Santa Maria Community Services Expands Help To Hispanic Families
Santa Maria Community Services, a Cincinnati nonprofit organization serving the west side, has been helping families with various challenges with educational tools and resources to help themselves for 116 years.
Many of those who have benefitted have been of Hispanic heritage, and the need for Santa Maria services has never been greater.
According to the 2010 census, the Hispanic population grew by 4.2 percent in West Price Hill, 12.3 percent in Lower Price Hill and 6.9 percent in East Price Hill. In the 45205 ZIP code, only 24 percent of children under 5 are enrolled in preschool or childcare programs; instead, children of immigrants are more likely to be in the care of family, friends or neighbors.
Santa Maria’s programs help bridge the gap between recent immigrants and important educational and developmental resources. More than 95 percent of the Hispanic families served by the organization’s Promoting Our Preschoolers (POP) enroll their children in preschool and are committed to finding the best schools for their kids.
Now, with a $127,000 grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Santa Maria will be able to serve an additional 40 Hispanic children, many of whose families have immigrated from Guatemala and live below the poverty line.
The new bilingual home visitor will work with POP and another agency program, Family Child Care Providers Network (FCC), that connect parents and caregivers to preschool and kindergarten programs, early child development resources and ongoing peer support. The home visitor will work specifically with the increasing Spanish-speaking community in Price Hill, an initiative that represents the first organized effort in Cincinnati to reach the Hispanic child-care population.
In 2012, Santa Maria’s POP program served 196 children ages 3-5 and 218 parents and caregivers, comprising white/Caucasian (including Latino), African-American, multicultural and Asian clients. Hispanic children enrolled in the POP program increased their Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning (DIAL) scores by 14 percentile points.
The FCC Providers Network has served 50 providers and 150 children in the past year; 45 of those children also have been involved in a kindergarten-readiness project.
Through home visits, Santa Maria staff members also connect parents and caregivers to resources such as English classes, financial literacy classes and health education.