October 14, 2008 | Education
National Council of La Raza, National Urban League Develop Afterschool Program with Thinkfinity.org
On Oct. 8, the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League announced plans to develop an innovative, afterschool education program that will rely on resources provided by Thinkfinity.org. The new program is funded by Verizon Foundation grants and will target the needs of minority, bilingual and multicultural students.
The organizations announced their plans at CentroNía, a multicultural learning center for children and families in Washington, D.C., which will be a pilot location for the new program. A CentroNía teacher led students through a Thinkfinity.org activity to demonstrate the many free resources available and show how technology increases educational opportunities.
"For today's students to gain the valuable educational base they need to succeed, learning cannot end when the school day ends," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "Every moment presents a learning opportunity, and after-school programs must capitalize on their time with students to engage, educate and inspire them to excel."
During the academic year, CentroNía's before and aftershool program serves children ages five to 12, and its youth development program reaches 12- to 18-year-olds. The center also provides technology training to children, parents and other adults. Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) donated the building that houses CentroNía in 1995.
The organizations supporting the afterschool education program are joined in their mission to educate children and prepare them for economic independence in the 21st century.
The National Council of La Raza is the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., working to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans through community-based organizations. The National Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.
"While education is a universal need, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution," said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza. "For a student to reach his or her full potential, educators both in and outside of the classroom must continue to strive to find unique and compelling ways to reach today's students."
"Quite simply, too many of our youth fall through the cracks in our educational system," said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. "Nationally, approximately 50 percent of African-American students earn high school diplomas. More must be done to reach these students, and the Thinkfinity.org after-school program will provide a tremendous opportunity for students to become excited about education."
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