Spring 2021 Edition
Dear students, families, and friends,
As the spring weather is surfacing, and we lumber away from old man winter, we also take note of the changes and re-adjustments during our transition to life after the pandemic. Although we are eager to socialize and visit with family, friends and loved ones, be sure to consider the ongoing CDC guidelines on how you can continue to protect yourself from COVD-19. Your efforts to normalize towards in-person connections should be at the pace that is comfortable for you, with health and safety in mind.
In this issue of The LatinEd Connection, we are excited to introduce new initiatives in virtual education: These include digital literacy classes with the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program, and college and career access through Caminos virtual workshops. Both sets of programs offer opportunities to advancements through technological tools and resources, while maintaining a human connection with our community.
Be sure to review the scholarship opportunities available through the Macy’s Emergency Scholarship fund. Also, as the summer is approaching, opportunities for internships and fellowships are right around the corner. It’s never too early to start planning your next professional experience. We have information on how to approach your internship search and where to find open positions as you look for relevant experience in your field of interest.
Whatever your plans are for the spring, remember to remain safe and healthy as you venture outside of your homes to get some fresh air and take advantage of the changing weather. Summer will be here before you know it!
LNESC National Office
Que Pasa: Updates and Happenings at LNESC
Pathways to Uplift and Empower through Novel Technology and Education Services
Due to an increased need for digital education as a result of the pandemic health crisis, LNESC has developed Pathways to Uplift and Empower through Novel Technology and Education Services, or the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program. This initiative targets Latino families, specifically those that have language and cultural barriers that present an obstacle to understanding technology and how to utilize its benefits. The purpose of this program is to cultivate a learning environment for both parents and children of disadvantaged households through skills, resources, and tools needed for digital literacy.
Currently, a pilot project for this program is being held at LNESC Oxnard in California within the agricultural community where the need for this service is exceptional. During the program, participants will become digitally literate in an authentic, culturally relevant context in their own language. Three cohorts of ten families will learn social responsibility and the use of social networks while involving parents’ participation in supervising children’s activities, and becoming familiar with access to their child’s academic progress. Becoming familiar with computers and the equipment related to their use gives participants the skillset and confidence to apply their understanding of technology for an improved quality of life.
On April 23, 2021 Spectrum announced that LULAC National Educational Service Centers (LNESC) has received a $25,000 Spectrum Digital Education Grant for its bilingual digital literacy program for low-income students and Spanish-speaking parent. Spectrum presented the $25,000 grant to the organization at a free drive-thru technology recycling drive held at Channel Islands High School on April 22.
Pictured (L-R): John Zaragoza, Mayor of the City of Oxnard; Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios, District Director for Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin; Celina L. Zacarias, Oxnard Harbor Commissioner; Dr. Maria Elena Cruz, Director of LNESC Oxnard; Dr. Tom McCoy, Superintendent of OUHSD; Carmen Ramirez, Ventura County Supervisor; Roger Adams, Principal of Channel Islands High School; Keri Askew Bailey, Spectrum, West Region Group Vice President of State Government Affairs; and Whitney O’Neill, Spectrum, Senior Director of Government Affairs.
"We believe every student has an opportunity to prosper if given the right tools and resources to succeed. The Spectrum Digital Education program supports our efforts to provide much needed services to our rural and urban communities in an effort to empower them through digital education. Through this Conexiones: Digital Pathways for Latino Families initiative, LNESC Oxnard can improve the lives of families through an innovative and responsible approach to leveraging technology through a virtual classroom series."
-Maria Elena Cruz, Director of LNESC Oxnard
THE PUENTES INITIATIVE IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY
THE SPECTRUM DIGITAL EDUCATION PROGRAM!
Caminos to College and Careers
LNESC is now offering a new set of resources, Caminos to College and Careers: Education and Leadership Virtual Workshop Series, to prepare students for higher education opportunities to provide pathways for career opportunities. These workshops will include participation by career professionals and experienced presenters in relevant topics for student growth.
