April 11, 2019

Today’s National Volunteer Week spotlight honors Jeff Savage, who has served as Treasurer of CLUES’ Board of Directors since November 2013.

He brings a wealth of experience to the Board and to how we operate, contributing his financial acumen and knowledge of strategic communications, management, economic development and more to every board meeting. When Jeff joined the CLUES Board, we were operating at a significant deficit, and Jeff was instrumental in guiding CLUES leadership to move the operations from deficits to consistent operating profits each year. Jeff also provided great leadership in CLUES securing $7.5 million in financing for our St. Paul Headquarters expansion project, which included securing a $2,184,000 New Market Tax Credit. Jeff’s strong work ethic drives him to serve on every committee and spend many hours a month, aside from his duties on the Board, providing guidance to CLUES staff.

Here’s what Jeff had to say about what CLUES means to him: “CLUES means family. From day one, I felt immediately welcomed and included by everyone at CLUES. The advancement of family is completely ingrained in the culture and a key priority of CLUES.

CLUES is honored to have such dedicated members on the Board like Jeff Savage. Thank you for all you do, Jeff and all our volunteers for their service!

Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , , ,
April 10, 2019

Some of the first words that come to mind when thinking about Giselle are reliable, genuine and fun! Giselle is committed and passionate to the community, which is evident in her volunteer work. She is willing to support in any area and with any program or event that CLUES has. She is always very active during her shifts and is helps make events less stressful – most definitely an asset to the staff and the organization as a whole! Giselle is fun, timely, and efficient and very deserving of this recognition. We love Giselle at CLUES and we are so happy that she chooses to spend her free time serving with us!


Here’s what Giselle had to say about what CLUES means to her: “CLUES is not only a place where the Latino population can come in for resources, it is a community with amazing employees and volunteers who are more than willing to help you in any way they can. CLUES is a family where everyone is welcomed and a place I am proud to be a part of.”


Thank you to Giselle and all our volunteers for your incredible service!


Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , ,
April 9, 2019

Today’s volunteer in the spotlight is Samuel Parker! Samuel is an AmeriCorps Volunteer and CLUES Opportunity Navigator through the Minnesota Opportunity Corps, and he also goes above and beyond by volunteering his time to support many CLUES events throughout the year. He is always willing to help out wherever he can and does so with enthusiasm and a huge smile.


Here’s what Samuel had to say about what CLUES means to him: “CLUES is a model of unity and human dignity, a place where people work with, not against, one another. It is a rich community built on the hard work of clients and staff alike. People come to CLUES for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the most valuable thing I take home at the end of each day is a renewed feeling of hope.”


We are lucky to have him as part of the CLUES family! Thank you to Samuel and all our volunteers for your incredible service!
Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , , ,
April 8, 2019

This week, April 7-13, is National Volunteer Week! Each day we’ll be sharing about the wonderful volunteers who make our work possible.

Today’s volunteer in the spotlight is Esther Cortez! Esther is committed to supporting the Youth in Action (YA!) Program and CLUES in so many ways! She not only is an amazing mentor but also has been key in connecting Land O’Lakes’ Amigos group with CLUES. In addition to that, she organizes groups of volunteers for CLUES events, helps lead corporate visits for the YA! students connect us with funding and is an amazing role model for our students.

Here’s what Esther had to say about what CLUES means to her: “CLUES represents my family, the people in my life that have worked so hard so that I could have a successful future. They focus not just on developing the Latino community, but also on being the support that some may not have. Latino power will drive the American economy in the years to come, and I want to help in developing our Latino leaders and growing our community together!”

Thank you for all you do, Esther! Stay tuned throughout the week for more volunteer spotlights.

Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , , ,
April 3, 2019

*Español abajo*

Every participant in CLUES’ programs has a story – a special insight to share with the community. Every immigrant, many having traveled long distances to reach the U.S., has lived a unique life – often overcoming tremendous obstacles and hardships on their path to a better tomorrow. Today we want to introduce you to Antonio, who refused to take the easy way out and give up.


Antonio’s Story


When he first came to CLUES, Antonio made it very clear that he was on a mission to turn his life around. For many years, decisions that he made when he was younger held him back from obtaining a job he was truly passionate about. More recently, health problems that lead to surgery made it difficult for him to stay motivated. Living with and being supported by his oldest son was not how he imagined his life would turn out.

