Zonta Club of Yakima Valley
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Zonta Service Dollars at Work in the Community

La Casa Hogar YakimaIn January of 2007, La Casa Hogar in Yakima received a $2,550 local service grant from Zonta supporting their mission to empower Hispanic women through education and preparing their preschool children for school.

This project has greatly benefited the La Casa Hogar organization and its participants. The new curriculum and training will enhance children’s, readiness for kindergarten and prepare parents for greater involvement in their children’s learning. Additionally the staff in the children’s learning center will continue their professional growth and development. The Children’s Early Learning Center provides a safe learning environment for the children of women who are attending classes at La Casa Hogar. While at the Center, children are cared for as well as engaged in enriching, developmentally appropriate learning activities. Here, children 2 to 5 years of age are taught and cared for using a hands-on curriculum, that prepares the children for preschool in the Yakima School District, as well as includes and empowers mothers as active participants in their child’s education. Children in the Learning Center gain a basic foundation in reading, science, and math in both Spanish and English as well as learning classroom behavior, self-discipline and cooperation skills in a preschool-like environment. Children are evaluated, based on a set of learning outcomes. All skills measured have been identified as important for preparedness to enter kindergarten.

With the assurance that their children are well-cared for, women have had the opportunity to further their education and improve their lives by learning English, health and nutrition information, acquiring computer literacy, parenting, and/or driving skills, and earning their GEDs, all of which lead to increased confidence, participation in their children’s education, and greater economic independence. Mothers also learn important parenting skills, child development information, and how to be their children’s advocate in the public school system. The Children's Program Coordinator holds parent-teacher conferences and evaluates children before and after every trimester. The conferences are a teaching tool for mothers, enabling them to acquire confidence and important communication skills necessary to effectively interact with their child's teachers in the public education system.

La Casa Hogar YakimaMothers enrolled in ESL and other classes serve as "teacher assistants" in the Children's Learning Center where they gain skills and confidence in relating to the teacher and develop an understanding that they are their child's first and most important teacher. Mothers participate and learn what the child is learning, why it’s important, and how to replicate the activities at home. Mothers also acquire important parenting skills and child development information resulting in improved relationships with their children and the development of healthier, more successful kids.

A La Casa Hogar Success Story

Maria moved to Yakima eight years ago with her husband, a new mother who spoke no English. In the midst of trying to adjust, and now pregnant with her second child, a nurse referred her to an organization that might be able to help her. “I went [to La Casa Hogar],” says Maria, “and could tell right away that it was what I was looking for. It was something different from the house where my children and I could learn.” Maria started out taking English classes, and has since taken computer classes and participated in the frequent seminars. For four years, she has been a faithful participant in La Casa Hogar’s programs, and is about to begin a session of cooking classes.

Her children have benefited greatly from their mother’s involvement. While attending classes and sessions, Maria’s children have each participated in the Children’s Early Learning Center. They learn the letters of their name, their ages, how to clean up and wash after themselves—and especially love to sing. With this head-start, Maria says, “They learn faster and are very advanced when they start preschool at Epic. It’s easy for them.” She’s noticed a great improvement in what her children have learned since her eldest son first started to the present day: “The teachers are always getting better, and the children are always learning more.” Without the Early Learning Center, there would be no other place where both she and her children could learn what they have learned at La Casa Hogar. And they love it: “My daughter cried when she had to go to kindergarten—but she was completely ready for it!”

Thanks to the project sponsored by the Zonta Club, services to women like Maria have continued provide vital skills and resources for adapting to life in this valley, raising healthy children, and empowering oneself. Maria’s story is not an exception, she says: “We are a community. We all benefit.”

Learn more about the work of La Casa Hogar at their website


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Zonta Club of
Yakima Valley

311 N. 66th Avenue Yakima, Washington 98908