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Nashua gets a grant to create preschool programs for Latinos

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The city of Nashua has received a $10,000 grant from the United States Conference of Mayors to fund new family support programs at the Arlington Street Community Center.

The money will be destined to create workshops for caregivers and parents, such as classes on managing child anxiety, delivered in Spanish and Portuguese. There will also be English and technology courses and a much-needed translation service.

Para leer esta historia en español, haz clic aquí.

There are only seven annual winners for this national grant. In a press release, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess said it “will infuse needed services for our Spanish-speaking youngsters in the Crown Hill neighborhood.”

The strategies to serve Latino communities include neighborhood outreach near the Arlington Street Community Center. Megan Caron, director of the center, says they engage families to spread the word about offering pre-k readiness at no cost, something that helps some families tremendously.

“We offer everything for free to the community, so we really focus on marginalized youth and families,” Caron said. “In the last 10 to 15 years in Nashua, there's been an exponential growth of the Latino population and so our services and our response needs to change too.”

According to Caron, 41% of the students at the center speak Spanish. The staff works closely with other community agencies in the area to identify folks who cannot express what they may need because of a language barrier.

“Our community is changing, so our response to our community's needs should reflect those changes. Work on the local level matters,” said Caron.

One of Caron's objectives is to offer pre-k readiness programs to a community that has been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. She says they regularly see parents experiencing the anxiety of not knowing where to leave their kids while they’re at work. “We know how incredibly expensive preschool and childcare is,” Caron said.

To enroll in the preschool classes you can visit the Arlington Street Community Center

Corrected: January 27, 2022 at 4:33 PM EST
A previous version of this story said Arlington Street Community Center offers childcare instead of pre-k readiness. This error has been corrected.
Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.
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