Thelma Tamez and Sarah Hammond of RGV Census Ambassador Scholarship were interviewed by Steve Taylor of the Rio Grande Guardian.

MCALLEN, TEXAS – The Rio Grande Guardian has hosted a Zoom conversation with Thelma Tamez and Sarah Hammond, founders of RGV Census Ambassador Scholarship.

Under this program, high school, vocational, and college students in the Rio Grande Valley have a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship for their efforts in increasing local participation in Census 2020.

Hammond and Tamez identified four goals for the initiative:

  1. Educate students about the importance of the U.S. Census
  2. Engage students to become Ambassadors for the U.S. Census with their families, friends and neighbors
  3. Increase U.S. Census completion for the Rio Grande Valley, by achieving a 70 percent completion rate
  4. Provide scholarship opportunities for students

“Historically, the Rio Grand Valley has been undercounted in the U.S. decennial census. It is estimated the Rio Grande Valley is undercounted by as many as 300,000 persons,” Tamez said. 

“Ensuring we get an accurate count in 2020 will guarantee our region is fairly represented in Congress and the Texas Legislature, will provide our region with increased visibility and a louder voice in decisions and policy making, and will ensure that we receive our fair share of the billions in federal and state funding over the next ten years,” Hammond said.

Tamez and Hammond calculate that if the Valley is accurately counted the region could gain as much as $473 million annually or $4.7 billion over the next ten years.

RGV Census Ambassador Scholarship has partnered with the Valley Alliance for Mentors Opportunity and Scholarship (VAMOS), a registered 501(c)(3) organization, to serve as the custodian of the funds and ensure all contributions are considered a charitable donation.

Here is the Zoom conversation:

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