Monday, September 01, 2014

Inspiring Latino youth at MANOS | Mountain Xpress

Inspiring Latino youth at MANOS | Mountain Xpress: The years spent in middle school and high school are challenging for most youth. But for Latino youth, who are often the children of recent immigrants, the challenges can be overwhelming. Many Latino families face isolation due to language and cultural barriers, and many times these Latino middle- and high-school students serve as the connectors between their family and the community.

Norma Brown, the Latino Outreach Coordinator for Children First/Communities In Schools and students from the Bonner Leader Service Learning program at Warren Wilson College collaborated to create a new program called Mentoring and Nurturing Our Students. The name MANOS also refers to the Spanish word for “hands.” The program strives to offer Latino youth a safe and welcoming space, and it available to Latino students in eight grade & high-school students every Monday from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Each week Warren Wilson students lead the Latino youth in community and civic engagement activities, assist them with homework and help them prepare for college.

Along with the academic component, this program offers something much more subtle, and in some ways, more valuable: providing Latino youth a place to relax from the pressures and expectations of being a conduit between their families and the greater community.