Immigrant Students Are Struggling in School. Here’s Why
“I had a mother come to me to say that her son had failed first grade twice because she didn’t know English well enough to help him with his assignments,” said Noemi Santana, Coordinator of the Integrated Family Program (IFP) at Proyecto Juan Diego . “She was too afraid to go to the school and ask for help.” The majority of immigrant parents have a low level of education and speak little to no English. This and other barriers create a disadvantage for many immigrant students and play a big part in the academic gap between immigrant and non-immigrant students. Many of the schools that provide after-school programs for poor-performing students are still not meeting the needs of some families. Parents needed help from an organization that really understood their situation.
Proyecto Juan Diego started “Tutoría,” an after-school program located in one of the poorest Hispanic communities in the nation, Cameron Park, Texas. Cameron Park is a Hispanic community better known as a “colonia” in Brownsville, Texas, a sister city to Matamoros, Mexico. The Tutoría program is in a centralized location within the community for easy access to students. This program leases three classrooms from a local Catholic church in an effort to provide immigrant students (K-12) with all the resources that they may need, including a proper meal. The classrooms are equipped with high-speed internet, computers, calculators and other tools necessary to complete their assignments. Program coordinators and tutors not only help the kids with their academics, but serve as advocates and resources for their parents, who would not be as engaged otherwise.
Tutoría has proven to be a success in the immigrant community and has grown from three students to over 30 students from K-12 in the last three years. The program continues to grow and the resources to serve all of them are limited. Support Proyecto Juan Diego and it’s efforts to empower the children of immigrant families and help give them a brighter future.
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