Today is Día de los Niños, a traditional Hispanic celebration of children and the role of young people in our communities that is now enjoyed in the United States. At NCLR, we’d like to wish all children a happy Día de los Niños and highlight the exemplary work of Para Los Niños (PLN), a member of the NCLR Affiliate Network.
PLN is a nonprofit community organization that has helped thousands of children and families in Southern California succeed in school and in life. The dedicated staff at PLN do this by helping children overcome the various barriers—such as stressful family environments, unstable housing, and hunger—that can impede their education and long-term success. Their services include early childhood education, elementary and middle schools, family support and mental health services, and youth workforce development services.
Senderos is a PLN parent engagement program at the heart of the organization’s mission to close the achievement gap among children age 14 and under, particularly those who are English language learners and live in chronic poverty. The program recognizes the vital role that parents play in ensuring their children’s success, offering high-quality education and integrated support services as well as parent engagement efforts. By supporting parents, PLN is building leaders and agents of change for children and communities across Los Angeles.
This work has reached beyond education to help children maintain good health by partnering with NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health. Senderos developed a parent-to-parent training model in which parent leaders learn how to implement NCLR’s healthy shopping program, Comprando Rico y Sano, so they can share what they have learned with other parents. Parent leaders who have been trained as lay health educators, began providing nutrition workshops this year. Through this model, parent leaders teach their peers how to shop, prepare, and serve themselves and their children healthier foods.
Carolina Barahona, an intern at Para Los Niños, supports parent leaders as they share nutrition information with other parents in their communities. When asked about her work with the Comprando Rico y Sano program, Carolina remarked, “One thing that comes to mind is the amazing network that parents have among each other. Through their engagement with one another and with PLN, they are always looking out for their children. The programming in this area has led parents to become advocates for their community and for their children, not only within schools, but also throughout the community.”
As we celebrate children today, we salute the work of Para Los Niños and all those who are committed to making the future brighter for our young people!