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May 19, 2011 / HandsOnCorps

Language Barriers and Parental Engagement

Our Flex program has been working hard to develop a new family tutoring project. It is a collaborative effort with the Parent Service Project–a nonprofit located in the Canal District, a neighborhood in Central San Rafael–where residents are predominately Spanish-speaking.  The Parent Service Project works to engage and strengthen families in the Canal District by working in partnership with educators, and service providers to take leadership in assuring the wellbeing of children and families in the community. The new Flex project offers volunteers the opportunity to work with a selected group of 20 middle school students and their families, these students all attend schools within the Canal and have been selected because they are at high risk of dropping out of school. The volunteers will give homework help to the student working along with the student’s parent.  Thus, the project will engage Latino parents who would like to help their children with their homework but either have a difficult time as it is presented in English or else might not have a solid enough of the work themselves in order to help their children.  The objective of the family tutoring is to give the parents and the students the support and motivation for their child to succeed in school. The idea is that the student will receive the best education when the parents and teachers are involved in the student’s learning.

The idea for the project is born out of the success and growth of two well established Flex projects, our English Conversation Clubs and our Play a Game, Read, and Learn with Kids.  The English Conversation Clubs offer immigrants a place to practice their English speaking skills in a relaxed, non-judgmental atmosphere and our Play a Game, Learn, and Read with Kids give underserved kids homework help and one-on-one attention in after-school programs in Marin.  The success of these programs inspired our initiative to merge the project components and develop the family tutoring program.

Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin-Kyla Burke-Lazarus
AmeriCorps VISTA
Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership

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