In 1961, Dr. Antonia Pantoja and a group of educators and professionals created ASPIRA (Spanish word for “aspire”), to address the exceedingly high dropout rate and low educational attainment of Puerto Rican youth. They were convinced that the only way to free the Latino community from poverty and to promote its full development was by focusing on the education of young people, and developing their leadership potential, self-esteem, and pride in their cultural heritage. The ASPIRA Association is currently the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to Hispanic education in the United States, with nine affiliates in the United States and Puerto Rico.
ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania was formed in 1969 and primarily serves the at-risk minorities of North Philadelphia. To address the low academic attainment of youth in Philadelphia, ASPIRA of PA began its hallmark Leadership Development program in 1969, which remains active in several schools today. We have added several other programs, such as TRIO Educational Talent Search, afterschool programs, summer camps, EPIC Stakeholders, and courses for parents. ASPIRA of PA currently manages 15 educational programs.