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May 1st, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Compton kids learn to fly after school

By Sonya Hamasaki, CNN

Compton, California (CNN) – On a sunny afternoon at Compton Airport, 9-year-old Jose Pineda runs across the tarmac and makes a bee-line for a single-engine Cessna.

He's completely at ease –- clearly in his element –- laughing and joking about a special celebration coming up. A birthday. He runs his hand along the side of the plane, and walks underneath the wing, clearing it with one foot of headroom to spare. He swings open the door and climbs into his seat on the left side of the plane - the pilot’s seat.

Pineda carefully checks the instruments on the console. He picks up a two-way radio to talk to some "grown-ups" who run air traffic control. His seat belt clicks and he's ready for take-off. That's right, Pineda is a pilot; a "veteran," he tells us. He’s been studying aviation since he was six.

Inside the hangar, Pineda's friend, Tasneem Khatib, is also preparing to hit the skies. At 11 years old, she got a bit of a "late" start.

And then there’s 16-year-old Keilyn Hubbard, dressed to the nines in a navy blue pilot's suit. Sure, he’s at least old enough to drive. But he's also training for his first SOLO flight.

Just who are these kids?

They're not child actors filming a movie about kids who fly. Nor are they privileged child prodigies who set aviation records.

Jose, Tasneem and Keilyn are part of a unique afterschool program for inner city youth offered by Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum in Compton, California.

Here, hundreds of children - as young as 5 - are learning how to fly.

Read the full post on CNN's Schools of Thought blog

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Filed under: Age • Black in America • Education • Who we are
April 25th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Latino soldier to fellow troops: 'Take the warrior mask off...get help'

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of CNN In America's documentary series on American voters. J.R. Martinez narrates the documentary re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Sonya Hamasaki, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - When Army Master Sergeant Mike Martinez arrived in Saudi Arabia for his first assignment 22 years ago, he knew his experience in the infantry would make him “real tough, tough like nails.” But little did he know back then just how much those words would resonate now, in his new role as a voice for the invisible wounds of war.

Martinez, 42, shared his story in the USO’s first Invisible Wounds public service announcement to address post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries - the masked wounds encountered by many of the 300,000 troops returning home. He’s on a mission to educate Latino troops, in particular, whom he says are likely to feel a cultural stigma surrounding mental health treatment.

“I tell my Hispanic brothers that are still serving, don’t let pride get in the way," Martinez said. "Pride’s going to kill you. Take that warrior mask off and if you need to, get help. Get it in the beginning stages, and not later.”

Even veterans seeking help might not be getting a quick response from those who would care for them, according to an report released by the U.S. Office of Veterans Affairs this week. While the number of former service members seeking mental health care increased by 39% from 2005 to 2010, according to the Veterans Health Administration, the agency hasn't been meetings its goals to evaluate them within 24 hours and begin treatment within two weeks.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Documentaries • Health • How we live • Latino in America • Veterans
Engage: Growing number of women have never been married
March 23rd, 2012
12:08 PM ET

Engage: Growing number of women have never been married

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Poll: Nearly 40 percent of women in U.S. never married; nearly half of marriages are over in 20 years – Chicago Sun-Times

Study: 70 percent of female Hispanic youth view themselves as leaders – Huffington Post

Irish Immigration bill draws critics – USA Today

Muslim Americans' identity story one of  'rapid assimilation' – Wall Street Journal

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Engage: McDonald's Don Thompson to become company's first African-American CEO
March 22nd, 2012
11:55 AM ET

Engage: McDonald's Don Thompson to become company's first African-American CEO

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Fast food veteran to become McDonald's first African-American CEO - Wall Street Journal

POLL:  Over half of Americans say churches should stay out of politics - Reuters

Employment rates for Hispanics, Asians climb to pre-recession high - Bloomberg

Sen. Barbara Mikulski honored as longest-serving woman in Congress - Politico

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Engage: Women take Rick Perry to the task on Facebook
March 21st, 2012
01:45 PM ET

Engage: Women take Rick Perry to the task on Facebook

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Women flood Rick Perry's Facebook page with health care concerns - Washington Post

NASCAR campaign eyes Hispanic racing fans - New York Daily News

California's faithful embrace Muslim fashion -  San Jose Mercury News

Perspective: Church life as an African-American transgender woman - Huffington Post

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Engage: Frequency of teenagers texting skyrockets
March 20th, 2012
12:10 PM ET

Engage: Frequency of teenagers texting skyrockets

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Report: Teens send an average of 60 texts per day - San Francisco Chronicle

Latino population rate slows under crippling economy - Los Angeles Times

New York Assemblywoman vying to become state's first Asian American in Congress - Wall Street Journal

Native American tribe to revive traditional village in Northern California - New York Times

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March 19th, 2012
12:45 PM ET

Engage: Romney eyes Latino voters following Puerto Rico victory

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Encouraged by Puerto Rico win, Romney chases Latino support – Los Angeles Times

NBA lacks women in top coaching positions- Forbes

Report:   Nation-wide high school graduation rates are 'modest' – Chicago Sun-Times

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Engage: Revamped detention facility opens
March 14th, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Engage: Revamped detention facility opens

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

New immigration detention facility aims to be "less like prison" - National Public Radio

Justice Department rejects Texas voter ID law; DC Federal Court to decide on enforcement - Houston Chronicle

Female athletes in NCAA tournament have higher graduation rates than male counterparts - Bloomberg

Spanish-language station makes history with 'social' programming - The Miami Herald

iVillage unveils best and worst states for American women to live - iVillage.com

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Engage: African American clergy pledge to drive voters to the polls
March 13th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

Engage: African American clergy pledge to drive voters to the polls

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

African American churches rally to register 1 million voters - Christian Post

DREAM Act students put spotlight on themselves to delay deportation - USA Today

Latinos dominate Major League Soccer playing field - Fox News Latino

Many California cities lack minority leadership - KPBS

Perspective: Cancellation of "All-American Muslim" is a 'lost opportunity' - Chicago Tribune

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Engage: The words ‘under God’ in pledge of allegiance ignites debate over student rights
March 12th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Engage: The words ‘under God’ in pledge of allegiance ignites debate over student rights

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

What happens when thousands of people go to court and refuse to plead out – The New York Times

Idaho state senator joins a growing list of openly gay congressional candidates – The Advocate

Little Havana’s Calle Ocho festival sets record with giant flag representing all the countries of the world – The Miami Herald

Do the words "under God" deny non-religious students inclusion in a patriotic ceremony – The Atlantic

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