said Cesar Salcido, an 18-year-old senior at Mesquite High.

Together with Fernando Correa, 17, also from Mesquite High, they led planning for the show.

"The word 'pride' has to do with Latin culture. It has a meaning to it: pride is proud . . . You are proud of who you are and what you come from," said Correa. "We are trying to show that there is a hope in our culture because a lot of people say the Mexican culture isn't going to go anywhere. But we're here to prove them wrong."

Bryan Haiden ,who oversees the group, said "We try to schedule things for them to do to be introduced to a positive Hispanic male influence.

"Many of these boys may not have a dad at home. We're trying to show what education can do for you," he added.

To appeal to its primarily Hispanic neighborhood, Haiden fashioned PRIDE from a nationwide program of the Boys & Girls Clubs called "Passport to Manhood." In turn, PRIDE will be entered into a book of "out-of-the-box" programs that could be adopted for any culture or neighborhood across the country.

The car show, which has been organized at a minimum cost to the club, is also a fundraiser. Each vehicle owner will donate to show his or her cars.

Chris Espindola of Phoenix PRIME Car Club will show off his orange 1996 Cadillac lowrider. PRIME puts on community car shows across the Valley and guided PRIDE members in the development of their event.

"Some of us started as kids. The influence is all positive," said club member Elias Achey. "If they have some kind of creativity and they enjoy art, this is something that they can get into. It's not for everybody, but if you do like it, you can keep out of trouble."

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