Assisting Latino Families from Dayton Catholic Schools

As the Latino population continues to grow in the Dayton area, many Latino families have enrolled their children in Catholic schools.  Several of these schools have a partnership with the Urban Child Development Resource Center (UCDRC), a program with the Center for Catholic Education at the University of Dayton that works to support a healthy learning environment in schools.  Family Advocates from UCDRC have embraced the challenge of learning about the culture and resources available to Spanish speaking families and have connected with numerous community partnerships as well as with Mayra Alza, the Coordinator for Latino Outreach at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, in order to assist families.

Image of Marya and a young man with bicycleOn May 8, 2013, seven families from Immaculate Conception, Mother Brunner, and Mary Queen of Peace Schools participated in a Latino safety event held at Immaculate Conception School (ICS). Sponsored by Dayton Children’s Medical Center (CMC), sixteen children learned about car and seat belt safety, bicycle safety, and pedestrian safety. They were also given information about laws pertaining to the use of car seats in Ohio and learned why it is important to use them.   

A much appreciated highlight of the evening occurred when every child thirteen and under received a brand new bicycle and helmet! In addition to fourteen bikes and helmets, four booster seats were given away.  

Dayton Children’s has a special grant to provide safety education outreach to Spanish speaking families in the Dayton area. Staff members from CMC, UCDRC Family Advocates Michelle Sherman and Pam Halter, and Mayra all worked together to coordinate the day’s activities. Mayra was instrumental in making the safety event a huge success by personally inviting families, translating flyers, and interpreting the event for those in attendance. 

A resource table was provided by CMC and UCDRC with all resources available in Spanish. Several teen guests assisted with translations throughout the evening.

Latino outreach has become such an important topic that Michelle, Mayra, Karyn Hecker, Principal of ICS, and Rosario Osnaya, mother of students at ICS, presented their work at the Catholic Education Summit on July 12, 2013. Their presentation focused on understanding the Latino culture, learning about community resources to assist Latino families, and Roasario’s personal account of experiencing life in the United States.

Event photos