Nuestra Comunidad:After-school program helps with academics, attitudes

Homework is a common problem faced by many children and it represents a serious issue for youth who are at a disadvantage in the classroom.

This is not the case, however, for dozens of children who participate in the CPACS Star program, offered by Center for Pan Asian Community Services, a nonprofit migrant advocacy organization. Through this initiative, students receive free after-school tutoring.

“The program is open to everyone, but the majority of the children who attend are Hispanics,” said CPACS member Ricardo Broce. He added that most parents enroll their children because they work and do not have time to help with homework. Many also have difficulty due to the language barrier.

“There are a lot of [parents] who want to help their children but can’t because they aren’t fluent in English or because they don’t have time,” said Broce.

The after school program also seeks to create new leaders and keep children and adolescents away from drugs.

“We strive to create a healthy life for this community’s children, improve their academic levels and mold young people who are more responsible,” said Broce.

The program is free and in some cases transportation is provided so that children can be taken directly from school to CPACS’s headquarters.

“In general we help them with all of their homework, but we also focus on tutoring in math and English,” said Keegan Leiba, director of the program and one of the after-school teachers.

In addition, the initiative offers classes for parents, who learn how to support their children from an academic standpoint.

“We have workshops, we speak with the parents and we explain that children who receive help at home are more successful,” said Kent Kim, also a member.

Although CPACS has an Asian foundation, its services are offered to anyone who needs them, said Kim.

This year 510 students are registered in the tutoring program.

For the parents one aspect that stands out is the improvement they have seen in their children’s academic performance.

“I didn’t go to school, so as much as I want to, I can’t help my son with his homework,” said Catalina Hernández.

María Pérez said that her son’s behavior and grades have improved.

“My son acted very spoiled at home, he didn’t want to do his chores, and he was unmotivated. This year though, since he has been in the program, not only has his behavior improved but his grades at school are good too,” said Pérez.

In addition to the after school services CPACS Star also offers summer camps for children through high school.

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