However, by the time Antonio came to CLUES to register for the Bridge to Customer Service training, he had determination and a plan to become the father and husband he always hoped to be. Driven by support from his family and faith, Antonio thrived in class. He was the first to show up to class every day, was consistently engaged in class discussions and activities, and always asked questions. Furthermore, Antonio’s jolly demeanor that never faded and his raw honesty made him stand out to those he interacted with.

“After surviving Hurricane Maria and moving to Minnesota with nothing to start with, I found that CLUES could help me and it was a breath of relief,” Antonio explained. “Participating in the CLUES training was a door opening for me. I was able to prepare myself better, with knowledge and other tools for finding a better job opportunity and help to achieve my goals.”

Just days after graduating from CLUES’ training, Antonio was hired as a driver for Metro Transit, which is one of the many dreams that he shared upon beginning at CLUES. Antonio is continuing to make progress on other financial and personal aspirations as well, all while inspiring others that there is no limit to the goals you set for yourself.

CLUES would like to congratulate Antonio and wish him much success in his new journey! Would you like to participate in the next cohort of the “Bridge to Customer Service” training? Click here for more information about the courses and registration.

Cada participante de los programas CLUES tiene una historia distinta, una visión especial que contar a la comunidad. Cada inmigrante, habiendo viajado una larga distancia, desde lugares extranjeros hasta la mayoría de los ciudadanos estadounidenses, ha vivido una vida única -a menudo superando tremendos obstáculos y dificultades- en su camino hacia un mañana mejor. Hoy queremos presentarle a Antonio, que se negó a tomar la salida fácil y nunca se dio por vencido.


La historia de Antonio

Cuando Antonio llegó a CLUES, dejó muy claro que tenía como objetivo cambiar su vida. Durante muchos años, las decisiones que tomó cuando era más joven le impidieron conseguir un trabajo que le apasionara de verdad. Más recientemente, los problemas de salud que le llevaron a pasar por una cirugía le hicieron difícil mantenerse motivado. Vivir y ser apoyado por su hijo mayor no era lo que él imaginaba que sería su vida.

Sin embargo, cuando Antonio llegó a CLUES para inscribirse en el taller de “Bridge to Customer Service”, tenía la determinación y un plan de trabajo para convertirse en el padre y el esposo que siempre quiso ser. Impulsado por el apoyo de su familia y su fe, Antonio prosperó en clase. Fue el primero en llegar a clase todos los días, participó constantemente en las discusiones y actividades y siempre hacía preguntas. Además, su comportamiento alegre, que nunca se desvaneció, y su gran honestidad lo hicieron destacar entre aquellos con los que interactuó.

“Después de sobrevivir al huracán María y mudarme a Minnesota sin nada con lo que empezar, descubrí que desde CLUES podían ayudarme y fue un soplo de alivio”, explicó Antonio. “Participar en el taller de CLUES fue para mí una puerta abierta. Pude prepararme mejor, con el conocimiento y otras herramientas para encontrar una mejor oportunidad de trabajo y ayudarme a conseguir todas mis metas”.

Apenas unos días después de graduarse de CLUES, Antonio fue contratado como chofer para Metro Transit, que es uno de los muchos sueños que compartió al comenzar su entrenamiento. Actualmente, Antonio sigue progresando también en otras aspiraciones financieras y personales, al tiempo que inspira a otros a que no haya límites para las metas que usted se propone.

¡Desde CLUES deseamos felicitar a Antonio y desearle mucho éxito en sus nuevos retos! ¿Desea participar en la próxima promoción de la formación “Bridge to Customer Service”? Haga click aquí para obtener más información sobre los cursos y el proceso de registro.

Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , , , , ,
April 2, 2019

*Español abajo*

A group of eight participants from CLUES’ youth programs and three CLUES staff had the opportunity to attend the UnidosUS Changemakers Summit March 25-27 in Washington, DC, and advocate with their legislators for issues that matter to our community.

The event brought together aspiring activists and community leaders from around the country who are committed to advocating for Latinos. After two days of learning and practicing advocacy skills, participants headed to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress.

The CLUES group had the chance to meet with Representatives Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum and share their experiences and hopes as Latinas and Americans. They discussed how policy issues such as immigration, education, and healthcare affect their day-to-day lives and their dreams for the future.

