The goal of the Education focus area is to empower Latino youth to achieve educational success. This work includes the Latino Youth Leadership Academy and Latino Youth Mentoring Program; large-scale annual events La Feria de Educaci6n Latina and the Latino Youth Leadership Conference; and advocacy to address Latino K-12 education access and in-state tuition for DACA recipients.
Through our work, the LAA has:
- Motivated and inspired 2,500 at-risk Latino youth to graduate from high school and pursue a college degree and career.
- Improved the grades and test scores of 352 low-income, at-risk Latino middle and high school students.
- Led the Cross Keys Task Force and won approval of redistricting and construction of 2 new schools to alleviate overcrowding in under performing Latino-majority Title I schools in DeKalb County.
Latino Youth Leadership Academy (LYLA)
Research shows that engaging Latino youth and their families in school leads to better student performance. The year-round Latino Youth Leadership Academy initiative, offered now at five metro Atlanta schools with a high percentage of Latinos, provides middle school and high school students with an after-school program that teaches them skills needed to succeed in school and college; leadership development; cultural and physical activities; test preparation and academic support; digital literacy; and college and career exploration through field trips, career days and mentorships. Parent involvement is a critical component of this initiative.
Latino Youth Mentoring Program
The LAA’sion’s Latino Youth Leadership Academy offers a mentoring program for 150 ninth, tenth and eleventh and twelfth graders in Dekalb and Gwinnett counties who are currently participating in our youth program. College students, civic leaders and professionals are invited to serve as mentors, working with Latino youth to develop leadership skills, answer questions about college, offer career guidance and provide academic and social support.
The Latino College Leadership Alliance (LCLA)
The Latino College Leadership Alliance is a new Youth Programs initiative that seeks to empower Latino college students and young professionals through leadership development and civic engagement. This program provides participants with meaningful service-learning opportunities aligned with the mission of the Latin American Association. Participants engage with middle and high school students and advocate on issues that matter to Latino youth. The Latino College Leadership Alliance aims to develop leaders that serve as role models to the younger generation.
Opening Doors Program
Parent input helps develop the Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors curriculum, which uses the “popular education” approach to engage parents in lessons that reflect the culture of the target audience. The interactive sessions draw from real-life experiences, incorporate data about local schools and communities, and focus on helping Latino parents understand their important role in the development of and long-term impact on their children’s educational outcomes. The train-the–trainer model helps local family service providers improve their outreach and interaction with families, and create a sustainable program that reaches beyond the initial training sessions.
Each of the curriculum sessions is grounded in a “dicho” or popular sayings, and incorporates culturally familiar activities and data. The curriculum, available in both Spanish and English promotes:
- school readiness, family well-being, and advocacy by addressing best practices in brain development
- key aspects of early childhood development (cognitive, language, physical, and social/emotional)
- early literacy, numeracy, bilingualism, health, attendance, civic engagement, parent leadership, goal setting, and planning for family success