Meet the Latino High School students giving back by tutoring English to elementary school students in Florida
The effort is the result of a partnership between Wellington High School and the nonprofit, Latinos in Action.
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the education system would be an understatement.
But Latino high school students in Wellington, Fla. are taking the initiative by providing a helping hand to elementary students struggling to read in English.
The program is offered as a year-long elective course taught by teachers at the middle school and high school level.
Latinos in Action also focuses on other ways to help the Latino community such as developing leadership skills and strengthening their neighborhoods in preparation for college.
The virtual tutoring of Latino elementary students from New Horizons Elementary School in Wellington is just one example.
Students connect via Google Meet for 30-minute sessions held once per week.
The bilingual tutors that help the young scholars know how it feels to learn a new language. The connection makes elementary school students more comfortable and encourages them to pursue their goals.
“Some of the mistakes they made, I made too,” Sara Torres, a junior high school tutor, told WPTV. “The Spanish, gets crossed over with the English, and so I will let them know that's okay, not all is perfect.”
In addition to virtual tutoring, the high school students also gain experience that will help them achieve leadership in the future.
“We often tell the kids this is our superpower, and being able to make that something stronger and enforce it during school and at such a young age, it's something very impressionable I wish I would've had,” said Leslie Díaz, another tutor at Wellington.
In the process, Latino children getting held with their reading are also gaining mentors that share the same backgrounds as them.
Many students in Wellington High School have come from families who have immigrated to America from Spanish-speaking countries.
In 2019, Latinos in Action gained positive recognition when students in an Orlando high school used music therapy to help their disabled peers.
The nonprofit organization also provides leadership conferences for students to teach them many life skills. One of the focuses of their conferences is money management.
They also teach Latino high school students how to pay for college, walking them through how to file for FAFSA, and find scholarships.
Christian Carrera, a teacher in Wellington High School, who also supervises the program, told WPTV of how impressed he was with how the tutors interacted with the younger students.
“Our style combined with their teaching style has been perfect formula for them. Because we provide the mentorship and that little burst of energy,” he said.
It is crucial to help students whose first language is not English, especially when help is limited during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By helping young Latino scholars how to achieve their scholastic goals like reading, they are also building self-confidence that will lead them to a bright future.