Community Leaders Launch CAMINO: Latino Student Success

October 4, 2012

SAVANNAH – Area public education leaders gathered today along with leaders from business and human service agencies to announce the launch of CAMINO, designed to double the number of Latino students who enroll and complete college in the Coastal Empire. The local announcement followed on the heels of the Lumina Foundation’s national announcement of its Latino Student Success efforts, including a $600,000 investment in CAMINO as the only program selected in Georgia.

CAMINO, the College Access Mentoring Information and Outreach program will double the number of Latino students matriculating at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah State University and Savannah Technical College by 2015.CAMINO will work with public schools and area non-profits to serve students and families in Chatham, Liberty, Tattnall and Toombs Counties through:

  • CAMINO PREP- a pre-college pipeline program that serves students in the 9th–12th grades;
  • CAMINO PADRE – a parent engagement program for Latino parents of first-generation college students
  • CAMINO ESCOLAR – enhanced college support services for Latino students attending the three participating colleges and universities; and
  • CAMINO ABC (Adults Back to College) a targeted marketing, recruitment and admissions counseling efforts to reach older Latino students who have earned some college credit but lack a degree or credential.

In addition to the education partners, CAMINO includes the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Junior Achievement and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. “Our organizations have defined this partnership and these activities together over the course of this past year to have the greatest collective impact in our community,” said CAMINO Program Manager Ruth Duran-Deffley. “We know that we can accomplish much greater success collectively than any single organization can by itself.”

Latinos represent the largest and fastest-growing population group in the United States, according to US Census data from 2011. Projections are for an 80% population growth among Latinos nationally between 2010 and 2050. By 2025, half of the nation’s workers will be of Latino descent. At that time, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education or training, according to labor economist Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Local census data show that between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population in the 4-county region grew by 78.45% far surpassing the growth rate of any other ethnicity. Savannah-Chatham experienced a Latino population growth rate of 166%. Latino students are not enrolling in and graduating from college at the same rate that their non-Latino peers. In 2011, 21% of Latinos had an associate degree or higher in Georgia, compared with 57% of Asians, 44% of Caucasian and 30% of African-American- as reported by Excelencia in Education (2012).

Says Duran-Deffley, “The bar is often set far lower for all our students than it should be. Even Latino students who are doing well academically are not always steered toward college prep classes. It comes as no surprise, then, that many of our students have only limited expectations for themselves and their future. Our task is to help Latino parents and young people to feel inspired.”

Duran-Deffley joined the CAMINO leadership team this summer. Raised in Mexico City, Mexico, she graduated from the American School Foundation and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs as well as a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. She has a bachelor’s in international relations from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. During her years at Georgetown, Ruth was an AmeriCorps member and served at an inner-city elementary school working with African-American students on literary skills. Duran-Deffley previously worked at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits as the membership and chapters manager overseeing a membership base of 2,000 nonprofit organizations and three regional offices throughout the state. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20 years in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Minneapolis/St. Paul. She received the 2011 “20 on Rise” award from the Minnesota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

CAMINO is housed on the campus of Armstrong Atlantic State University, 11935 Abercorn Street, MCC212. Ruth Duran-Deffley can be reached at 912.344.3050 or .


Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in Aviation Technology, Business and Professional Services, Industrial Technology, and Health Sciences in addition to Adult Education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The College serves as an economic and community development partner for the region, offering corporate and customized training and assessment programs for business and industry.

Savannah Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Questions about the accreditation of Savannah Technical College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (