Spring 2023 Update

New Year, New Semester!

On Tuesday, January 12th, we welcomed back 150 Las Casas students for the start of our Spring semester. 80% of our students returned from last semester - a record number! We also welcomed many new students and currently have a waiting list for most of our classes. 

Our amazing volunteer teaching staff has been hard at work prepping for the semester. We have held two training sessions to give our teachers the opportunity to collaborate and idea-share with their colleagues. The sessions focused on how to better integrate computers into our lesson plans as well as how to best incorporate learning stations and small group work into our classrooms to ensure greater student interaction.

We did it!

Goal Surpassed!

This year we held our first ever End-of-Year Campaign. As you may know, Las Casas only charges our students a fraction of the overall program costs, so we truly depend on the generosity of our community to ensure our programming continues. We are happy to report that we raised over $18,000 during this campaign - surpassing our $15,000 goal! Thank you to all who contributed and supported our students. As a way to celebrate and mark this amazing accomplishment, we presented our students with brand new pencil cases that came filled with much-needed school supplies - pencils, erasers, a sharpener, post-it notes and N95 face masks.

We also want to acknowledge and thank our many Institutional supporters that fund Las Casas. These funders ensure our growth and continued success serving our students. Many of these funders have been by our side since our founding in 2002! The support of these organizations is absolutely critical to ensure the long term sustainability of our programming.

Much appreciation to:

The Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose Foundation, Cristo Rey de la Salle, Gellert Foundation, Hilton Foundation, O'Dell Foundation, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation and the Wilcox Family Foundation.

Community Building

Las Casas works with local community organizations to ensure our students and their families have access to the many resources and services they need to build a better life here in Oakland. A vast number of groups in our Fruitvale neighborhood offer vitally important services including medical and health services, legal and immigration services, educational opportunities, youth services, food distribution, COVID-19 services, and more.


In the Fall of 2022 Las Casas hosted our inaugural Community Fair, bringing together various groups to better serve our student community. We plan to hold these events bi-annually, with our next Fair set for May 1, 2023. Community organizations have the opportunity to present and disseminate information about their services and answer student questions. For our second fair, we hope to feature summer opportunities and activities for our students and their families.

We’re proud to partner with the following organizations:

La Clinica / Casa CHE, Centro Legal de la Raza, Cristo Rey de la Salle East Bay HS, Spanish Speaking Citizens' Foundation, East Oakland Collective, Oakland Catholic Worker, Oakland Public Library - Cesar E Chavez Branch, Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California, Peralta Community Colleges, Saint Elizabeth Elementary School, Street Level Health Project.

Computers in Action

Computer Literacy classes are up and running again at Las Casas! Our goal is to provide our students with the basic computer skills they need to function and be successful in their day to day lives. Many students have had little to no exposure to computers -- most just have smartphones. In our computer classes, we provide exposure to computers with time to practice guided by our trained teachers.

Our computer literacy classes are integrated into the curriculum. Students get to practice language concepts and vocabulary they have previously learned with fun, interactive computer games and drills. From job applications, to rental contracts and helping their kids with homework - computer skills and literacy is essential to navigating our world today.


Volunteer Spotlight:

Meet Lance

Two nights a week you can find Lance Littlejohn engaging his students and leading his team of assistant teachers in the Beginning High class at Las Casas. Lance joined the Las Casas family 8 years ago after retiring from the business he owned with his brother for 27 years. So far, Lance has contributed an amazing 750 hours of volunteer time at Las Casas!

Lance loves working with his fellow volunteers in the classroom, developing deep friendships as they serve together. He also cherishes the relationships he has with his students. Of all his volunteer activities, it is his work with Las Casas that he values the most: “My students are dealing with issues I cannot even begin to imagine, and yet, every night they show up with a smile on their face, ready to tackle one more obstacle on their life journey, and they demonstrate courage, hope and fortitude. I am so grateful to know them, to be inspired by them and to be part of their journey."

We are blessed to have Lance as one of our longest term volunteers. He continually goes above and beyond - dressing up as Santa and leading carols at the holidays, sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow teachers at our training sessions, and helping to raise funds for our program to ensure our sustainability. We (and his students!) are so thankful for his dedication to Las Casas and our mission.

Advisory Board News and Thank You

We want to give a shout-out to our wonderful Advisory Board, whose counsel and guidance has been crucial in ensuring our continued success as we enter our 3rd decade! Special thanks to Steve Wilcox and Jim Wood who recently stepped down from their board positions. We are grateful for their service and counsel supporting Las Casas.

We're thrilled to welcome new members to the Advisory Board as well -- Janet Wilks of Cristo Rey de la Salle HS, and Walner Diaz, Las Casas Program Assistant.


As always, please forward this update to family and friends who might be interested in learning more about our work. We are always looking for supporters to help in a variety of ways — both in the classroom or through financial contributions

For more information on how to get involved, email us at: info@lascasasoakland.org!  

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Las Casas |  lascasasoakland.org

info@lascasasoakland.org | 510-842-3070 

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