After-school programs offer education, connection at Centro Hispano de East Tennessee amid COVID-19 / Las programas del despues de la escuela ofretan más durante la pandemía

Hispanic Heritage Month

Nota: La versión en Español está abajo del texto Inglés.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After-school programs with Centro Hispano de East Tennessee launched again this year and to the nonprofit’s lineup are tutoring sessions for Knox County students who are learning virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leaders say the nonprofit’s fundamental commitment to help immigrant families is still a driving factor in order to support parents to be involved in their children’s education.

Dr. Megan Barolet-Fogarty, the youth and family engagement director at Centro Hispano shared how they’re empowering kids, families and young adults.

“So as the schools were reopening we knew it was important to still be serving in-person, I had to sort of rethink everything we are doing in terms of safety precautions,” Barolet-Fogarty said. “Instead of relaying on volunteers which we’ve always down in the past, we’re only using volunteers on our virtual side of things and in our in-person, we’re having really tight, controlled small group cohorts, so that we can kind of minimize those safety concerns, which logistically has been a big adjustment bu it’s so great to work with the kids again, I didn’t realize how much I missed that just to see them in person, sit down.”

The organization has implemented health and safety measures to keep classes small for in-person tutoring. They have those sessions at local Knox County elementary schools and at Centro Hispano.

“Our in-person tutoring program started back in this year, we’re at Norwood, Westview, and then we are doing tutoring in -person for those students that chose a virtual option,” Barolet-Fogarty said. “One night a week for each grade at Centro Hispano, so mostly groups of four or five kids so we can really control the environment and make sure they stay safe.”

Apart from classes for young students, Centro Hispano also offers classes for parents and adults, including parent education classes to help their kids in school.

“I mean we’ve always served kids at Centro. Now our adult ESL class is all virtual, and so the adults aren’t (physically) here,” Barolet-Fogarty said. “It’s like a specific class, like if you chose the virtual option but you realize your kids are really missing seeing other adults or you’re really challenged with the technology and you need some help for your kids in this specific subject, you can bring them here one night a week for that grade, and we’ll give them that focused attention in a small group.”

Centro Hispano leaders are also developing other programs for older youth and younger adults for more opportunities.

“One program I haven’t really talked about but I’m really exited about is our College of Social Work and our youth leadership program,” Barolet-Fogarty said. “So our after-school programs have focused primarily on the elementary school ages and it’s a little bit easier to access those kids; the parents are a little more involved to make sure they get to the programs. But we’ve found it really important and really rewards, that our older youth, our high school youth, and even some young adults that have recently graduated realize that there are opportunities for them to pursue post-secondary education. We’re working with the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee as part of a network to focus on young women’s post-secondary education so that’s been a really cool campaign. It’s called ‘Strong Women, Strong Futures.’

“Then we have this year, for the first time, of post-secondary access coordinator, she’s an AmeriCorps VISTA member, she is a Colombian-American herself and first-generation college student, college graduate. So I’m super-psyched to have her on board because I’ve always tried to reach out to the high schoolers and work with the high schoolers and we had a mentoring program that started last year for our high school students, but she’s able to just concentrate on that and really take the time to design a program that will promote leadership skills, college access, Latino identity in our young people so they can feel some unity — feel some pride, and just sort of go out and be amazing in the world.”

Las programas del despues de la escuela con Centro Hispano de East Tennessee empiezan este año otra vez, pero la clase nueva es para los Knox County estudiantes que están participandos en la programa de aprendizaje virtual porque la pandemía COVID-19.

Las lideres dicen que el promesa para ayudar las familias imigrantes todavía es el más importante para suportar los padres y la educación de sus hijos.

Dra. Megan Barolet-Fogarty, la directora de jovenes y famliias con Centro Hispano dice como la organisazión esta ayudando los estudiantes, las familias y los adulto jovenes.

Hispanic Heritage Month

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