IMG_2069The El Camino (The Path) Children’s Program provides weekly bilingual school-based, after school programming and a summer camp to Latino children to assist them in developing their assets, and positive attitudes and behaviors in the areas of self, family, and community.  The purpose of the program is to develop healthier and stronger children who will be less vulnerable to negative influences and behaviors in their adolescence.

El Camino serves as a compliment to the formal learning process, helping to improve school success while increasing the children’s awareness of education and staying in school. Weekly after-school cultural support groups are provided to Latino children, ages 5 to 11, at area elementary schools throughout the school year. These groups present a bilingual and bicultural violence prevention and intervention curriculum, which help children to develop specific skills to improve self-esteem, develop practical skills, strengthen their capacity, and build resiliency for lifelong success. The small groups implement a tailored curriculum that focuses on self-esteem, re-enforcing positive conflict resolution and peacemaking. These topics are presented in an age-appropriate and culturally-competent manner and are followed with concept-building activities designed to build a specific skill or asset. The groups not only help Latino children build skills and assets but also provide a supportive, nurturing environment where the children can explore their cultural heritage, maintain or improve their Spanish language skills, and establish nurturing relationships with program staff, parents, volunteers, and teachers.

An El Camino Story:
The second and third graders at one school were known for being difficult to control and were divided in cliques. Program leaders worked on engagement, group spirit and self-esteem, helping kids understand that beauty is inside; not represented by physical appearance. That helped girls reconnect among themselves, but the boys continued to be a challenge and one boy was still isolated. By observing him and the other boys, and talking to some students, it was discovered the boys were reacting to his color choices in art projects and his hobby of origami. Two classes were committed to teaching origami, making different projects and ensuring that every student enjoyed it. Girls were encouraged to choose a wider variety of colors to illustrate that colors are not exclusive for boys or girls. After these efforts, the class was cohesive and happy and celebrated with a piñata!

Themes explored in El Camino include:

Myself

  • Feelings and Emotions
  • Self-esteem
  • Body Image
  • Talents
  • Personal Pride
  • Personal Values
  • Finding Peace in Oneself

My Family

  • Physical Dwelling
  • Family History
  • Family Traditions
  • Family Values
  • Peacemaking in the Family

My Community

  • Community Celebrations
  • Contributing to the Community
  • Community Values
  • Peacemaking in the Community
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