Imagine moving to a new country where you do not know how to speak the language and you’re starting 1st grade through a computer screen all by yourself in your home.
That’s how Lucia* began her first year of school after her family recently immigrated from Guatemala. As Kids Club Director, I see first-hand the many hurdles young children have to navigate when it comes to online learning. For Lucia, these challenges are greater since she doesn’t speak English.
There have been many students throughout the years, similar to Lucia, who have joined Kids Club with very little experience with the English language. With the help of Kids Club staff and volunteers, students would complete homework assignments and improve on their reading skills in person, making it easy for students to make progress on their English.
Due to safeguards against COVD-19, Lucia hasn’t had that same in-person experience with Kids Club. However, she has faced this school year with determination. Not once has she missed an online Kids Club tutoring session or online Family Room time. She has been very consistent with school and Kids Club attendance, despite the challenges she faces every day.
Lucia is very responsible; she knows what days and times she needs to log on for Kids Club by using her very own calendar. Most children her age require parental assistance getting logged on, but for Lucia, it’s her brother who helps her while their mother works. She also attended all the Kids Club in-person learning hubs we hosted for the first-grade students this fall where she received extra help from our attentive Casa team during her online school days.
I have been impressed by her confidence and how well she communicates with me and other Casa staff. She speaks up to let others know whenever she does not understand something or whenever she needs a translation.
You wouldn’t know how challenging this year has been for her because she’s full of joy and excitement anytime you see her. She lives close to me and makes sure to shout “Hi Miss Diana!!” whenever she sees me out and about in the community. She tells me how excited she is for Kids Club and how much she really likes it!
Lucia’s mom works a lot and is very thankful for Kids Club. During our first parent meeting, she shared about wanting to participate in the Parent Committee. She went on to say how amazed she is with Casa and what we’re doing with Kids Club, and was very appreciative. She said, “this is an amazing program that’s really helping our kids.”
Lately, I’ve noticed the reward Lucia’s hard work and determination have produced. She has picked up a lot of English and can understand so many words and phrases. I look forward to the day we will be able to have conversations in English, which, with her eagerness and intelligence, will be very soon.
Whether it’s online, on the street or at the community center, we’re cheering on Lucia and every child we have the privilege of knowing and working with at Kids Club as we enter a new year!
– Diana Segovia, Elementary Programs Director