For years, this blog has been encouraging the education of our Latino children. Exposing them new experiences, ideas and opportunities is not only our right as citizens of this amazing country, but it is our responsibility as good parents.
Our job begins at the moment of conception; our bodies are no longer our own and we owe it to our children to eat right, exercise, and get regular check-ups. When our babies are born we must be prepared to provide them with more than just love. We have to arm ourselves with the knowledge on how to care for them physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. We become consumed with cuddling, feeding, cleaning, doctor's visits, changing, sleeping, and much, much more. We have to become walking dictionaries, artists, nurses, coaches, nutritionists, mathematicians, scientists, fashionistas, mechanics, and audience.
For most Latinas, caring for a baby is second-nature. It's somehow programmed into our genes. Sure there are areas that many of us need to work harder at - like doctor's visits, vaccinations, and nutrition - but for the most part, we are superwomen.
But then the baby years end. And thus begins one area where Latinos are lagging just a bit behind. Latino children are the least likely to be enrolled in Pre-K or Kindergarten. That's not necessarily a bad thing in itself - provided that parents are working hard at home to prepare their children for school. The problem is that many parents are not aware of the myriad of ways to introduce their children to literacy, math, colors, shapes, critical thinking, and so much more. There is a growing number of web sites to introduce parents to these concepts, but few Latino parents have access to (or even knowledge of) these sites. For many, the language barrier is a major issue. So the goal of Mi Cielito Lindo for the next six months will be to share many of the resources in English and Spanish for parents seeking to raise curious, intelligent, compassionate, and logical children.
To successfully raise children who enjoy learning and commit to completing a college education, parents must be involved EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. We are our children's support system and we must learn to encourage, help, explain, cheer and listen. Our child's success is dependent upon us. The alternative is not acceptable.
Along these lines, I am also extremely pleased to pass on that Univision has joined with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch Es El Momento, a national campaign to improve academic achievement among K-12 Hispanic students. Special emphasis is being placed on increasing the number of Latino high school graduates and college preparation.
In the words of Melinda French Gates, "A great education is not an honor or privilege—it’s a fundamental civil right. This partnership with Univision will not only inspire Hispanic students and their parents and community to aspire to a college education, it will give them access to the information and tools they need to make their dream a reality. Education is the best way to expand opportunity for all. We can’t think of a better partner to work with on Es El Momento than Univision, which shares this belief in the power of education."