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Centro Latino Offers Haven to Latino Community

Dorothy Scales
Centro Latino de Salud
Centro Latino's tutors volunteer their time for after-school care, mentoring and tutoring.


Complete Transcript:


Host Introduction: Welcome to Exam on KBIA, where we talk all about education and academic issues all across Missouri. I'm Kassidy Arena and this week, KBIA's Xcaret Nunez went to Centro Latino, a place that provides resources to Columbia's immigrant population.

Xcaret Nunez: The availability of resources for immigrants is very limited, especially in Missouri. Since 2017, data shows that four percent of the state’s residents are immigrants and this community continues to grow. As this rate increases, the children of incoming immigrants are faced with having to assimilate into the US in order to thrive in this new environment. One program that recognizes this issue has been offering ESL services to the immigrant community since 2000 in Columbia, Missouri.

[students talking]

It’s been a long and restless school day for the students attending the Centro Latino De Salud after school tutoring program. As high-school and college student volunteers prepare for homework time, the students talk amongst one another and play.

[people in room talking]

This afterschool program is a free program that aims to provide support and education to local immigrant children that attend Columbia Public elementary and middle schools. It was created in an effort to balance the disparities in the classroom between native English speakers and students who have learned English as a second language.

Dorothy Scales: There’s definitely a need in the community for this program and we never don’t have a waitlist. We reach out to ESL teachers to find students that would be interested in the program and we have volunteers come and we pair up the volunteers with a student for the semester and they work with that student the whole semester.

That’s Dorothy Scales, the Head Coordinator of the Centro Latino after school tutoring program. With the continuous support of community members, volunteer tutors and donations, the program anticipates that this service increases retention rates for high school students and Latinos who seek and continue higher education.

[tutor speaking to student in the background]

According to the National Center for Education, data shows that in 2016, Hispanic students born outside of the US have a high-status dropout rate of 15.9 percent. Meanwhile, non-Hispanic students have a status dropout rate of 4.6 percent. Most of the children that attend Centro Latino After School Program come from homes where Spanish is their first language. With the help of knowledgeable tutors like Allison Christiansen, students are able to face the odds that are against them…

Allison Christiansen: I decided to start volunteering here because I thought it was a really cool opportunity for the Latino community here in Columbia; just because there can be such a divide culturally and having people to kinda help bridge that gap and make sure that everyone’s on the same page. At the very least in language, I think is really important.

The long term goal of the After School Program: empower the Latino community. These students are in an environment that encourages them to do their best and prepare them for success.

I'm Xcaret Nunez for KBIA, Columbia.

Host Outro: That was Xcaret Nunez at Columbia's Centro Latino de Salud, Educación y Cultura, or the Center for Health, Education and Culture. Centro Latino offers resources like tutoring and mentoring to children in the Latino community. I'm Kassidy Arena. Thanks for listening to Exam on KBIA.

Exam is hosted by Kassidy Arena.

Xcaret Nuñez studies radio/television journalism and religious studies at the University of Missouri — Columbia.