Rotarian Char Weber met Juan Llerena at church, and was impressed with his enthusiasm for helping our communities. She invited him to speak to us about the scholarship program he and his wife Rita have founded. Having lived in Minnesota for 18 years, Juan reflects our Rotary belief in promoting better lives and education for everyone in our community.
Juan and Rita are motivated to close the disparate graduation rates between white students and other student populations in Minnesota. They created the Vamos Latino Scholarship Program. “Vamos” is the Spanish phrase for “Let’s go”, “Come on!,” or “You can do it!” Juan has organized a fundraising program for scholarships for local students, which seeks to provide more equitable to the post-secondary opportunities. Juan and many other partners believe that investment in Hispanic, black and other groups of students provides financial and social benefits to our community. He showed a testimonial video from Chaska High School graduate Erika Quintero-Ponce who is using her scholarship to earn college degrees in Physiology and Child Psychology as part of her path to becoming a pediatric doctor.
In another aspect of their lives, Juan and Rita sell fair trade items from Central and South American women on-line and at Mackenthun’s market in Waconia. Juan owns JLLB Media, a marketing and web-design firm in Waconia.
To learn more about Juan’s business, go to www.jllbmedia.com.