Mighty Writers El Futuro, an after-school program for Hispanic students
Mighty Writers El Futuro is a program dedicated to support and uplift Latino culture and families through after-school activities, assistance, and mentorship.
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Mighty Writers is a nonprofit founded in 2009, focused on empowering children and youth to see the importance of writing through several writing workshops, writing mentorships, activities, and programs like Mighty Toddlers, After- School Academy, Mindfulness, College and Career programs.
Mighty Writers teaches more than 3,500 kids to write with clarity so they can be successful in school, work, and life.
Mighty Writers also offers food distribution services at different locations in Philadelphia available here. Depending on the location the time and date availability for food varies, but it’s open to anyone in need of assistance regardless of background. Mighty Writers has additional locations in Camden, Atlantic City, Newark, NJ, and Washington Heights, NY.
Mighty Writers El Futuro, located in South Philadelphia offers free after-school homework assistance for ages 3-17, along with “bilingual programs to support and uplift Latino culture and families.”
The program wants to create a reading habit that would allow students to understand the importance of creative writing and creative thinking. Since the majority of students are Hispanic, the program incorporates resources from the students’ native country, allowing for cultural identity, cultural appreciation, and cultural richness to be fostered.
Many of the students at Mighty Writers are new to the United States and face many struggles from language barriers and culture shock that exacerbate their academic performance and mental agility.
This program is open to the Hispanic community because it is a scarce resource among this population of people— especially for parents that find assimilation challenging and are unable to assist their children with homework.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are dedicated exclusively to homework support and Thursday and Friday are designed for culture and art exposure.
Claudia Peregrina, Program Director at Mighty Writers El Futuro believes it is important to be “empathic with children.”
Also a former domestic and sexual violence therapist in some organizations that support Hispanic women, Peregrina explained to AL DIA that she understands the importance of resources for this community and she likes to remind parents that “their children are going to be very powerful in the future, and they will continue to be so because they already are.” It is with this mentality that she approaches children from different age groups utilizing her art therapy background to understand, assist, and guide their academic efforts.
Every child is unique, she explained, because each represents a unique and special story that makes this type of work unforgettable. Her favorite part is seeing the different forms of growth in each student, especially those that didn’t know how to read or write.
She explains how important it is to have a free after-school program for the Latino community because “when it comes to making payment, some families have two or three children. They may be able to pay for one child, but can’t pay for all three.”
Tim Whitaker, Executive Director at Mighty Writers wanted free resources to be open for families that need it, because Latinos precisely find it difficult to adapt to the culture while trying to make a living.
America After 3PM found that 24.6 million children in the United States are unable to access an afterschool program because cost is a barrier—exposing 55% of Latinx parents and 58% of Black parents saying they would enroll their child in an after-school program if they could. The findings only further show the significant inequities minorities and minority children are subjected to in education.
“In this survey, Latinx parents report that after-school programs are doing stellar work in helping meet many of their children's academic, social/emotional and other needs. But investments in afterschool have not kept up with demand, and that puts millions of children and youth at risk. The pandemic, which is taking an especially high toll on communities of color, is exacerbating the harm,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant as reported by PR Newswire last year. “Quality afterschool programs are essential to student success in school and life. If we want to emerge from this pandemic strong, we need to provide all our children and youth access to the enrichment opportunities and resources after-school programs provide. We're not doing that now, and Latinx families are among those who are struggling even more as a result.”
Mighty Writers students’ come from different countries in Latin America— Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela to name a few.
“There are many children who, because of their culture, because of their bilingualism or various situations feel insecure in their schools,” Claudia explains. “Many times we underestimate the emotions and feelings of a child or we compare by thinking that their feelings should be ignored or we begin to call these behaviors different names, when all that is required is to be empathetic and understanding.”
The key components are love, trust, motivation and above all tolerance assures Claudia. The goal is to make a child see how important the child is because it will elevate the child’s confidence in believing in the individual powers they possess.
A report in 2020 found that 64% of Latino parents are more likely to choose an afterschool program that offers opportunities to build life skills, a crucial component to Mighty Writers El Futuro, because each child has different talents that need to be identified in order to promote personal security.
Mighty Writers El Futuro wouldn’t be a thriven force without the committed individuals that believe in the importance of literacy, of reading and writing, and educating the Hispanic community in any way they can be a resource.
“Without my other arms, I couldn’t do this project alone. We are a team,” Claudia emphasized. “We meet as a team, we talk about how we feel, and how [we] can motivate you]—one supports the other, [that way] when their children come we are consistent in what we are promoting.”
The National Education Association (NEA) states that the importance of learning collaboratively helps students develop higher-level thinking skills, boost confidence and self-esteem as well. Also, adapt and improve social and interpersonal skills when dealing with diverse learners.
Mighty Writers El Futuro has a yearly Summer Camp focused on team-building and exposing students to different professions through the attendance of workshops, and enhancing their creative thinking through painting, museum exhibitions, while still preserving the excitement of education through cultural richness.
If interested in Mighty Writers El Futuro afterschool program, Monday through Friday from 3:00pm- 6:00pm, please click here for more information.
Every Thursday, starting November 3, 2022 at 5:00pm a youth program will start nurturing creative writing and creative expression.
November 11, 2022 at 10:00am “Mom and Me” program begins to provide support to mothers through fun and interactive activities with their baby.