Wilmer Valderrama – Manning Up For Latino YouthThursday, June 21st, 2012
Wilmer Valderrama, the one-time Hollywood party boy and serial dater, is growing up, stepping up and setting an example of engaged community involvement with Latino youth. Valderrama, who is best known for his role as lovable nerd Fez on “That 70′s Show,” is moving onto bigger things.
Today the 32 year-old Valderrama, who most recently starred as Detective Efrem Vega in the short-lived NBC series “Awake,” owns a production company (WV Enterprises). What we are most interested in is Wilmer’s dedication to and advocacy for his community. This Miami-born actor with Venezuelan and Colombian roots is on fire!
Wilmer Valderrama – Community Advocate
- Valderrama is active with a number of community-based organizations helping Latinos, including:
- Voto Latino- a next-generation, constituency based organization that empowers American Latinos to claim a better future by voting.
- CHCI- Ready to Lead- the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s college readiness program.
- This Shirt Helps- an organization that gives consumers the ability to support causes by purchasing an everyday item — in this case quality shirts. One shirt purchased equals one month of education, one year of clean water, one animal saved or three trees planted.
- Nerds Unite!- a campaign by candy company Wonka (Nerds candies) in partnership with STOMP Out Bullying – the national anti-bullying and cyberbullying program from Love Our Children USA.
VOXXI recently interviewed Valderrama about his work with Latino youth and education. As the official spokesperson for CHCI’s Ready to Lead, Wilmer explained that “there is a big disconnect between what we teach our kids in high school and how we prepare them to actually maximize college.” The main obstacles preventing Latinos from furthering their education are cost and lack of structure in the system.
The Latino actor and producer appears at workshops and in Public Service Announcements to promote Latino higher eduction. He stated “As a Latino community, we lack conviction, we lack confidence. We don’t understand how powerful our culture and our numbers could be…we have to understand that our roots are what makes us special and unique.” (Bonafante, Julissa. VOXXI News Wilmer Valderrama ready to lead Latino youth)
Honor your Roots
I was surprised to learn from the VOXXI interview that Wilmer Valderrama didn’t speak English in high school and this made school challenging for him. The article states that Wilmer “attributes education for his success and thanks his parents’ persistence and support.” This is very encouraging, as we all experience obstacles in furthering our education whether it is financial, cultural, social or academic, but it wasn’t enough to hold him back. We hope his success and community involvement keep growing!
The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) is a network of open-enrollment, tuition-free public charter schools providing students with a high quality, college-preparatory education. Our mission [...]Read More