May 2021
In this issue: End-of-Year Celebrations, Anímate Summer Academy, ESL Volunteer Spotlight, Resource Distribution, LaAmistad Annual Gala
Afterschool Locations Punctuate Extraordinary Year with Joyous Celebrations
Students at LaAmistad Afterschool locations throughout Atlanta received a long-awaited dose of normalcy this month, as the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year brought in-person, end-of-year celebrations to several afterschool sites. Having worked online with their dedicated volunteer tutors for the majority of the year, students were thrilled to finally connect with the friendly faces from their virtual tutoring sessions in real life.

Students and their families were invited to celebrate the perseverance and academic drive they so bravely displayed in the face of unprecedented uncertainty. With the help of location staff, community partners, parents, and volunteers, students enjoyed an afternoon of food, games, and fellowship sorely missed after a distant year.

"I didn't know you were so tall!" remarked one student about the volunteer with whom he logged multiple times a week for tutoring sessions this year. LaAmistad is hopeful that it will be able to welcome volunteers back at each of its afterschool locations this fall.
LaAmistad ESL Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Greg
A skilled teacher and dedicated volunteer, Greg Willis began serving with LaAmistad ESL in the fall of 2020. For Greg, helping LaAmistad's adult ESL students improve their English fluency and take the next step in their lives has been merely the latest act of service in a decades-long history of donating his time for the benefit of others. "Although my career was not in teaching," Willis remarked, "ESL instruction has always held a warm place in my heart." Teaching Level 4 and Advanced classes, Willis' deep connection to his classes and belief the mission of LaAmistad ESL has led his students to achieve some exciting results during his time with the organization. "When I heard about LaAmistad and teaching (online) via Zoom, I jumped at the chance to help out." Read more about Greg and his experience as an ESL volunteer below!

What gives you the drive to put in all those hours?

Learning another language is a brave task to undertake. It would be far easier for the students to simply not go on this long learning journey. But they want to experience a wider world for themselves and their families. As a native English speaker with some ability to teach, I feel a responsibility to help them on their journey -- even though they are the ones doing most of the work.

What, in your view, are the main benefits of the LaAmistad ESL Program?

I think the fact that the classes have low cost takes away a lot of the barriers that some students can face. The active involvement of the administration -- both with the instructor and the students -- sets a engaging and welcoming tone that carries through to the classes. And the students themselves work at their learning and really want to be in class.

Is there a student (or students) in your class who made progress that surprised you? 

I had one student in my class for the winter session whose progress always surprised herself. She would adamantly insist that she could not learn a particular grammar or vocabulary. But whenever quizzed on the topic — either informally in class or on a test — she would answer perfectly. And each time she would be amazed at her progress. But she put in a lot of hard work, so her success was no surprise to me. 

Want to help adult learners improve their English fluency and change their lives? Sign up to be a LaAmistad ESL volunteer teacher for Spring Session! Use the button below to get involved!
LaAmistad's Anímate Summer Academies Prepare to Welcome Students in June & July
Given the potential for less than optimal outcomes as a result of the now-easing pandemic, LaAmistad's upcoming Anímate Summer Academies will be among the most critical in its history. Summer is also a time when families need the most support since the school community is closed until the fall. Each June, LaAmistad, The Westminster Schools and St. Martin's Episcopal School partner together to help continue the academic success of LaAmistad students. This year, LaAmistad is proud to be operating a third Anímate Summer Academy at Peachtree Church in July to help students retain their academic progress and have a memorable summer camp experience. Find schedules for LaAmistad's Anímate Summer Academies below!
June 7th - July 1st
Monday - Thrusday
8:45am - 3:00pm
June 1st - June 30th
Monday - Friday
7:30 am - 2:30 pm
July 6th - July 29th
Monday - Thrusday
7:45am - 2:00pm
Tickets and Sponsorships for LaAmistad Annual Gala Now Available!
Support our Heroes September 25th, 2021
An elegant evening of dinner, a silent auction, and celebrating community heroes is set for September 25th! Join us at the Four Seasons Hotel as we celebrate the amazing people making a difference in Atlanta's Latino community. Purchase your tickets and sponsorships below, and help us celebrate the heroes of our community!
Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
September 25, 2021
Cocktail Reception: 6:30 pm
Dinner: 7:30 pm
LaAmistad is Hiring!
If you’re interested in providing underserved students educational opportunities and enjoy the fast-paced world of nonprofit work, we’d like to meet you! We offer a vibrant team governed by a set of steadfast core values: Kindness, Excellence, Passion, Teamwork, and Perseverance.

Join us as we strive to fulfill our mission to prepare Latino students and families for success through academic and life-enrichment programs. Use the button below to see more of LaAmistad's available employment opportunities!
Resource Distribution Continues as Pandemic Restrictions Ease
With new guidance from the CDC this month regarding mask-wearing and social distancing for vaccinated people, the light at the end of the tunnel for those dealing with Covid-19-related hardships has never been brighter. While many of us are eager to get back to pre-pandemic life, there remain a litany of ongoing challenges facing LaAmistad families. Food insecurity continues to plague several of the communities in which LaAmistad operates, and as such, food and resource distribution continued this month with help from deeply committed partners like Compassion Kitchen, Second Helpings Atlanta, and Urban Recipe. LaAmistad is immensely grateful to these and other local organizations that have helped its families weather the storm of lost wages and economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.
Dollar General Literacy Foundation Awards Grant Funds for Multiple LaAmistad Initiatives
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded LaAmistad a $21,500 grant to support adult, family, and summer literacy. This local grant is part of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s recent award of $10.5 million donation to support summer, family, and adult literacy programs, representing the organization’s largest one-day grant donation in its 28-year history.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports organizations that increase access to educational programming, stimulate and enable innovation in the delivery of educational instruction and inspire a love of reading. Each year, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards funds to nonprofit organizations, schools, and libraries within a 15-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer, and youth literacy programs. The Foundation also offers a student referral program for individuals interested in learning how to read, speak English, or prepare for the high school equivalency exam. Referrals to a local organization that provides free literacy services are available online here or through referral cards found in the Learn to Read brochures that are available at the cash register of every Dollar General store.

Since 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $197 million in grants, helping more than 14 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. Cal Turner, Jr. founded the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to honor his grandfather and Dollar General’s co-founder, J.L. Turner, who was functionally illiterate having dropped out of school in the third grade to support his family. The Foundation aims to provide support to schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations that seek to improve adult, summer, youth and family literacy initiatives.

Click the button below to read more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
Success Spotlight: Field Trips Return with High Museum of Art Outing
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