Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-Off

Hispanic Heritage Month starts today. For the next 30 days Latinos everywhere will be celebrating our proud heritage. As a Latina born in El Salvador, I will as well. I moved to the United States when I was 7 years-old and one thing I missed most after leaving was my connection to extended family, particularly my grandparents who helped raise me for those first seven years of my life and whom I lived with at different periods. Those intergenerational connections are priceless. I know in the Latino community, they are as well. The challenge comes when families immigrate and those connections alter or break.

One group that is meeting this challenge while focusing on meeting early childhood education needs of low-income, Spanish speaking immigrant children is Adelante Mujeres. Their Champions for Early Childhood Education (CECE) program does just that in a partnership with PODER Family Literacy. They engage local baby boomers in the Forest Grove, Oregon area to help in the classroom, one-on-one or small groups. Looking back on it, I wish there had been a program like this one when I had first come to the U.S. or that my parents would have known about one if it existed. Though, I think I managed to do pretty well all in all considering, having the familiarity of an older adult in a grandparent-like role may have made the transition better. Because of programs like these, immigrant children in that community will be better off.

For more information on Adelante Mujeres visit

~Roxana Martinez, Program Coordinator

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