Chavez foundation housing communities do more than offer a positive, safe living environment. They strengthen neighborhoods and help residents improve the quality of their lives and break the historic cycle of poverty. Full-time service workers and part-time volunteers accomplish these aims at each property through on-site service centers.

Si Se Puede Learning Centers. Located within each housing development, these signature after-school programs supply structured educational services for school age residents from grades K through 6 during the high-risk hours after school lets out. Every day, children attend classes and participate in group activities focusing on building their academic skills through homework assistance, literacy, math, science, creative learning models and access to technology. Kids also partake in other enrichment activities that build leadership and self-esteem, and encourage community involvement through service learning with their own Cesar Chavez curriculum entitled "Educating the Heart."

These programs operate Mondays through Fridays during the school year and summer months. They seek to boost students's confidence in learning, increase school attendance and provide and coordinate a team environment, including a working relationship with local teachers and schools. It is aimed at supporting each child's success in learning and improving their grades in literacy, math and behavior. Although achievement results vary, overall 78 percent of students improve in reading and literature, 83 percent improve in math, 72 percent in behavior and conduct, and 75 percent in school attendance. More than 800 children are served annually.

Si Se Puede Learning Center programs are operated in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, which sponsors Cesar Chavez Fellows at 16 sites. The fellowships support AmeriCorps volunteers who live and work on the site with residents during their year of service with poverty populations as well as help recruit volunteer mentors from the surrounding communities. While aiding property residents, Chavez fellows receive extensive training and develop their own leadership and professional skills preparing them for careers in serving people.

More than 450 part-time volunteers have been recruited from local communities served by the housing projects to mentor children, assist them with homework, manage the technology labs and help with classroom management. The volunteers have donated more than 15,000 hours of service and established a junior and senior high school volunteer program called SHYNE (Students Helping Youth Nurture Education). In return, teenage SHYNE students get help in tutoring and guidance, applying and interviewing for jobs, access to computer labs and participation in workshops to plan for college, obtain financial aide and prepare to take college entrance exams.

Click here for information about opportunities to become a full-time Cesar Chavez Fellow or a part-time volunteer at a Si Se Puede Learning Center for children.

Senior Spirit, Mind and Body. The Chavez foundation's first housing community, completed in 1974, was the nation's first home for retired farm workers, the Paulo Agbayani Village for elderly and displaced Filipino American field laborers outside Delano, Calif. Since then, the foundation has built and is managing several housing communities in California and Arizona to help very low-income seniors keep active and healthy. They offer a range of on-site services meeting tenants's special health, wellness and social service needs through a project called Senior Spirit, Mind and Body.

Seniors are engaged in organizing their own events and activities, including health fairs, dances and bingo. There are guest speakers, movie nights and educational workshops on independent living. They have opportunities to give back and participate in community affairs. Each senior home also provides computer classes in an on-site computer center. There has even been an appearance by seniors on the "Tu Salud" (Your Health) syndicated program broadcast over the Chavez foundation's three-state Radio Campesina radio network. More than 300 seniors are served daily.

Click here for information about opportunities to become a part-time volunteer with a Spirit, Mind and Body Senior project within a Chavez foundation housing community.



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