Charlotte YMCA sets up Parents as Teachers program to aid Latino families
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CHARLOTTE — The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is working hard to help Latino families better prepare their children for school.
The Parents as Teachers Program started five years ago but representatives said they are now making substantial headway. For parent Veronica Gelgadillo, the program is changing her family's life.
"I feel like my child, by the time he starts school, which is pretty soon, he will be familiarized,” said Delgadillo.
The program sends a certified parent educator in to the home once a month to help children up to the age of five with everything from cultural skills to language skills.
They also hold monthly group meetings for the parents at the YMCA and they do it all with one end goal in mind; preparing the kids for school so they won't be playing catch up during fundamental years.
"There are a lot of challenges that Latino families have. I think the main one is the language barrier. We help in many areas like translating and helping them understand the system, the culture here in the United States," said Victor Rodriguez.
Parents as Teachers started in 2007, helping about 30 families. Today, the program is serving 85 Latino families in Charlotte.
Fifteen students graduated from the program and entered into Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools this year. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials said the partnership is invaluable.
Program Director, Pilar Perez, said she is seeing the progress it is making.
"Two of our participants graduated and they entered school in the kinder year. They passed kinder and at the end of the year they got a scholarship to go to a science camp," said Perez.
Parents as Teachers is funded by Smart Start and is free to participating families.