On April 15th, we held our first workshop: Career Exploration This workshop was designed to inspire participants from our LNESC centers nationwide to explore different career options in business, criminal justice, education, engineering, environment, law, medicine, public policy, social work, and technology through zoom breakout rooms with professionals from each field. Discussions were led and facilitated by guest speakers, where they were able to share their personal and professional experiences in their respective fields, and providing participants with the opportunity to directly engage with them on any questions they may have.
“I would say that having someone speak to us about what they have already went through and seeing their strength in pursuing their careers was very inspirational.”
-Nataly Martinez, Austin, TX
“I loved how the technology breakout room was more information-based getting straight to the point. We talked about the opportunities I could take even when I'm in high school and I love the tips. I was so confused on how college worked. I liked when my speaker said to look into colleges that can get your bachelor's degree right away and I enjoyed how he mentioned the programs like grow with google.com, which I will definitely be doing. I am now very curious to study the ethics of technology.”
-Guadalupe Brito, Albuquerque, NM
THE CAMINOS TO COLLEGE AND CAREERS IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY THE WALMART FOUNDATION!
Macy's Emergency Scholarship Fund
The Macy's Emergency Scholarship Fund is a joint partnership between LNESC & Macy's to provide financial resources to full-time undergraduate or graduate students in Puerto Rico facing economic hardship and immediate monetary need that, if not met, could result in an inability to complete classes or a degree program. Students who are interested in applying should visit the Macy’s Emergency Scholarship page on the LNESC website for more details.
For additional non-LNESC scholarship resources, click here.
LNESC in the Field: Connecting Community to Education
In spring 2021, LNESC Oxnard hosted Motivational March events every Monday and Wednesday during lunch. The events were designed to enhance student's confidence, motivation, and mental health by providing them with information, strategies, and exercises, so they are better prepared to help themselves in times of stress. The students also participated in vision boards activities, where the goal was to remind them to continue striving for their short-term and long-term goals. Examples included a place they would like to visit.
LNESC Philadelphia has continued to engage students and families by delivering supplies directly to their homes. These include technology equipment and desks for students to use during their online classes. Our goal is to create a stable and productive learning environment as students continue to navigate their virtual school environments.
LNESC Philadelphia has been working with Harrisburg University and Philly E-Sports to provide students with well-rounded programming that involves gaming, coding, health and nutrition, and college and career readiness. Speakers from Harrisburg University and Philly E-Sports discussed degree plans available in the gaming industry, how to get involved in collegiate e-sports, and careers that are available in the field. Additionally, Dylan Polz from Marietta College talked about his college experience, and what it took to get on their e-sports team.
LNESC Philadelphia has also been working with the City of Philadelphia through funds made available by the Knight Foundation to implement the Digital Navigator program. As part of this program, community members are able to call into a dedicated line to get technical assistance for basic internet connectivity issues, obtain free or low-cost internet access, and receive phone support when applying for programs and resources. The program was recently featured in the Kensington Voice. To access the article, click here.
LNESC Vancouver provides participants with one-on-one academic support and group workshops via zoom. Some topics covered this winter include developing a strong personal statement, financial literacy from a first-generation standpoint, and a discussion with a career panelist from the business sector.
The hard-working center staff have focused their energy in helping over 30 participating seniors in taking steps toward their college transition. This involves working closely with the financial aid offices across several colleges and universities. More parents have connected with us than ever before with excellent questions throughout the fall and winter season. It has been great to provide parents with the tools to increase their awareness and parent leadership!
LNESC Vancouver continues to provide test prep to underclassmen through PSAT and SAT registration. Many participants have also taken advantage of AP test registration this spring! Students also have continued to receive school supplies, tutoring snacks, and education supplies with the intent towards supporting their needs as they continue to be present in online learning or their hybrid plan set by their target school.
Lideres in Action: Rising Stars of LNESC
Edith Belman, Administrative Assistant for LNESC San Diego, has provided invaluable support during the transition to distance learning. In addition to her administrative duties, Edith has been able to expand her role and go above and beyond to assist with special projects. She was instrumental in insuring the student and parent application was available online, successfully transitioning applications, and providing assistance to the Program Director throughout the transition process. She has led efforts to recruit additional students to the Upward Bound program, such as having provided numerous informational presentations for parents and students and given assistance to complete the Upward Bound program applications. With her support, LNESC San Diego has been able to get closer to the recruitment goal.
