SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) has posted an article about a unique tech support program run by university graduates to help low-income and colonia families in the Rio Grande Valley.

The graduates are part of the College Scholarships Leadership Access Program (CSLAP), a nonprofit that hosts college access workshops at Valley high schools and provides near-peer mentorship for graduating students.

The mentors are providing computer, software and technical expertise to families served by ARISE Adelante, a grassroots organization that promotes empowerment through education. That expertise can be conveyed via telephone conversations or Zoom meetings. 

Celina Moreno

San Antonio-based IDRA connected CSLAP with ARISE when it learned parents were having difficulty helping their children navigate virtual classrooms while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

“We are proud that ARISE is again innovating to help close the digital divide in a region facing some of the most troubling challenges with access to internet and computer devices,” said IDRA President and CEO Celina Moreno.

IDRA has developed an Education CAFE network and ARISE is part of it. CAFE stands for Community Action Forums for Excellence. The goal is to improve collaboration between schools, families and communities.

“Education CAFEs support the leadership of parents, grandparents, siblings and neighbors – all of whom are critical custodians of children academic success,” Moreno said.

Lourdes Flores, executive director of ARISE, said she appreciates the help of CSLAP.

“At difficult times we are faced with all kinds of challenges,” Flores told IDRA. “We cannot sit back and expect that we cannot involve ourselves. Our children need our support, creativity and leadership to provide the assistance they need to succeed in school. It’s time to make connections, build bridges and combine forces to make our community thrive.”

CSLAP executive director and co-founder Thomas Ray Garcia said he and his team are happy to help the staff of ARISE and its members understand the technology being incorporated in virtual learning.

“When communities work together to educate their children, we all prosper,” Garcia told IDRA. “Connecting CSLAP mentors to families has enabled students’ distance learning to continue unabated during these trying times.”

Editor’s Note: The IDRA article on ARISE and CSLAP was penned by Aurelio Montemayor, family engagement coordinator at IDRA. Click here to read it.

Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian recently hosted Zoom conversations with ARISE and CSLAP. Click here to watch the Zoom conversation with ARISE. Click here to watch the Zoom conversation with CSLAP.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows a graduation ceremony for students that participated in an ARISE summer education program.

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