AFTER SCHOOL TUTORING PROGRAM
Centro Latino offers an After School Tutoring Program and a Summer Program free of charge to help local children gain an academic advantage. Centro Latino’s After School Program currently serves 25 students attending Columbia Public elementary and middle schools. The program was established in September 2002 under the initiative of two University of Missouri-Columbia students: Steffanie Sing, Office of Service Learning, and Linda Manning. Linda created these programs to balance the disparities in the classroom between native English speakers and students who have learned English as a second language. In addition, a strong emphasis is placed on the promotion of literacy.
Funding for the After School Program was provided by the City of Columbia for 5 years and the programs continues now through the support of community members and donations from the general public. The program provides transportation to Centro Latino, daily snacks, and tutoring in reading, writing, and mathematics. Several times each semester, the students have the opportunity to participate in field trips in the community. Past trips have included the Daniel Boone Regional Library, the Activities and Recreation Center, and local parks.
The need for Centro Latino’s After School Program. According to the Nation Center for Education Statistics, Hispanic students have a status dropout rate of 27.8%, compared with Whites at 6.9%, Blacks at 13.1%, and Asians/Pacific Islanders at 3.8%. (www.nces.ed.gov). The children that come to Centro Latino struggle against these odds, and the prejudices they induce, everyday. Most of these students come from homes in which Spanish is the first language. In such a home, parents find it frustrating and difficult to help their child finish his or her homework when it is written in a foreign language. At Centro Latino, students find knowledgeable volunteers who can help the students complete homework while encouraging academic growth. Centro Latino also provides a safe place for the students, keeping them out of the reach of drugs, alcohol, and violence. At Centro Latino they are ensured positive role models, a clean and warm environment, and an understanding of their cultural heritage.
The long-term goal of the After School is in accordance with a major component of Centro Latino’s mission: to empower Latino people. Tutors support and encourage the students, helping them help themselves. Centro Latino provides an environment in which Latino students are expected to succeed, urged to do their best, and heartily rewarded for success. In doing so, Centro Latino hopes to instill in these children the love of learning, belief in oneself, and hope for the future. Students enrolled in the After School Program are referred to the MU Extension’s Latino Youth Futures Program for students entering high school, 12 years and up. In the future, the staff and volunteers of Centro Latino hope to hear of these students graduating from high school, attending college, obtaining skilled job positions, and becoming active community members.
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSES
Centro Latino offers English as a Second Language classes to whoever needs to learn the language. The classes are offered free of charge each Monday from 6pm to 7:30pm. Donations between $5 are welcome and appreciated. The classes are held year round with breaks for holidays. The classes are designed to help beginning students gain a basic understanding of the English language and become comfortable with it. The target population is working-class, Spanish-speaking Latinos living in mid-Missouri. Centro Latino is able to attract many students from this population due to its constant contact with the Latino population in Columbia. Centro Latino has offered English classes since its inception in April 2000.
Learning English is vital to the empowerment and advancement of Latinos living in mid-Missouri. Without a basic understanding of English, Latinos find it difficult to do everything from applying for jobs to shopping for groceries. The short-term goal of Centro Latino’s ESL program is to help Latinos do these tasks with ease by learning to communicate in English. ESL classes at Centro Latino strive to attain part of our mission by providing guidance in navigating the health, education, and cultural resources in mid-Missouri. The long-term goal of Centro Latino’s ESL classes is to enable the ESL students to become more competent, confident, and self-sufficient members of the community. The community benefits from Centro Latino’s service in the formation of such civic members. Increased communication and understanding lead to a more unified community aimed toward common goals.
Centro Latino partners with Frederick Douglas School for Adult Education. Intermediate and advanced English classes are offered at Frederick Douglas School. Centro Latino urges students to continue their education at the Frederick Douglas school after satisfactory completion of classes at Centro Latino. Douglass School offers GED classes as well.
Spanish Classes are held at Centro Latino. The cost for these classes is $10 per session. These courses are open to anyone who would like to improve their basic Spanish-speaking skills. Classes are held Tuesday from 5 to 6pm
Please call 573-449-9442 and/or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. You can leave a message in Spanish or English. Puede dejar un mensaje en español o en inglés.
ACTIVE & FRESH SUMMER PROGRAM
Centro Latino’s 2014 Summer Program: Active and Fresh will be held July 11-August 4, Mondays through Thursdays from 12:00-4:00 pm. The focus of the program is to promote exercise through activity and good nutrition through healthy meals. Each day our participants will do a fun and energetic activity, like walking to Douglass Pool and swimming, then return to Centro Latino for a nutritional meal provided by volunteers. On Thursdays Sandra Zapata will teach a Veggie Friendly Kids in the Kitchen class and the kids will learn to prepare their own healthy meal for the day.