By Mary Murrell, CILA Volunteer
Education is recognized as a key to breaking the cycle of poverty for families. Some poor families have lived in poverty for generations and education has been sacrificed so young children can work to bring in money. For single mothers, the situation is especially difficult because they need to work but do not have a safe place for their children to stay.
Centro Infantil de los Angeles (CILA), a nonprofit in Colonia Santa Julia, targets mothers and children to help break the cycle of poverty. First, working single mothers have a free, safe place for their children to stay. Their children have an opportunity to learn with dedicated teachers, and have food, clothing, and school supplies.
Children from two months to six-years-old attend the programs (when there is no quarantine) and CILA can accommodate 170 at a time. Careful screening ensures the families qualify for the daycare and preschool programs, and mothers are expected to help by donating some of their time to CILA each month.
Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has shown children who have attended quality preschool have better social, emotional and academic skills when they are teenagers and adults. They also found attending preschool leads to staying in school longer.
A very impressive aspect of CILA is the impact they have achieved. CILA students score above average on standardized tests while in the preschool program. In addition, 10 classes of children who graduated from the program were followed up when they were in primary and secondary school. They had higher averages than other students on measures of achievement.
Teachers at CILA responded to the pandemic by providing, three days a week, online classes for the children, delivered by computer, Smartphones, basic tablets, television, or hard copy assignments. Older students were able to graduate on time and will enter public school with confidence and skills they learned at CILA.
Please consider the impact you can have on a child’s life by contributing to CILA programs. There are many single mothers with monthly family incomes as low as USD$100. CILA makes it possible for them to work while their child gets a good start on a path out of poverty.
In-person classes resume at CILA on August 30. If you want to support this outstanding organization, there are many ways to help. Volunteers can teach art, music, and English to the children or help in the daycare center. You can sponsor a child for a year in the preschool program and receive monthly progress reports. You can donate toward operating costs of CILA.
For information about CILA go to www.centroinfantil.org and our Facebook page.
If you are interested in visiting or volunteering, contact Mary Murrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.