“It was amazing to see so many people willing to speak about what they were passionate about and see so many hard working Latinos make it,” said Ashley, a Youth@Work alumni. Tania, a YA! Program and Entre Mujeres alumni, added, “The Changemakers summit was very inspirational for me because I met many Latino activists who are fighting for the same things. It brought me to hope that if we continue to be united and if we young people are part of it, then there will be a change.”

The summit featured remarks from UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, El Mirage, Arizona Mayor Alexis Hermosillo, as well as a panel discussion regarding the official release of UnidosUS’s policy guide for members of Congress.

Murguía laid out how advocacy efforts on critical issues can ensure meaningful change. “In 2018, Latinos joined millions of Americans in rejecting the politics of hate and division, and their votes contributed to the most diverse Congress in our nation’s history,” she remarked. “These gains and many others have been the result of hard work and sustained, consistent national and local advocacy across many years. With sustained engagement and momentum to advance the Latino voice, the work now before us is to ensure that this Congress is accountable to all Americans.”

CLUES is committed to continuing our work with UnidosUS and other partners to ensure the Latino voice is heard and included in national and local policy work.

Un grupo de 8 participantes de los programas para Jóvenes de CLUES y tres miembros de nuestro equipo, tuvieron la oportunidad de asistir a la Cumbre de Agentes de Cambio de UnidosUS del 25 al 27 de marzo en Washington DC, y abogoar con los legisladores por los asuntos que le importan a nuestra comunidad.

La Cumbre reunió a aspirantes a activistas y líderes comunitarios de todo el país que están comprometidos a abogar por los latinos. Después de dos días de aprendizaje y practicar habilidades de abogacía, los participantes asistieron al Capitolio para reunirse con miembros del Congreso.

El grupo de CLUES tuvo la oportunidad de reunirse con las representantes Ilhan Omar y Betty McCollum y compartir sus experiencias y esperanzas como latinas y estadounidenses. Discutieron cómo las cuestiones políticas como la inmigración, la educación y la salud afectan sus vidas cotidianas y sus sueños para el futuro.

“Fue increíble ver a tanta gente dispuesta a hablar sobre lo que les apasionaba y ver a tantos latinos que trabajan duro”, dijo Ashley, una de nuestras ex-alumnas de Youth@Work. Y Tania, participante de nuestros programas Ya! y Entre Mujeres agregó, “la cumbre fue muy inspiradora para mí porque conocí a muchos activistas latinos que están luchando por las mismas cosas. Me hizo tener la esperanza de que si continuamos unidos y si los jóvenes somos parte de ello, entonces habrá un cambio”.

La Cumbre contó con la participación de Janet Murguía, Presidenta y Directora Ejecutiva de UnidosUS, El Mirage, y Alexis Hermosillo, Alcalde de Arizona, así como un panel de discusión sobre la publicación oficial de la guía de políticas de UnidosUS para los miembros del Congreso.

Murguía explicó cómo los esfuerzos de incidencia en temas críticos pueden asegurar un cambio significativo: “En 2018, los latinos se unieron a millones de estadounidenses para rechazar la política de odio y división, y sus votos contribuyeron a crear el Congreso más diverso en la historia de nuestra nación”, comentó. “Estos logros y muchos otros han sido el resultado de un arduo trabajo y de una defensa sostenida y consistente a nivel nacional y local a lo largo de muchos años. Con un compromiso sostenido y el impulso para hacer avanzar la voz latina, el trabajo que tenemos ante nosotros es asegurar que este Congreso sea responsable ante todos los estadounidenses”.

Desde CLUES continuaremos trabajando con UnidosUS y otros socios para asegurarnos de que la voz latina en estos temas se incluya en el trabajo de políticas nacionales y locales.

Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , , , , , ,
March 25, 2019

*Español abajo*

Last Saturday, a cohort of 22 women completed CLUES’ extensive financial capability series, “Tomando Control de sus Finanzas.”  These women engaged and absorbed a wide variety of valuable information in a unique, informative and culturally relevant manner. Throughout the course, participants learned about identifying their financial values, creating a spending plan, the fundamentals of credit, asset creation and protection, career and business development and long term savings and investment options.

As part of CLUES’ commitment to empower families and individuals to become prosperous and engaged in their community, Senator Patricia Torres Ray addressed the group to project the message of hard work, commitment, and financial preparation to achieve their respective goals.  These women, ranging from various Latino cultural backgrounds, were also provided with additional supportive opportunities, such as participation in our Lending Circles program, tax preparation services, and career development.

CLUES would like to congratulate each of our graduates and wish you much success in your new challenges!  Would you like to participate in the next cohort of the “Tomando Control de sus Finanzas” program? Registration is now open! The next cohort is starting in April. Click here for more info about the courses for women in CLUES Minneapolis, Saint Paul or Austin, MN (mixed group) or contact 612-746-3590 to register.


El pasado sábado, un grupo de 22 mujeres completaron una extensa serie de Capacidades Financieras llamada “Tomando Control de sus Finanzas“. Estas mujeres se involucraron y absorbieron esta valiosa información de una manera única, informativa y culturalmente relevante; para aprender a identificar sus valores financieros, crear un plan de gastos, los fundamentos del crédito, la creación de activos y temas de protección, el desarrollo de la carrera y de los negocios, y las opciones de ahorro e inversión a largo plazo.

Como parte del compromiso de CLUES de empoderar a las familias e individuos para que sean prósperos y se involucren en su comunidad, la Senadora Patricia Torres Ray se dirigió al grupo para proyectar el mensaje de trabajo duro, compromiso y preparación financiera para lograr sus respectivas metas. Estas mujeres, de diversos orígenes culturales latinos, también recibieron oportunidades de apoyo adicionales, como la participación en nuestro Programa de Círculos de Préstamos, servicios de Preparación de Impuestos y Desarrollo de Carreras.

¡Desde CLUES les felicitamos y les deseamos mucho éxito en sus nuevos retos! ¿Quiere formar parte como estudiante de la nueva edición del programa “Tomando Control de sus Finanzas”? ¡El periodo de registro está abierto! Consulte ahora toda la información y regístrese para los grupos que darán comienzo en abril para mujeres en las oficinas de CLUES Minneapolis, Saint PaulAustin, MN (grupo de mujeres y hombres) o contacte al teléfono 612-746-3590.

March 21, 2019
*Español abajo*


CLUES invites you and your family to attend one of two informational sessions to map out your next educational, finance and career steps. In these sessions, you will gain tools and information on topics such as financial planning, how to afford college and how to land internships. These sessions offer a midyear learning opportunity between our annual Latino Youth Conferences in the fall.


Get your questions answered and get connected to resources to support your goals!


Choose between two session dates at registration:


  • Monday, April 8 at CLUES Saint Paul – 5:30pm-8:00pm
  • Wednesday, April 10 at CLUES Minneapolis – 5:30pm-8:00pm


Snacks and beverages will be provided; please note we will not offer childcare during these sessions.
¡Los esperamos! We hope to see you there! The event is free to attend. Be sure to register now to secure your space. For questions or additional information, contact Camila Mercado Michelli at or 651-379-4230.


CLUES los invita a usted y a su familia a asistir a una de las dos sesiones informativas para conocer en profundidad sobre sus próximos pasos en  educación, finanzas y carreras en la universidad.


¡Responda a sus preguntas y conecte con los recursos que apoyen sus metas!


Elija entre las dos sesiones disponibles para asistir: 


  • Lunes, 8 de abril en CLUES Saint Paul – 5:30pm-8:00pm
  • Miércoles, 10 de abril en CLUES Minneapolis – 5:30pm-8:00pm


Ofreceremos Snacks y refrescos durante las sesiones. Tenga en cuenta que NO estaremos ofreciendo cuidado/guardería para niños pequeños en estos eventos. 



¡Los esperamos! We hope to see you there! El registro al evento es gratuito. Regístrese ahora para asegurar su lugar.


Si tiene alguna pregunta puede contactar con Camila Mercado Michelli en o por teléfono al 651-379-4230.
Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , , , , , ,
March 19, 2019

*Español abajo*

A group of 5 students from CLUES’ Entre Mujeres program had the opportunity to attend former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book event at the Xcel Energy Center on March 13, 2019.

Several months before the event, the young women sent motivational letters to Mrs. Obama explaining how much of an inspiration she has been to them and how important it is to have strong women of color as role models.

“She took her time in the spotlight and used it to inspire and influence well in the world. Mrs. Obama went on her own journey of self-discovery and used what she found out to inspire girls in the country to do the same. I had the privilege of being one of those young girls,” said Fatima, an Entre Mujeres participant.

A couple of weeks before the event, CLUES staff received a call saying that Mrs. Obama and her team had been touched by the students’ letters and wanted to extend an invitation for five students to attend her speech on March 13. Five of the students who had written letters were selected at random for the honor.

“The experience was amazing. I had the chance to hear Michelle Obama speak and I am more inspired and invigorated to continue following my ambitions and chasing my dreams,” Fatima said after the event. “To be able to hear the stories of a successful woman who faced challenges similar to mine and became an inspirational leader was surreal. This was a night that I will always remember and feel grateful for all of the wonderful and beautiful feelings it brought me.”

The Entre Mujeres Program is an empowerment series designed for young Latina high schoolers who are interested in taking ownership over their stories, gaining knowledge from strong and inspirational role models and becoming community leaders. Currently, more than 13 girls participate biweekly in the program, developing visions, goals and action steps together to help develop themselves as young leaders toward empowerment and success.

We at CLUES are grateful to Mrs. Obama for allowing our students the opportunity to learn from and with a powerful role model, and we are grateful for her work an advocate for young girls and their education. Our Entre Mujeres participants are determined and resilient young women who are becoming powerful changemakers and are making their families and communities proud.

We invite you to read the letters that these students sent to Mrs. Obama and for which they were recognized with the invitation to meet their idol.

Un grupo de 5 estudiantes del programa Entre Mujeres de CLUES tuvo la oportunidad de asistir al evento en la gira de presentación del libro de la ex primera Dama Michelle Obama en el Xcel Energy Center, el 13 de marzo de 2019.

Varios meses antes del evento, las jóvenes enviaron cartas de motivación a la Sra. Obama explicando cuánta inspiración ha tenido para ellas y cuán importante es tener a mujeres fuertes y de color como modelos a seguir.

“Ella ha usado su tiempo como líder público para inspirar e influenciar promoviendo el bien en el mundo. La Sra. Obama emprendió su propio viaje de autodescubrimiento y utilizó lo que descubrió para inspirar a las niñas del país a hacer lo mismo. He tenido el privilegio de ser una de esas jóvenes”, dijo Fátima, una de las estudiantes participantes de Entre Mujeres.

Un par de semanas antes del evento, el personal de CLUES recibió una llamada diciendo que la Sra. Obama y su equipo se habían conmovido por las cartas de los estudiantes y querían extender una invitación para que cinco estudiantes asistieran a su discurso el 13 de marzo. Cinco de las estudiantes que habían escrito las cartas fueron seleccionados al azar para asistir al evento.

“La experiencia ha sido increíble. He tenido la oportunidad de escuchar a Michelle Obama y estoy más inspirada y fortalecida para continuar persiguiendo mis ambiciones y mis sueños”, comentó Fátima tras el evento. “Ser capaz de escuchar la historia de una mujer tan exitosa que enfrentó desafíos similares a los míos y que ha llegado a ser una líder inspiradora ha sido surrealista. Siempre recordaré esta noche y estaré agradecida por todo los maravillosos y bonitos sentimientos que me ha aportado ”.

El programa Entre Mujeres es una serie de cursos de capacitación diseñados para jóvenes latinas de secundaria que están interesadas en tomar liderazgo de sus vidas, adquirir conocimientos a partir del apoyo de adultos que son tomados como modelos a seguir fuertes e inspiradores para convertirse en líderes de la comunidad. Actualmente, más de 13 niñas participan cada dos semanas en el programa, desarrollando visiones, metas y acciones conjuntas, que ayudan a impulsarles para convertirse en mujeres del futuro capacitadas y exitosas.

Desde CLUES agradecemos a la Sra. Obama por dar la oportunidad a nuestras estudiantes de aprender a través de su experiencia como líder. Como fiel defensora de las niñas y de su educación, la identificamos cómo una líder que sirve de gran inspiración. Nuestras participantes en Entre Mujeres son jóvenes decididas que se están convirtiendo en líderes fuertes, promotoras del cambio y orgullosas de sí mismas, de sus familias y de la comunidad.

Le invitamos a leer las cartas que estas estudiantes enviaron a la Sra. Obama y por las cuales fueron reconocidas con la invitación para conocer a su modelo a seguir.

Posted in CLUES Blog by Jessica Pleguezuelos | Tags: , , , ,