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  • UnidosNow
  • 1750 17th St.
  • Sarasota, FL 34234
  • 2010
  • Cintia Elenstar
  • Program Director
  • 941-237-0607

Program Description

Founded in 2010 to provide formal, organized representation for the growing, but underrepresented, Latino community in Sarasota and Manatee counties, UnidosNow has evolved from an all-volunteer group to a private nonprofit, 501(c)3, empowering hundreds of families, annually, on the path to achieving their American Dream.

With a mission to elevate the quality of life of the Hispanic/Latino community in the region through education, integration and civic engagement, UnidosNow has established itself as a leader in the field of post-secondary education attainment, creating a pipeline from elementary to high school, and through college, for first generation, low-income students. With a dedication to cultural competence, a multigenerational approach that engages the whole family, and community collaboration, UnidosNow has achieved significant impact in its short history.

Since 2010, through direct service programs, advocacy, and coalition-building, we have:

  • Served over 2,000 low-income Latino students and their parents through our elementary, middle, and high school-based programs.
  • Empowered over 95% of our Leadership Academy students to enroll in post-secondary education and coached students to enter selective colleges such as, Cornell, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Vassar, Oberlin, UF, FSW, and USF, among others.
  • Assisted our college-prep track Leadership Academy students in accessing over $6 million in scholarships and grants.

Key to the success of our work with students is the multigenerational approach we implement, engaging the entire family in building a culture of post-secondary education and beyond. This includes strong leadership, community service, and mentorship components in both student and parent initiatives.

Since its launch, high school students from Sarasota and Manatee have participated in the summer program, hosted at USF Sarasota Manatee, annually. In 2017, the FLA expanded into a year-round program that provides a wide range of college prep services, including career exploration, leadership skills development, college selection, college applications, college essays, resumes, financial aid, college tours, ACT prep, and individual mentoring. Also, several parent workshops are conducted in English and Spanish on topics such as college selection, financial aid, and financial literacy. The parent workshops include panels with recent Latino graduates and parents who share their college journey experience. As of the 2018-19 school year, a Career Readiness Track was added to the FLA program to help vulnerable Latino youth graduate from high school and make informed career plans by helping them access various entry points to economic mobility: 2-year colleges, technical colleges, military service, and frontline positions at growing and dynamic local employers.

Services Provided

  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College transition and retention support
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 200
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0


  • Less than 25%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Barnard College
  • Cornell University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Vassar College
  • Yale University