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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

As North Carolina’s Strategic Director for The LIBRE Initiative, Jeffrey Baldwin is passionate about advancing the principles of individual freedom, property rights, limited government and free markets for the US Hispanic community.  He is also a charter school advocate and Board member of Carter G. Woodson School in Winston Salem

From what Baldwin has seen and experienced in his work across the state, charter schools resonate with Hispanic families in significant ways.

“We are not used to having big schools, and with charter schools you will usually find that the student-to-teacher ratio is going to be smaller,” said Baldwin.  “There are other things, like uniforms, that are typical to many charter schools and also remind us of the schools in our home countries.”

“What you will find is that a lot of families understand the value of education,” said Baldwin.  “They will work really hard to learn and have a better life.”

That statement is personal for Baldwin, who at the age of 14 immigrated to the United States to escape the corruption, poverty and hopelessness of the Guatemalan Civil War and socialism.

“When my mom came to the U.S., she always worked in a factory,” said Baldwin.  “She told me that she would work hard so that I did not have to work like she did.  I work hard so her sacrifice is not in vain.”

According to Baldwin, at LIBRE they believe that the purpose of K-12 education is to help students discover, develop and apply their unique abilities.  This will, in turn, establish the foundation for a life of contribution and fulfillment.

“When it comes to the Hispanic community, we understand the life-changing value of educational opportunities,” said Baldwin, “and at LIBRE we want to make sure everyone knows about those opportunities.

For Baldwin, Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) is about re-visiting his own roots and exploring the cultures of others.

“For me it’s a great time to try and understand the Hispanic community in general,” said Baldwin.  “I have been here for 24 years and sometimes there are customs and things that I forget or don’t do that often.  This is also a chance for me to connect and learn about not just the Guatemalan community but other communities as well. We learn more on how we can work together.”

Baldwin notes that Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for children who are born here in the U.S. to learn about their families’ cultures from their home countries, and that the first thing schools can do is find community events in which to participate. 

“You do not necessarily have to hold a celebration in the school for it to be effective,” said Baldwin.  “The school can be part of festivals that are already going in in the community the school is in.”

To celebrate with Hispanic Heritage Month within your school, Baldwin recommends inviting students to do presentations spotlighting aspects of Hispanic culture such as food, cultural dances and national outfits from different countries. 

“Students will be proud to do the presentations and highlight their cultures, and you can make it open to the community so that they can invite other families to the presentations,” said Baldwin.

“By bringing other families to this celebration, you are getting those families on campus and educating them about charter schools,” he said.

Just like his work at LIBRE, it all comes back to the opportunity that lies in education.

“The main reason for The LIBRE Initiative is to engage, educate and empower the Hispanic community so that they can achieve full potential in this country,” said Baldwin, “whatever that looks like, whatever that may be.”

For more information about The LIBRE Initiative, visit

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