Helping Children with Limited English Proficiency to Surmount Educational Barriers

What if all children in our after school program graduate from high school.

Photo of Centro Comunitario Hispano-Americano
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

Emily was a student in third grade when she was referred to us because of her academic failure. She had recently come from Texas, where all her classes had been taught in Spanish. She participated in Homework Club two afternoons a week, and in fifth grade was able to be a "junior tutor"; and to be on the A-B honor roll at school. Because of Emily's story, we aspire to deepen and broaden our program.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Hispanic, Latinx, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • North Carolina

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Brevard, NC

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • North Carolina

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Brevard, Pisgah Forest, and Rosman, NC

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Drop out rate of Latino children in our county

We will expand the scope of our after school homework assistance program, from that of helping with homework to being a comprehensive program of support and intervention for students and their parents, so that they can surmount the language and cultural barriers they face. 

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Education

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

We have 15 elementary school children from Spanish-speaking households who are referred by their teachers, because of language and math deficits. They are transported to El Centro and receive one to one instructional assistance from volunteer tutors two days a week, after school. Tutors and administrators communicate with teachers and parents regularly, in order to maximize the effect of our efforts.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In ongoing analysis of individual report cards, and in consultation with teachers and parents, we have learned that 80 percent of the students receiving after school assistance made satisfactory academic gains in the past year. In addition, reports of parents and teachers have shown that students have enjoyed positive relationships with their tutors, and show increased confidence in their ability to succeed in school. Anecdotally we have observed improved relationships between parents and students, which contributes to their confidence and their improved performance.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $10k - $50k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We will continue our fundraising efforts as follow: writing grant proposals, building positive coalitions with churches, sending an annual letter of request for contributions, and recruiting volunteers who also make financial contributions.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

In our county, we are the only organization that provides academic enhancement assistance for Latino students with limited English proficiency. Our program responds to the Latino students' unique need of having to adapt to a different culture and language. Even those students who are born in this country face the added challenge of negotiating the expectations of their parent's culture and that of their community and school.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

We understand that students' success in school is not singular or linear; it emerges from comprehensive and complex factors in a child's environment. The following are shifts in that environment that would advance children's wellbeing: More support from state legislature for public schools; family support such as paid family leave, parent resource centers, home visits for first time parents; promotion of active lifestyles for families, including promotion of outdoor activity; family education and support for prevention of childhood obesity.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)

United Way of Transylvania County

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 33.3%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 33.3%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 0%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 33.3%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 0%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 0%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 33.3%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 0%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 66.7%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 0%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 66.7%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 33.3%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 0%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 0%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 50%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 50%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 0%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 50%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 100%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Michael Auerbach

I'm curious to learn more about the "junior tutor" aspect of your programming. Empowering children to empower others could be a great innovation point.

Photo of Centro Comunitario Hispano-Americano

Hi Michael,
our program is only forElementary School kids. Thanks for your question.  

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