El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A New Reality

February 2015
 
There’s lots of talk these days in public policy circles about “two-generation solutions” to help families escape poverty. The idea is that past efforts to break the cycle of poverty met with limited success because they focused separately on children and their parents, rather than on both generations together. Common sense and research both tell us that children’s trajectories are impacted by their parents’ education, health, and economic stability, and that parents are motivated by their dreams for their children’s future. Regardless of income level, family members gain motivation to succeed from each other, and they tend to soar or sink together. We discovered this at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services a decade ago when we found that children who were struggling in school received only limited benefit from our elementary tutoring unless their parents were also involved in our programs, a requirement we have since put in place. For younger children, our parent-child education classes lead mothers to discover new ways of enriching their own lives while preparing their babies and toddlers for future academic success. And our healthy living initiatives are based on the understanding that good nutrition and exercise habits are family matters.

The above notion of two-generation solutions to socioeconomic disparities takes on additional layers of meaning when we consider immigrant families. A typical El Buen Pastor family is headed by two working adults, at least one of whom was born in Latin America, and includes children who were born in the United States. Although some of our adolescents were brought here as babies, most of our tutoring students are second-generation immigrants. American history shows that if an immigrant family—from any country of origin—achieves middle class status by the third generation, successive generations of that family will prosper as well. Conversely, if an immigrant family remains in poverty for three generations, it is likely that their children and grandchildren will remain in poverty. That’s why our mission with families is critical!

This newsletter acknowledges those who, in 2014, contributed financially to our mission of helping Latino families equip themselves for a bright future. We hope you will see that we are good stewards of your gifts. Although we operate on a shoe-string budget, just like our families do, we invest our financial resources in the most important asset available to us—relationships. We are in the relationship business because we believe that life trajectories change when people join together to build a better community. And we are grateful for each one who dreams with us of a better future.

Rosa Miranda, Board Chair                                                Mary Bolton, Executive Director