Lanzando Líderes (Launching Leaders) is an afterschool youth leadership development program for Latino high school students. Our program equips students with the knowledge and skills to become leaders in their own lives and in their communities.


Our Mission

Working hand in hand to build a community of leaders.



Nationwide, Latino youth face exceptional roadblocks to educational attainment due in part to cultural and linguistic disparities. In South Philadelphia, there exist few resources that address these challenges and bridge the experiences of bicultural and bilingual students. By facilitating parental engagement and providing culturally-minded resources and support , first-generation students can achieve significant gains in their education and long-term development.



Our Approach

Lanzando Líderes is a culturally-grounded program founded on the principles of social equity and social determinants of health. We work collaboratively and consistently with the South Philadelphia Latino community to sustain an afterschool program that meets the needs of all students and their families.  

As a bilingual community-based program, Lanzando Líderes bridges access to the resources necessary to support our families’ health, safety, and wellbeing. By fostering a sense of cultural pride and identity, students will feel supported in their development as young leaders. We believe that each student has a unique camino (path) to explore and pursue.



our vision

Lanzando Líderes seeks to improve the long-term health and prosperity of the South Philadelphia Latino immigrant community by actively addressing the social and systemic inequities holding back a generation of leaders.

Program Overview






Each day, students receive academic support, college guidance, and mentorship from local university students.



leadership workshops

Students participate in weekly leadership workshops that teach the knowledge and skills to develop and pursue their path as líderes (leaders).


Guest speakers

Students learn from and network with local leaders and professionals in the Latino community.


field trips

Students visit local colleges and universities, arts and cultural institutes, and professional firms.

Community Service projects

Students engage in local projects to learn about and improve their communities.


Parent Workshops

Parents participate in their children’s education, college preparation, and personal development.

Through these six Fundamental elements, Lanzando Líderes:  

  • Provides resources and guidance for academic success in high school and college preparedness.
  • Builds confidence to achieve personal and professional ambitions. 
  • Engages students in community service and cultural enrichment. 
  • Fosters a supportive community for the holistic development and enduring achievement of students.


Get Involved

We believe that there is nothing we can’t accomplish when we work together. As a community-based program, Lanzando Lideres counts on the incredible efforts of many dedicated volunteers and partners who share a passion and commitment to creating a stronger and more vibrant local community. Whether you are a prospective volunteer or partner we are grateful for your taking the time to learn about our program and considering how you can get involved.  



We are always looking for volunteers to share their experiences, interests, knowledge and skills with our students.

  • If you are a current college student or recent graduate in the greater Philadelphia area, we welcome you to apply for our Tutor-Mentor Internship!
  • If you are a local professional interested in mentoring students as they explore their career ambitions, we encourage you to reach out to us!

If you are a member of the community who is interested in learning about additional volunteer opportunities with our partner organization, please visit Puentes de Salud.


COmmunity Partners

Are you affiliated with a local college or university, work for a local organization, or own a small business, and have an interest in working with Lanzando Líderes

We are always open to collaborating with individuals and organizations who wish to create diverse and meaningful experiences for our students and families. 

Our Partners



Lanzando Líderes is a partner of Puentes de Salud (Bridges to Health), a South Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that serves the Latino immigrant community through an integrated approach to health and wellness.

Lanzando Líderes works to support and realize the mission of Puentes de Salud to address the social determinants of health that affect our community.

To learn more about Puentes de Salud, visit puentesdesalud.org.


Lanzando Líderes is made possible by the 2017 President's Engagement Prize from the University of Pennsylvania, Office of the President.

Our Team

We are a team of social entrepreneurs who share a personal commitment to working with the Latino community. We look forward to working with you to launch the next generation of leaders.

Yaneli Arizmendi, RN, BSN   Co-Founder & Director of Student and Community Outreach   yaneli@lanzandolideres.org

Yaneli Arizmendi, RN, BSN

Co-Founder & Director of Student and Community Outreach


Yaneli Arizmendi is originally from Chicago, IL, and she moved to Philadelphia to obtain a Bachelors in Science of Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. During her undergraduate years, she was an intern at Puentes de Salud through the Independence Blue Cross Foundation where she worked in the clinic and Puentes Early Childhood program. Additionally, she tutored in the Puentes Hacia el Futuro program at Southwark Elementary school, where she tutored first graders. At Lanzando Lideres, Yaneli serves as the family, student, and community outreach liaison, and she is committed to the health and wellbeing of the Latino community.

Alexa Salas, BA   Co-Founder & Managing Director and Volunteer coordinator   Alexa@lanzandolideres.org

Alexa Salas, BA

Co-Founder & Managing Director and Volunteer coordinator


Alexa Salas is originally from Phoenix, Arizona. She moved to Philadelphia in 2013 to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Alexa is passionate about issues of social justice and educational equity. As an undergraduate, she served as a mentor to fellow first-generation Latinx students and as a fifth-grade tutor with Puentes Hacia El Futuro. At Lanzando Lideres, Alexa engages volunteers and community partners to create diverse and meaningful experiences for students, their families, and members of the community.

Camilo Toro, BA   Co-Founder & Director of Academics, Research, and Development   camilo@lanzandolideres.org

Camilo Toro, BA

Co-Founder & Director of Academics, Research, and Development


Camilo grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts. He moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a degree in the Biological Basis of Behavior in 2017. As an undergraduate, Camilo participated in health equity research projects at Massachusetts General Hospital, Aravind Eye Care Hospital, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He’s been an advocate for student mental wellness at Penn and served as a tutor at Puentes Hacia El Futuro afterschool program. At Lanzando Líderes, Camilo is committed to providing positive academic support for students, teaching wellness habits, and evaluating the effectiveness and sustainability of the program.