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?
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.
BY SUZANNE GAMBOA 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.
Ambassador Susan Rice, center, with LAYC AmeriCorps members at LAYC on MLK Day of Service, January 20, 2014.
January 20, 2014 — LAYC celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with a day of activities to benefit homeless youth in the community. LAYC President & CEO Lori Kaplan welcomed White House National Security Advisor and former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and her family, and volunteers who spent the holiday making care packages for homeless youth at LAYC's anchor site in Columbia Heights. "Dr. King committed his life to equality for all Americans. Volunteer service to transform our communities is more important than ever," stated Rice.
LAYC's MLK celebration was possible thanks to World Vision International, which donated the items for the care packages, and the dedicated staff and participants from its AmeriCorps and Safe Housing programs who planned the event. LAYC is also grateful to the volunteers from Roosevelt Senior High School and the community.
LAYC's Maryland AmeriCorps team held a celebration for students at Buck Lodge Middle School featuring workshops, food, performances, and a photo booth. View photos from the celebration on Facebook.
Since its inception in 2006, LAYC's Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers' (LAYC/MMYC) Langley Park site has set out to address the issues that affect Latino youth and their families' opportunities for advancement. A hub for immigrant families priced out of emerging neighborhoods in the District, Langley Park has witnessed an increase in gang activity and violence among Latino youth.
In the past eight years of LAYC's presence in the community, LAYC has collaborated with The George Washington University's Avance Center for the Advancement of Immigrant/Refugee Health to inform studies seeking to improve the quality of life of Centralamerican and Mexican families in Langley Park. Building on results from the first collaboration, 2009 SAFER (Seguridad, Apoyo, Familia, Educacion, y Recursos) Latinos project, Adelante launched in May 2013.
"We hope to better understand the complex factors and social contexts that can lead to these health risks in Latino immigrant communities," said Mark Edberg, director of the Avance Center.
LAYC/MMYC's Adelante program is the intervention component of the new Avance Center study aimed at establishing an academic-community partnership to reduce health disparities in Langley Park. Adelante at LAYC/MMYC offers programs for both youth and parents. Youth may take part in leadership-building and sexual health workshops, English classes, and recreational activities, while parents may participate in school advocacy and family cohesion workshops.
Part of Adelante's outreach strategy is the web series Victor & Erika, below, featuring LAYC program staff and youth. Series synopsis: Victor and Erika are two determined and resilient Latino youth who live in Langley Park. Both experience complex challenges at home and in school that require them to grow up quickly.
As the popularity of the program grows, thanks to word-of-mouth and the program's strong social media presence, program staff have scaled programs to meet the demands of the community. In just seven months, the program has served over 200 youth and family members, exceeding its goal to serve 150 in the first year. In the next few months, the program will develop its work with community partners and other Latino-serving organizations to create opportunities for program graduates to thrive.
"Through this program, we hope to see youth and families in Langley Park start to participate in healthier behaviors and to advocate for programs and services that can help build a stronger community," said Luisa Montero-Diaz, LAYC/MMYC Managing Director.
Adelante is funded by a five-year research grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
To become a community partner or for more information about Adelante, please contact
Adelante program manager.