From the Executive Director
As reflect on the last few months, as well as during this season of gratitude, I continue to be humbled by our community’s resilience and strength, in spite of all of the difficulties that face us. We remain standing – seguimos parados – thanks to all of our program participants, friends, supporters, volunteers, staff, and partners. Without the help of important partners and supporters like you, this would not be possible!
On a daily basis the SHC continues to work in solidarity with our community, deeply impacting the lives of the Latino families and individuals that it touches through our core educational programs and community hub work, in spite of the new methodologies that we are having to use to reach our community. Last fiscal year we served over 19,000 people. This work was carried out through our three portfolios: Adult Education Programs, Youth & Children’s Programs, and Community Initiatives. It is important to note that much of this figure represents emergency response services that we were called on to provide during the pandemic, which all continue on today.
We continue to navigate the challenges that come at us, as a community that has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, as we navigate social and racial inequities, and as we work to strengthen our structure as a small and growing organization. We have done as the palm trees do – las palmeras – bending in the wind, but we do not break.
On behalf of our program participants, staff, and Board, thank you for believing in our vision of a Richmond that embraces each other in our shared humanity. That vision is now, MORE THAN EVER, dear and important, even while we are apart. And we look forward to the day when we can all be together again, in the safe, welcoming space that is Sacred Heart Center. In the meantime, please stay safe and enjoy the holidays. Please continue to social distance and to follow all health and safety guidelines, so that we can get through this together.
Gracias, de todo corazón.
Youth Programs Update
During the pandemic, our art program Casa Lapiz creatively and safely set up an exhibition with student work in one of our buildings. With these efforts we were able to support our young artists so that, despite adversities, they do not lose their passion to create.
Thanks to our alliance with NextUp we were able to offer this program virtually in the fall with some in-person classes.
The CCB program focused this semester solely on university access for high school students and was completely virtual.
CCB was divided into three main themes;
- Social / emotional and workforce development (comprehensive services, life and work skills)
- Post-secondary pathways
- Postsecondary Careers and Trades – College
This fall, thousands of families in our community were faced with the complexity of virtual school by having to offer spaces for fun and education to their children at home while parents worked full time.
As part of our Family Literacy model, our Pasitos Exitosos Program offers support to parents with a weekly Zoom session, along with educational and enrichment materials to take home, and additional pre-recorded videos each week for parents to do together with their children. Additionally, our Kids of the Corazon program supports families by offering help with homework to elementary school children, along with different educational and fun activities while parents take their classes with SHC.
Adapting to a new environment is always difficult, especially if you do not have a lot of support or do not understand the mainstream language.
Thanks to the Famigos program, we can offer Latino youth in high school, who are newcomers to the United States, a space where they can build community, engage in art, outdoor adventure, and high energy activities, and receive social, emotional, and mental health education and support.
Our Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Impact Statement is Here!
Did you know that we served more than 19,000 people in the last fiscal year? Click here for more details.
Year End Appeal
We are very grateful for the support YOU have provided during this difficult year. On behalf of the Sacred Heart Center family, we thank you for your generosity.
Our Year End Appeal will arrive in your mailbox in the coming weeks. We invite you to walk with us as we continue to serve our Sacred Heart Center community!
We are accepting all food items while also strongly encouraging foods that our community consumes:
Corn flour (maseca)
Dried or canned beans
Snacks for small children
Tea & Coffee
Other items we are accepting:
Personal Care Products (new, unopened deodorants, lotions, dental care, hair care, shaving needs, soap, laundry detergent/fabric softener)
Diapers (any size but we have extra need for size 4-6)
Feminine hygiene products
Paper & Plastic bags to distribute food
Cardboard Boxes to distribute food
Gift cards for students to buy school supplies or personal items, such as Visa, Target or Walmart
Mountable fans or pedestal fans to move air (please call for details)
Shades/blinds for our Southside building (please call for details)
Contact: Elaine Hinckle
804 230 4399 ~ email@example.com
Cena con la familia/ Family Dinner
In October we hosted our Cena con la familia/Family Dinner, and because of the help of our amazing challenge team and people like YOU, we raised just over 160K – 80% of our goal of 200K! For the rest of 2020, we will continue to work towards completing our goal be able to keep our programs running in support of our community.
If you missed the videos, and want to learn more about our work, they are available for replay here!
Adult Programs Update
The COVID pandemic and its complexities has shown us the need for virtual options for our academic programs, and we have responded. This semester, for our GED program we had approximately 60 students; for our ESL program we had approximately 70 new students. In spite of the challenges with going to virtual offerings, we have been pleasantly surprised to see students who are taking our classes from cities like Norfolk and New York, which are greatly expanding the reach and social impact of our programs in other communities. In addition, little by little our Bank of America funded satellite site at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church has increased our reach in the community, thus helping to attract new students who otherwise would not have known about or had access to our programs.
Taking into account that some of our students have no knowledge of how to use new technologies, our teachers and staff have offered computer literacy skills training to improve our students online learning, as part of the curriculum.
Our adult literacy program, Plaza Comunitaria, opens opportunities to members of our community, who unfortunately did not have access to basic education in their home countries. Now, with our welcoming program our students have the opportunity to complete their basic and secondary education, and to improve their literacy skills.
This semester we had a smaller class for our Spanish Conversational and Citizenship programs, respectively. For Citizenship, we were able to offer the class for some students in Northern Virginia, increasing our reach to other localities that don’t have access to an educational program to prepare individuals for the USCIS interview and citizenship test. The implementation of online methodologies has been a somewhat difficult process to carry out in each program, and our team has done excellent work. With the learnings we have experienced, we plan to focus on strategies for next semester that will grow our numbers of our students, as we continuously look to improve their experience.
We’re Looking for Volunteers for our Plaza Comunitaria Program!
Plaza Comunitaria is one of the programs offered at Sacred Heart Center for adult learners.
For Spanish-speaking students 18 and older who have not had the chance to get their high school diploma in their country of origin, who may not have had access to school, or who have never learned to read or write, this program starts at the level of each student to build upon the skills necessary for success.
This program is 100% in Spanish, and we are in need of volunteers who are fluent in Spanish (advanced or native speakers only) and who have had experience in teaching basic literacy skills.
“What has surprised me the most while being part of this program is that I have seen the joy in my student of being able to put two syllables together and be able to start reading, this not only impacts their life but also the life of their entire family.
It is a collective growth that influences each member of the family to fight for their goals.”
Maria Garcia, facilitator of Plaza Comunitaria
Please reach out to Sarah Chua at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in applying to volunteer.
We are looking for ESL Volunteer Teachers!
English as a Second Language (ESL) is the largest Adult Education program offered at Sacred Heart Center.
Because we are offering this class online, we need volunteers that have experience teaching ESL and who feel comfortable using technology to teach online.
If you have experience teaching ESL, can dedicate 4-6 hours weekly for class preparation and teaching, and are interested in supporting our mission at Sacred Heart Center, please contact Sarah Chua at email@example.com to apply.
Don’t have a teaching background? Contact us to find out about other volunteer opportunities.