New grant funding connects families to schools in East Pasco
EAST PASCO, Wash. -- A recent 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, awarded to the Educational Service District 123, is bringing much needed after-school programs to families living in East Pasco. ESD123 is partnering with two communities, Tierra Vida and Lakeview, where many families live.
"The kids may not see that they are our future, and the kids may not see that they are somebody," said Margarita Alaman, 21st Century program director. "But as long as I’m in this role, I’m definitely going to push the students to think outside the box and to feel like they can be who they want to be in the future.”
Alaman has worked to help struggling families and students for the past eight years.
"I just get really excited because the families are where it’s at, and the more we teach our families to connect with their students in the schools, the more we’re able to affect their students’ lives,” Alaman said.
Alaman said they are trying to bridge the gap between the students, the schools, the community and the parents. She said it's everyone’s responsibility to encourage these kids and help build better futures.
Resources aren't easy to come by, but a new 21st Century Community Learning Center grant will pay for services for kids who desperately need the hand up, not just a hand out. The grant is estimated at $318,377 and will be poured into the community so educators can pour into these children’s lives.
Alaman said these after school programs do just that, by giving gives kids at Tierra Vida many different hands on opportunities.
"They help me with my homework and they help me build crafts that I’ve never build before,”said K’mwee Hser, a 5th grader at Marie Curie Elementary.
With arts and crafts, they learn to build, create and imagine. If they are struggling with a subject like math, they have tutors and mentors to help students along, and there’s also time for games and sports to practice teamwork and exercise.
With this new grant, Alaman is able to bring these after school programs to the Lakeview community as well.
“A few years ago this community was known for drug and alcohol abuse,” said Maite Cruz, a junior at Chiawana High School. “So a group of kids want to change that.”
Cruz has grown up in Lakeview, and she’s part of the ALAS group— Ambassadors of Lakeview Achieving Success. For the past few years this group of teenagers have worked to improve the community’s reputation.
"We’re participating with 21st Century — we’re collaborating together to make this community grow better and nourish more,” Cruz said.
With this grant and Alaman's help, Cruz said she looks forward to helping kids with homework, serving as their role model, and being the change she wants to see in her community.
“The fulfillment of knowing that you’re helping them grow as a person that’s just amazing,” she said.
If you’d like to learn more about the programs head to ESD123.org.
To find out ways you can get involved and help these communities contact:
Margarita Alaman, 21st Century Program Director:
Alisia Anguiano, Lakeview Site Coordinator:
Clifford Luebben, Tierra Vida Site Coordinator: