Breaking the cycle of poverty by providing education, knowledge and skills to immigrant familiesTodos Juntos Learning Center is a bilingual, 2-Gen family learning center. Since 2009, they’ve been committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by strengthening immigrant families through education. They work with the children and their parents simultaneously, building them up together to create meaningful opportunities for both. Todos Juntos collaborates in education with families, partner agencies and the greater community, because if we want to make a change, there’s only one way to do it: all together.
Many Latino children, especially those in families who do not speak English, are academically disadvantaged before they even start school, a deficits that follows children throughout their schooling (E3 alliance). Moreover, Latino children are more likely to attend low-performing schools, which is a disadvantage that might be avoided by highly involved parents. However, Latino parents, especially recent immigrants, may not be prepared to help their children in school, especially if parents don’t speak English and didn’t graduate from high school themselves (US Census, 2004).
Todos Juntos believes that a multi-modal, multi-generational approach is the best approach to ending the cycle of poverty ensuring that all Austin’s residents can enjoy the promise the city has to offer. By providing concurrent programming to adults and their children four days a week for nine months out of the year, Todos Juntos Learning Center provides parents and children the opportunity to learn together, to value education and to gain control over their family’s future. The following programs are offered at Todos Juntos Learning Center for kids, adults and family units:
The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program offers classes that teach children, ages 18 months to 4 years, the skills they need before enrolling in school. On average children end the year 3.5 months ahead, gaining nine month of vocabulary skills in fewer than six months.
Kids enrolled in the ECE program learn a number of skills such as:
- Fine motor skills
- Math and literary concepts
- Socializing and sharing
- Love of reading
- Creative play
- Music and art
- Physical activity
- Healthy eating
Todos Juntos’ Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) program offers classes to Travis County residents without a high school diploma, 18 years of age or older. Adults will learn how to speak, read and write English. All classes are taught by professionally trained instructors, provided by Austin Community College, and on average, 91 percent of students advance to the next level of ESL on the first try. All classes are free of charge.
The Mommy and Me parenting program empowers parents to transform their strengths into tools that will help their children grow. During each class, parents are engaged in their children’s weekly literacy theme, followed by fun and educational family activities. When families join Todos Juntos, they make sure they feel the love and feel that we’re doing this together --as a family.
Families enrolled in the parenting program will learn the following:
- How to effectively communicate as a family
- How to build a social network of support
- How to advocate for their child
- How to support their child in life and education
Todos Juntos has a staff of certified ESL Instructors which have been with the company on an average of 5.6 years. All staff are bilingual and have volunteered for 1,864 hours. Todos Juntos has a partnership with several organizations in Austin including, community colleges, universities, schools, churches and health centers.
To learn more about Todos Juntos Learning Center, or to donate visit them here: http://todosjuntoslc.org/