In addition to all the support she has provided, Edith is always willing to lend a hand when needed. She will support the Program Director and her peers, while still fulfilling her own professional responsibilities. She has cheerfully assisted and attended the drive-thru events for the students and truly enjoys to serve them and their families. Her willingness to provide support during this unprecedented time has made her a Lider in Action, and we are fortunate to have her on our team.
College Cues: Tips for Student Readiness
As summer vacation is right around the corner, students are currently seeking what they will be doing during this summer with their extra free-time. An internship, summer job, and/or volunteer positions are always a great way to fill your time as you will gain work experience and many positions are paid as well. They will be able to help you build valuable skills that you can add to your resume and add more connections to your network. Due to COVID-19, many positions remain virtual, meaning you can do the work without having to travel and be in the comfort of home. Whether you are a high school or college student, we have provided a few sites where you can find opportunities that fit your area and grade/age group.
High School Student Internships
If you excel in a subject like math or science or are a fast-typer, there are many businesses and parents looking for someone like you to be a tutor for their child or transcribe an audio recording. On the same note, places like Smithsonian and NASA have internship programs built specific for high school students to assist on special projects and learn different career paths. For other online jobs, please click here and for more high school internships, please click here.
College Student Internships
Just like for high school students, the resources available for college students are endless. There are multiple sites that help tailor to student preferences in accordance with their major and interests. For example, InternshipFinder has thousands of internships. All you have to do is input your location and keywords aligning to what you’re looking for. For paid internships and jobs, Chegg Internships and DollarBreak has an extensive list of different opportunities that you can explore and a resource to receive your paycheck as well.
Parent Forum: Strategies for Student Success
Tips for helping your student as they prepare for finals
Many students are beginning to wrap up another school year in a virtual setting or in-person. As it comes to an end, students have one last thing to battle: Finals. For everyone who has been a student, we all know the pressure and constant anxiety of trying to make sure we do our best in all of our finals. For a parent, you may be wondering what you can tell or do for your student as they take on this season. Below, we have given a few tips to help you in ensuring your student feel supported and loved during their finals.
Pay attention to their mental health
“Finals” season is naturally a stressful time for most students. As a parent, you may see changes within a student but it also doesn’t necessarily mean to be worried. Brian L. Watkins, director of parent and family affairs at the University of Maryland says, "I think sudden changes in mood or behavior are always things to be looking out for, if there’s a sudden change of things they’re interested in, or if they’ve been really passionate about something for a really long time, but suddenly don’t want anything to do with it. This doesn’t mean they are depressed, but it’s a change in pattern or behavior that may be worth a parent or family member saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’”
Motivational text messages
There are actions we can take to protect others, prevent getting sick and slow the spread of COVID-19. Encourage adolescents to be good role models — if they wash their hands often, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, and wear their masks in public spaces to help protect themselves and others, then younger children – and even their peers – are more likely to do the same.
Students at the University of Michigan were asked how their parents can best help them during finals. Many students expressed a variation of methods that would make them feel supported. One of the quickest and easiest thing for any parent to do is a send a text message. Madelyn who is a sophomore at UM stated, “Something that helps me is when they text nice messages randomly. I don't always have time to call home and have full conversations when I'm in the depths of studying for finals so the fact that they are accepting of that and still send me encouragement is really helpful.”
For more tips on parents giving support to their students during finals, please be sure to visit the source material here and here.
Your contributions are what helps us continue with our educational programs and provide scholarships to outstanding Latino/a leaders. Together we can continue making an impact on the Latino/a community. Consider supporting LNESC by making a donation.
The LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit agency whose mission is to provide the highest quality educational opportunities needed for the development of life-long learners and leaders.
As LULAC's education arm, since 1973 LNESC has provided direct educational services to under-served communities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, serving more than 14,000 students each year. Our educational programs break down the barriers that exist between high-need students and high school diplomas, college degrees, and jobs in highly skilled fields.
Through its network of community-based education centers, LNESC provides educational counseling, scholarships, mentorship, leadership development, literacy, and technology programs.
For more information go to www.lnesc.org.