Friday, September 13, 2013
Third Revision: Elysia Liang's Help and Edits
SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE ISSUE AND HOW WE ADDRESS IT
AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
The Hispanic community and its children in the United States are in danger.
Compared to all other ethnicities in the US, Hispanic students have the highest high school dropout rates, and they academically underperform at every grade K-12 compared to white students. Consequently, as adults these children can expect to be unemployed, earn low-incomes, and struggle as they straddle the lines between life and poverty.
These students’ gaps in academics and economics result from deficits in their cognitive and noncognitive skills which open up early in their childhoods and persist into adulthood.
Most of these skills develop in the first 5 years of a child's life. Because mothers spend the most time with their children early in their lives, they largely control these investments in skill development. Hispanic mothers know they must invest in their children, but with little formal schooling and knowledge of resources available, they don’t know how. Consequently, they read less to their children early; expose them to less vibrant, expansive language and vocabularies; and less frequently enroll them in high quality preschool programs.
As Hispanic students remain the fastest growing student demographic in the US, these children will continue to drop-out of school at the nation’s highest rates; they will continue to academically underperform relative to their white peers; and they will continue to struggle economically.
But we can change all of this.
If we intervene in these children’s lives early through high quality early childhood literacy programs and programs geared towards working with these children’s parents, we can raise their high school completion rates, raise their incomes and employment rates, and raise them out of poverty.
With the support of our donors, ALMas: Pre-K Literacy and Mentorship is doing just that. We’ve implemented an after school pre-k literacy program based upon the most recent research in early childhood education, and through that same program we work with parents to teach them how to help their children continue learning; growing at home; becoming productive citizens in a new and advanced, technical economy.
Only with our supporters’ and donors’ help can we do this. They are the reason why we can keep our program running and helping as many Hispanic children as we can.