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Fostering academic success for every Latino student through parent and community involvement.
Para Los Niños is a grassroots community organization founded by members of the community it serves--the growing immigrant, Spanish-speaking population in South King County.
In 2003, a group of Latino parents gathered to talk about education. As a result of this meeting, Para Los Niños was born with the following priorities: to support the education of Latino children, with a focus on early childhood development; to maintain and promote their culture and language; and to teach English as a second language in order to develop leadership and civic engagement for parents in the community.
To support these priorities, the founding group of parents knew they needed to address the particular barriers they faced as immigrants. The barriers are many. They include economic challenges, language and cultural barriers, and discrimination.
In addition, school systems function differently in our parents' home countries than in the United States. Therefore, a lack of information and understanding of how the educational system works in the United States presents an additional challenge as well as creates isolation from the broader community. In response to these particular challenges, Para Los Niños was organized.
With input from the community, it developed programs that met the needs of the community. These programs range from providing school readiness and ESL education to helping parents develop the skills and motivation for community involvement. In all its work, Para los Niños and its programs represent the desire of a community change that can support all immigrant families in their complex journey through the educational system in the United States.
- Rick Onyshko
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