Changing the Landscape

I am the author of the books From the Barrio to the Board Room and the graphic novel Mi Barrio. These books have over the past 4 years turned into teaching tools that are having a very strong social and emotional impact on our teens and at-risk youth.

Barrio has turned into a fully bilingual comprehensive non-generic program that resonates with our kids and promotes student achievement. These books are helping to inspire and motivate our youth to stay in school, go to college, make better life choices and to realize their full potential. The program is a solution that addresses the now issues and has hit the hearts and souls of our children to give them hope and to help them to realize that they need to dream and dream big.

We are in the midst of an educational crisis, a meltdown with Latino dropout rates remaining alarmingly high nationwide. Principals and teachers, social workers and parents are at a loss of what to do. I wanted to confront the issues head on and get past talking about the statistics and the problems and develop a program that be part of the solution to a broken system. We have created school based and faith based curriculums which we donate free to all schools, churches and social service organizations. The program teaches our kids to believe in themselves and that the secrets to success are hard work, dedication and education.

The reason that we believe that these books are working is because the kids see themselves in the books, many of them are living the life today that I/we lived back then. It’s not even my story really if you want me to tell the truth? Yes, the books have my name on it but its not my story. These books are our story, its the story of many of us who come from a hard place but who have worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices and have done whatever we needed to do (legally) to come out clean on the other side.

It’s a story of hope and dreams, guts and desire. My life was hard like many of these kids growing up around gangs and poverty, with no father at home and a mother working 2 or 3 jobs just to make sure her kids don’t become part of the system.

The Barrio books are a road map to help our kids avoid taking the detours many of us took in our own lives. I never would have believed that when the 1st edition of From the Barrio to the Board Room was released that I would be in a position to ask you to walk with me so that together we could help to change the landscape for our youth across America and around the world.

The books are currently being used in middle schools, high schools, colleges, youth prisons, detention centers, jails, churches, battered women›s shelters, homeless shelters, and various businesses and corporations.

We have seen lives change in real time and it›s our goal with your support to help our kids to complete high school and then go onto college. Get them away from all the gangs, drugs, violence, bullying, abuse, teen pregnancies and needless deaths.

I previously owned a business and thought I had everything I ever wanted. A nice car, a house on a pond, a few bucks in the bank, vacations. I tell you this not to impress you but to empower you because the two greatest days in your life was the day you where born and the day you realized why you where born.

So that being said, I have closed my business and taken a blind leap of faith to serve a higher purpose. I am now Chairman & CEO of the From the Barrio Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It’s a one of a kind, multi-level public service organization that unites education, community, and corporate sectors together as partners. Please join The Barrio Movement and the commit to the pursuit of philanthropy investment, professional networks, creating opportunities, and facilitating their promotion amongst community and corporate leaders and the general public willing to make a difference. It is my personal goal that we exchange the Barrio books for all the guns, knives, drugs, needles, booze and even the cigarettes.

Please feel free to contact me personally at to discuss ways we can partner and not just talk the talk but to walk the walk because that’s what real leaders do. Or visit

By Robert Renteria