College Students Get Opportunity to Gain International Experience with Establishment of the Atlanta-Latin America Scholarship

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New 501(c)(3) non-profit organization unveils program geared at strengthening cultural and economic ties to Latin American countries

Four childhood friends from Atlanta, Ga. today announced the launch of the Atlanta-Latin America Scholarship (ALAS), a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to foreign language training programs and cultural immersion opportunities for U.S.-based students with an interest in living and studying in Latin America.

“Over the past decade, the nations of Latin America have collectively experienced tremendous growth in population, economic clout and cultural influence in the U.S. and around the globe,” said Joey Campbell, co-founder of ALAS. “Giving tomorrow’s leaders a chance to experience some of the rich cultures of this important region and the tools to understand and collaborate seamlessly with Spanish speakers can only have a positive impact both at home and south of our border.”

The ALAS scholarship is available to college students 18 and older who are currently enrolled at a school within the University System of Georgia. The scholarship provides a financial package to eligible applicants, 100% of which goes toward one of several notable overseas foreign language programs. ALAS (http://www.alaseducation.org) is currently working with Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga. to send its first group of students to a study abroad program in Guadalajara, Mexico beginning in May 2011. It is also in discussions with additional universities and foreign language programs for future scholarship offerings. The organization is actively soliciting donations to make these scholarships a reality.

“In our increasingly interconnected world, acquiring the ability to skillfully communicate with people from a wide range of cultures is critical for students,” said Michael Fenton, president and co-founder of ALAS. “Having the opportunity to study abroad in China, South Korea and Costa Rica had a profoundly positive impact on my life, both personally and professionally. We started ALAS to give other students the same chance.”

The ALAS founding team consists of Graham Kirby, a teacher, Michael Fenton, an entrepreneur, Joey Campbell, a writer, and Allen Walton, a communications professional. As lifelong friends motivated by a shared love of learning and appreciation for the enriching nature of international exploration, the team’s collective experience and expertise provides an ideal template for championing a unique cultural immersion opportunity.

“We’ve all felt the pain of the economic recession over the past few years, and no one feels it harder than young people, who have limited ability to change their financial situations. As a former teacher in inner city Atlanta, I know this well,” said Allen Walton, co-founder of ALAS. “We founded ALAS to give students who demonstrate a record of hard work and determination to succeed a chance to do something they otherwise could never manage. There’s no better time to invest in education than when the economic outlook is at its most daunting.”

About Atlanta-Latin America Scholarship (ALAS)
ALAS is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization aiming to fund educational opportunities to students with limited financial circumstances. For more information or to donate to ALAS, please visit http://www.alaseducation.org.

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