Transforming Lives Through Digital Skills: A Visit to Acero Schools

This year during the 2023 UnidosUS Annual Conference: The Power of US in Chicago, our Affiliate Acero Schools opened their doors to us. We had the privilege of speaking to the mothers who are participants in the Digital Skills for Life (DS4L) program. Their stories reflect the transformative impact of this initiative on individuals and families alike.

The power of continued education can never be underestimated. It has the potential not only to change the course of an individual’s life but also to uplift entire families. This profound truth was beautifully encapsulated by Acero Schools Parent and Community Coordinator, Araceli Lara, as she described the success of the Digital Skills for Life program: “an experience that not only changes the life of an adult but that of a family.” Her words resonated deeply with the core philosophy of the DS4L program. It’s not just about learning how to use technology; it’s about equipping individuals with the digital skills needed to meet the demands of work, school and life.  For Acero’s parents, the skills taught by the program prepare them to assist their children with homework, arrange video calls for remote learning, and organize their children’s appointments using a calendar app. 

Established in 1998, Acero Schools comprises a network of 15 tuition-free public charter schools serving the Hispanic community in Chicago. They offer DS4L classes in multiple locations as part of their parent engagement programming. 

During our visit to Acero Schools, we had the privilege of speaking with mothers who are active participants in the DS4L program. Their stories illuminated the tremendous impact that gaining digital skills can have on individuals and their families. These mothers have noticed a remarkable change in their children as well. Excited by their parents’ newfound digital proficiency, their kids are not only proud of their parents but are also inspired by the commitment and determination they have shown in acquiring these digital skills.

One mother said: “[My son] is very proud of me after he saw all that I learned because I help him more now with his cell phone.” You can see their testimonies below:

This ripple effect is exactly what UnidosUS and DS4L aim to achieve. The DS4L program is not just about technology; it’s about empowerment, opportunity, and the transformative impact it can have on individuals and their families. It’s a testament to the power of education and the commitment of organizations like UnidosUS to create a more equitable world for all. 

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