What Does "Ánimo" Mean?

Of Green Dot’s 18 schools in California, nearly all have the word Ánimo in their name. What does Ánimo mean? And why is it so important to Green Dot?

Ánimo is a Spanish word that means “encouragement”. It’s not easily translatable. It implies the act of reassuring, inspiring, or cheering someone on to overcome a challenge. Broadly, it means “Don’t give up! You can do it!”

But like any complex word, ánimo has more nuanced meanings, too. It denotes courage and persistence. Zest. Mettle. Pluck. A spirit of tenacity. It refers to something or someone who stands strong in the face of adversity.

The word defines much of what makes our students and their families so exceptional. For many, the pursuit of college isn’t easy. The journey is often thwarted by the everyday experience of living in historically neglected communities with few resources to counter the impact of underemployment and high crime. Success requires determination and hard work and the loyal support of family and friends. It requires ánimo.

Our First School, Our Newest Schools

Green Dot opened its first school, Ánimo Leadership Charter High School, 20 years ago. Located in a neighborhood where only 3% of residents completed post-secondary education, last year the school sent 90% of its graduates to college. However you translate it, that sounds like ánimo to us.

Since our founding, all of our schools have built on the success of our network, while we have invested more heavily in high quality education with each new school. We see the ánimo in our communities develop as our school leaders and instructors find new ways to support and guide our students despite external barriers, as each graduating senior leaves their school more confident and resilient than before, and when every incoming student hones an unwavering belief in their own potential. Ánimo is how our students build safe spaces, exceed expectations, and develop a passion for service

With ánimo, Green Dot joins families and the community in supporting these students, inspiring them, and cheering them on towards greatness.

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