According to the 2017 Washington County Live Well Report, 40% of Latino youth in the County are not graduating high school, and only slightly more than 10% of this population has obtained a graduate or professional degree. Given education is considered a major predictor of increased economic security and more positive health outcomes, these numbers are concerning. In addition, although more than 18% of the U.S. population is Latino, this group is greatly underrepresented in decision making roles in our society. Supporting early childhood education involves investing not only in early childhood education, but in adult programming, ensuring that at-risk families will receive equitable opportunities for career readiness and socio-economic prosperity.
Adelante Mujeres (Women Rise Up) has set out to change those statistics and has proven successful in engaging the Latinx and immigrant community by providing educational resources and acting as a forum for community advocacy. The organization’s mission is to provide holistic education and empowerment opportunities to low-income Latina women and their families to ensure full participation and active leadership in the community. The non-profit is based in rural Forest Grove and provides direct services in Washington County, Oregon.
In July, OnPoint provided a $2,000 donation to Adelante Mujeres for their Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program. This funding went toward certified ECE teachers, a Family Engagement Coordinator, and early literacy supplies for the 2020 school year. The ECE program serves over 100 children annually with the necessary tools for early school success, which includes literacy skills in both English and Spanish, evidence-based curricula, and parenting classes to help children thrive. This program includes the following support to each participant:
- Classroom: A 22hr/week curriculum that employs the Scholastic Early Childhood Program
- Parenting Together Time: Twice weekly events for mothers and children with interactive literacy activities including music, nutrition and exploring nature
- Family Engagement: Home visits for preschool families to support parents in resolving discipline problems, creating time for nightly reading with their children, and assessing other literacy activities
The goal of ECE is to prepare children for kindergarten and early school success. The program also allows mothers to attend Adelante Mujeres’ Adult Education Program at the same time and location. The program works alongside the Adult Education Program that serves over 50 adult learners and their families every year to support low-income women seeking academic achievement, financial literacy skills, and leadership empowerment. Adult Education provides women the opportunities to pursue and complete their secondary educations through a holistic education model in English Language Development, mathematics, science, computer, grammar, social studies, leadership, parenting, financial literacy, and conflict resolution.
Angelica’s story is about her family, which was served through the Early Childhood Education and Adult Education programs:
Angelica has dreams for herself. She wants to get her GED, and she wants to learn how to speak fluent English so that she can get a good job. But at 22 years of age, with two children, achieving her goals is no small feat. When Angelica heard about Adelante Mujeres’ Early Childhood Education Program, she enrolled both of her children right away. Her daughter is now in the Early Head Start program and her son is in the Preschool program. Since they don’t have family nearby—and childcare can be very expensive—Angelica says this was a great option for them. With both of her children in preschool classes until 2 pm during the week, Angelica had more time for herself. She knew she could use this free time to work on getting her GED and learn English. She could reach higher. She learned about Adelante Mujeres’ Adult Education Program, decided to enroll, and began taking GED and ESL classes. “We know we have potential, and education helps us go higher,” said Angelica. “We are empowered when we have an education because we are the voice of our children, and we are voices for other women.” In 2018, Angelica received her GED.