Latino U College Access To Hold 10th Anniversary Gala on Nov 3

Latino U College Access (LUCA) will be hosting its 10th Anniversary Gala Visiones: Rising Together on Thursday, November 3, 2022, at 6:30pm at the Glen Island Harbour Club located in New Rochelle, NY. This year’s honorees are Amy Silverstein with the Founder’s Award, Danone North America with the Corporate Partner Award, and AARP with the Community Advocate Award.

In the lead up to its 10th Anniversary Gala, LUCA held a 10th Anniversary Donor Appreciation Reception on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at Whitby Castle in Rye, NY. At the reception, two Scholar Alumni and one Parent shared how LUCA helped them achieve their college dreams and supported them along the way as they graduated from college and embarked on their careers. LUCA Founder and Strategic Growth Officer Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, LUCA Executive Director Cosette Gutierrez, and LUCA Board Chairman Stephen Moroney each spoke about LUCA’s impact on low-income first-generation Latino students and empowering them to make their college dreams a reality. Over its ten-year history, LUCA has guided 332 Scholars to and through college, and has supported over 6,000 Westchester County families with community information sessions and financial aid completion events.

“LUCA saw potential in me that I didn’t and encouraged me to be the best that I can be,” said Eileen Becerra, a 2020 graduate from Manhattan College and now Senior Audit Associate at KPMG as she shared her experiences during LUCA’s 10th Anniversary Donor Appreciation Reception. “LUCA has been with me through every step – guiding and advising – just when I needed them the most.”

“We are looking forward to our 10th Anniversary Visiones Gala to celebrate and recognize three honorees who have impacted our mission while uplifting the Latino community,” said Cosette Gutierrez, LUCA Executive Director. “This year’s benefit theme is Rising Together, which holds much significance for our first-generation Latino students as they achieve their college and career dreams through the power of education. When we invest in our youth, we invest in a brighter future for them, our communities, and our country. We are thankful for the continued commitment and generosity from supporters that fuels LUCA to deliver programs helping Scholars courageously pursue their dreams and showing them that anything is possible. We remain committed to our vision of educational equity and rising together to help low-income first-generation Latino students achieve their dreams.”

LUCA is excited to showcase three incredible honorees during the Visiones Gala. Amy Silverstein is an attorney, author, and speaker. Silverstein is a graduate of NYU School of Law and the author of Sick Girl and My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, with both of her works being critically acclaimed. Silverstein has been a long-time volunteer coach at LUCA where she has provided step-by-step guidance to Scholars through their college application journey.

Carlos Veraza is the President of US Categories at Danone North America where he currently leads teams in the United States for yogurt, plant based beverages and nutrition, premium dairy, coffee creamers, and marketing services.

Yvette Peña is Vice President, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at AARP. In her role, she is responsible for leading the strategic development of AARP’s brand campaigns targeting the Latinx community and is a strong advocate. Her experiences as an Afro-Latina woman helps Peña better connect to the Latino community as well as other communities that may be in the multicultural segment.

Guests will enjoy delicious food and drinks, dancing, inspirational awards program and heartfelt Scholar testimonials.

For more info about the event or to purchase tickets or a sponsorship, please visit our website at or contact Chereese Jervis-Hill at (914) 218-3968 or via email at

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