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Look Who's Going to College! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 09:24
Elmu Saladah holding his acceptance letter to George Mason University.

Elmu Saladah holding his acceptance letter to George Mason University.

It's College Admissions Season!

We'll be posting the good news as it comes our way. 

  • Congratulations to Elmu Saladah on his acceptance to George Mason University. Elmu is a senior at Cesar Chavez High School and plans to major in international affairs.











March 2014 Program Spotlight: Bake and Chat PDF Print
Thursday, 20 March 2014 16:47

In honor of Women's History Month, we bring you a slice of the new Bake and Chat after-school program, which brings together a small group of girls, 12-17, on Tuesdays to bake something delicious and discuss a topic affecting young women, such as healthy relationships and communications.

On this particular afternoon, the team is baking a Victorian strawberry chocolate cake, chosen by two of the girls who are also sisters. Some of the bakers are regular group participants and others are new.

A game of telephone breaks the ice.

A game of telephone breaks the ice.

Before they cream the butter, slice strawberries, and whip icing, they break the ice with a game of telephone. Claudia Diaz, youth developer, whispers, "Shelly sells seashells by the seashore," into the ear of 16-year-old Jalysa whose smile turns to a frown as she struggles to remember the tongue twister. The game only becomes more challenging as some of the girls, who are learning English, whisper an ever more succinct version of the message to the next girl. Giggles, head scratching, and "what?" are all present.

The game gives way to a review of the group's ground rules, which are displayed on the walls in English and Spanish.

The girls then draw names to form prep groups, one for the batter, one for the frosting, and one for the chocolate icing. Group dynamics quickly emerge and personalities come out to play. Some girls decide they don't like their group and abandon the activity, leaving some groups with one member. Yet, the core group of girls, five of them who week after week come out to bake, find their groove and finish the recipe components; but not before a couple of do-overs from using granulated sugar instead of confectioner's sugar, and measuring by volume instead of weight.

The girls present their Victoria strawberry chocolate cake.

The girls present their Victoria strawberry chocolate cake.

While the cake bakes in the oven, the frosting sets, and the chocolate icing cools, the group sits down for a chat. On this day, the group leaders decide to review what worked and didn't work in the kitchen.

Jalysa points out that some of the girls were on their phones and not present in the activity, "It was disrespectful" she says. "It all worked out when just those of us that wanted to be there were left."

Twelve-year-old Cindy, who rushes to Bake and Chat after soccer practice, said, "We have to communicate better and be more careful with the instructions."

The conversation turns to what the girls like about the Bake and Chat group, which meets in the Teen Center, where mostly young men meet to play video games, pool, foosball, and lift weights.

Moesha, 17, shares, "I don't like girls that much, but this group changes my perception. I can talk to you all."

The smell of chocolate cake fills the air, signaling the end of the chat session and the time to take the cake out of the oven to cool, frost, and devour. 

Every week, the girls take turns finding a recipe for a cake, cookies, or other pastry. Although, by the end of the afternoon, most girls were campaigning for a savory dish.

LAYC Hosts Early Childhood Reading Program PDF Print
Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:30

On Thursday, March 20, the DC Public Library led a wonderful workshop at LAYC on their STAR initiative. STAR: Sing, Talk, and Read is designed to encourage early childhood literacy by offering caregivers the tools and information necessary to support children's reading and vocabulary from a young age.

This mission is aligned with the goals of LAYC's Young Parents Program, a skills-building project for D.C. parents under the age of 24. Over twenty former and current participants in the Young Parents Program attended the event, hearing about the impact of early childhood literacy on lifelong learning while also discovering some practical tips to support their children at home.

The takeaway from the event: learning should be FUN! Parents should instill an early love of learning by singing songs to their children, reading to them every day (beginning at birth!), and encouraging creative play instead of sitting them in front of a screen.

Mignon Void, the parent of a 4-year-old, reflected, "STAR gave me convenient advice on helping my child with the basics of reading, like learning syllables, practicing by reading aloud, and making reading more amusing and enjoyable so that my child doesn't feel it's a chore."

Tiffany Nguyen, a mother of two, commented, "Reading with my child makes our bond grow stronger." And here's a fun fact to support parents in doing this: the DC Public Library has lots of free programming for kids and doesn't charge overdue fees for children's books! How's that for STAR quality?

Young Latinos Trickle Into Obamacare Information Forum PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 21 February 2014 14:54


Tania Ruiz, an in-person assistant of the La Clínica del Pueblo, assists José Morales, 23, of Washington, D.C. with the details of the new Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and how it effects his health insurance. The administration has designated next week National Latino Enrollment Week.

Although the insurance that José Morales has been relying on has covered his health needs, he stopped by an information meeting to find out about Obamacare.

The 23-year-old IT technician at Latin American Youth Center, where the forum was held, has been using DC Healthcare Alliance, a D.C. government-subsidized insurance plan, because that's what his mother has used. He said the plan even covered care for a knee injury.

On Thursday, he found out the coverage doesn't meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare after sitting down with Tania Ruiz, an in-person assistant trained to walk people through the new health care law. She signed him up for an appointment next week at La Clínica del Pueblo in D.C.

"I have not thought about this. This is something new. This is the first time I've heard about Obamacare in detail," he said.

The administration has designated next week National Latino Enrollment Week aimed at getting more Hispanics, who are more likely to lack health insurance than any other racial or ethnic group. The deadline for enrollment this year is March 31.

The forum, organized by the National Council of La Raza with the youth center and La Clínica was designed to attract young people who would not only deal with their own insurance needs, but talk to their families about it as well. A handful of people attended, but officials at the center and La Clínica said they are seeing upticks in interest in the hands-on enrollment assistance they offer.

Porschea Boomer, 22, a student at the center, learned at the forum she didn't automatically lose Medicaid because of Obamacare.

Please visit NBC News to view the complete article.

Adelante Fall/Winter Highlights PDF Print
Friday, 07 February 2014 14:03

Click the image below to view the full newsletter. 


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