Empowering Indiana’s Latino Youth through Project Stepping Stone

At Morales Group, we’re all about building better futures, and there’s one organization that truly embodies this mission: Project Stepping Stone

This unbelievable program provides a path forward for rising Latino youth right here in Indiana, preparing students for college and beyond to jumpstart their futures. For the past 17 years, we’ve proudly supported their mission and want to show why it’s important to continue supporting organizations like PSS.

About Project Stepping Stone

Project Stepping Stone (PSS) is an initiative of the Escala Foundation that is led by President Kathy Cabello. The program is designed to assist Indiana’s Latino students, many of whom are first-generation college students, by equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence to succeed in higher education and their future careers. Remarkably, PSS offers this comprehensive support at no cost to the students, thanks to the dedication of a 100% volunteer crew and the generosity of individual and corporate partners. So, what makes this program so impactful?

PSS Program is Needed 

The need for programs like PSS is evident. Statistics show that approximately 40.4% of US-born Latinos in Indiana and 53.1% of Latin American-born adults do not graduate from high school, compared to 14.7% for all adults. Project Stepping Stone is on a mission to change these statistics, one student at a time. Through mentorship, educational resources, and a supportive community, PSS provides students with the tools they need to achieve academic and professional success.

The Week-Long Program

PSS’s College Prep Week is an immersive, one-week program for high school sophomores and juniors. Here’s a quick breakdown into what the students experience each day:

  • Day 1: Building The Team
    • Students meet their mentors, participate in team-building activities, and learn how to make the most of PSS Week.
  • Day 2: Building Leaders
    • Activities include StrengthsFinder assessments, sessions on choosing a college major, and resume writing workshops.
  • Day 3: Making Choices
    • Focuses on finding the right college, navigating the application process, and attending an etiquette dinner.
  • Day 4: Following Your Dream
    • Students learn about financial literacy and how to pay for college.
  • Day 5: Strategies for Success
    • Includes time management workshops, transitioning from high school to college, and a Shark Tank-style entrepreneurship activity.
  • Day 6: Preparing Leaders of Tomorrow
    • Features career nights, mock interviews (which we’ll talk more about below), and a professional networking dinner.
  • Day 7: Looking to the Future
    • Students visit corporations like Cummins, Eli Lilly, and the Indianapolis Airport for career development activities.
  • Day 8: Celebrating Success
    • The week wraps up with a graduation and awards ceremony, celebrating the students’ achievements and hard work.

Throughout the week, students visit several universities, stay in dorms, and dine in campus cafeterias, giving them a real taste of college life. They hear from admissions counselors, learn about different majors, and get valuable information about financial aid and scholarships.

Our Involvement

The partnership between Morales Group and PSS was initiated by our Chief Strategy + Growth Officer, Jackie Morales, who has served on PSS’s board, assists with Mentor training and has been instrumental in organizing key workshops over the years. Moreover, our CEO Seth Morales has also been deeply involved, serving as a mentor and volunteer for PSS even before his tenure as CEO. This commitment underscores Morales Group’s dedication to empowering Indiana’s Latino youth through education and mentorship.

Recently, some Morales Group team members volunteered at the Lilly Center for PSS’s Mock Interviews & Networking event. This event is a crucial part of PSS’s week-long program that aims to empower Indiana’s top Latino high school students, 76% of whom are first-generation college students. Our volunteers conducted interview-based Q&A sessions to help nearly 100 students prepare for real job interviews, providing them with practical experience and bolstering their confidence.

In addition to volunteering, we supported PSS this year by providing snacks for the week-long event. Seth and Jackie contributed to the scholarships awarded at the program’s conclusion. These contributions are a small part of our broader commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community.


Morales Group Teammates at Project Stepping Stone Interview Day

A Shared Mission

Project Stepping Stone’s unwavering dedication to improve post-secondary enrollment and success among Indiana’s Latino high school students aligns perfectly with our very own mission of Building Better Futures, One Story at a Time. By supporting PSS, we are not only helping to bridge educational gaps but also building the next generation of leaders.

We are grateful for the opportunity to support organizations such as Project Stepping Stone. They provide an experience that creates a generational impact on the lives of so many young people. Together, we can continue to make a difference, one student at a time.

Learn more about Project Stepping Stone, their story, and how you can get involved at Project Stepping Stone.