The Ánimo Success program builds and increases the English language learner's successful transition toward college and career readiness by developing social capital through the four pillars: personal empowerment, leadership development, cultural validation, and college and career readiness.

Social capital for second language learners represents the network of relationships they cultivate with teachers, mentors, peers, family, friends, and their community which in turn develops their sense of self and belonging.

Ánimo Success pillars integrate academic and content knowledge; cognitive and higher order thinking strategies; social and emotional intelligence; college and career preparedness; and employability and life skills.


Theresa Ordóñez is a former Immigration Attorney who represented Spanish speaking indigent parents and children in deportation proceedings. She has taught English and writing college courses to second language students and has a passion for instilling a love of language in all her students. As the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico, she experienced firsthand the disparity in support services and educational opportunities for immigrants and second language learners. Her passion to help second language learners led to the co-creation of Ánino Success which develops students' literacy capacity through their writing as emergent bilinguals. Through her teaching, Theresa's students have felt empowered when their home language is valued and encouraged because cultural validation is vital to a sense of self in an educational system that often minimizes their contributions. Ánimo Success provides students the foundation to fully engage in their learning and succeed in school.

In 2017, Dr. Cecilia Mendoza joined the teaching staff at California State University, Fresno as an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership. Prior to transitioning to higher education, Dr. Mendoza served as a secondary teacher, college instructor, and site/district administrator in public education for 36 years. Throughout her professional tenure, Dr. Mendoza has been instrumental in providing students equity and access to educational programs through career themed pathways, small learning communities and ethnic studies in Arizona and California.

Dr. Mendoza's doctoral dissertation focused on the impact of career themed pathways on Second Language Learners in becoming college and career ready. Her research revealed an apparent disparity in how long-term English language Learners (LTEL) were not accessing college preparation programs like career themed pathways. This disparity was traced to conflicting language policies on how English Language Development courses are taught to English learners in developing their English proficiency. For secondary level LTEL students, having multiple classes of ELD instruction impacts the availability to participate in college preparation programs like career themed pathways due to conflicts in their schedules.

Secondary level ELL students want to participate in college preparation programs like career pathways that provide engagement and build the capacity for students to be college and career ready. College and career readiness is the knowledge and skills students must achieve in order to graduate from high school ready to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.

As a result of her dissertation findings, Dr. Mendoza and Theresa Ordóñez co-founded Ánimo Success, a student centered program for Second language learners that develops social capital in middle and high school students by providing educational equity and access through: college and career readiness, personal empowerment, leadership development and cultural validation.