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Centro Latino for Literacy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Education, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: Founded in 1991, Centro Latino for Literacy creates innovative solutions that transform lives through literacy. We provide educational opportunities to those who have not had the benefit of an education. Our goal is for the 2 million non-literate Spanish speakers in the U.S. to be able to learn to read and write. By doing so, they will have the opportunity to become proficient in Spanish and English; improve their quality of life; enjoy economic stability and improved self-esteem and confidence; participate actively in their communities; understand how to learn; and impact future generations by passing on a tradition of learning.

Target demographics: adult literacy

Direct beneficiaries per year: approximately 1,000 adults

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles

Programs: Spanish literacy classes that teach non-to-low literate adults reading, writing, and numeracy skills.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

My introduction to "Centro Latino for Literacy" began approximately 3 years ago when I met CLL's CEO, Mari Riddle for the first time. The passion and determination she and her staff have brought to the organization are unlike anything I've seen before! Centro Latino's mission is to transform people’s lives through the power of literacy and no other organization does it better. Although I am a Board & Committee member now, I started out by volunteering in their classrooms where I witnessed first hand the empowerment that they provide on a daily basis to individuals who truly need it the most. My Bank, Manufacturers Bank also saw the impact on the Community and wanted to contribute. My hope is that more and more companies, foundations and organizations will get to know us at Centro Latino so that we can bring transforming lives to a much larger number and continue the mission for years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of meeting and assisting this wonderful organization for a month,
I was astonished to find out the large number of individuals who are unable to access opportunities because their inability to read or write. Seeing the smiles of those who recently graduated from their programs remind me that the human spirit is full of hope. Centro Latino for Literacy is providing services in an area most people take for granted. Literacy should be a human right! BRAVO!!

Donor

Rating: 5

Centro Latino for Literacy is a great organization with a significant mission to educate a segment of the population that many do not know exist and in many cases they do not care about.

Centro Latino builds breaches by teaching adults from very low-income populations, who may only speak a dialect, to read and write, with the ultimate goal of learning English, so they could succeed in life and become financially stable.

Centro Latino performs its services with respect, efficiency, and love. We need more Centro Latino for Literacy in the United States.

Rossina Gallegos

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am a new member of its development committee, and as an educator, it has been a distinct and truly gratifying pleasure to be engaged with an organization that is transforming thousands of lives through literacy right here in Los Angeles, and beyond.

I visited one of the classrooms filled with working class adults mastering the task of reading and writing simple sentences. The pride of these students and their instructor was palpable. The experience was humbling. It reinforced my admiration of the deeply important work Centro Latino is doing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for Centro Latino I have had the pleasure of working with students hands on. When I walk into the classroom I see a room filled with students dedicated to learn and who put their best efforts day after day. What I admire about the center are the educators that work for the center. The teacher I assist comes prepared and on time each day of class. She not only helps her students within the walls of the classroom but she also gives them tools to take with them beyond the classroom. My experience with the center has demonstrated that they have teachers who are passionate about their work and their students' futures. Adding to the center's educators are the staff who do all the behind the scenes and make the center be what it is today. Since the first day I walked in to be a volunteer the staff was nothing but excited and grateful to have me be a part of the community. They also take the time to walk into the classrooms and say hello to the students and show interest in the work/progress the students are making. Centro Latino is a place where a community is built in an effort to provide a better life not only for the students but their families as well.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am extremely grateful to Centro Latino for Literacy for the work they do serving a community that most don’t realize exists. Not only does the organization improve the personal lives of the adults they teach for the better, but also the lives of their families and the communities in which they live.

AnaMaria R.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was a Board Member first and then in 2008 joined the team to launch a County-wide Literacy Campaign in Los Angeles. I am proud to continue being part of the mission to help non-literate Spanish-speaker adults learn to read and write, while also gaining confidence to use the computer. For me the issue of non-to-low literate is personal, my grandparents did not go to school and my Mom only got to 3rd grade and started working at age 13. According to the 2011 American Community Survey; there are 1.6 million non-literate Spanish-speaking adults in the U.S. - over half a million in California - who cannot read and write in either Spanish or English.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm a proud former board member of Centro Latino. Simply put, their work is changing lives. I can only say that this organization is amazing.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Beyond its work in LA--and the further reach of its online "Leamos" program--Centro Latino should be recognized for taking a national leadership role to advance literacy opportunities for adults. Several years ago I came to know Centro Latino when LA was selected by the US Department of Education for a series of "Great Cities Adult Education Summits," along with literacy teams from NY, Chicago, Houston, and Miami (my team). Since then city team leaders have worked across state lines, with Centro Latino representing LA, to prepare issue briefs and lay the foundation for a long-term research agenda that will address the intensive adult literacy needs of urban areas. I've been impressed with the organization's professionalism and dedication to long-term literacy solutions, and I applaud President Mari Riddle, VP AnaMaria Ruiz, and the rest of the staff for their work in both "Great Cities" and "Great Nonprofits."

RichardKoffler

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was a board member of Centro Latino for many years until a few months ago my work commitments prevented me from continuing.

Supporting Centro Latino's "sacred" mission is a labor of love and dedication. While billions are spent nationwide to combat English non-literacy, Centro Latino is the only organization that serves Latinos who are by and large ignored and often vilified.

For those of us who take for granted the privilege of being highly educated, it is almost impossible to imagine the burden that non-literates bear in trying to get ahead in a foreign country that speaks a foreign language, and that often looks at them without sympathy or empathy.

I cannot find the words to convey the depth and breadth of Centro Latino's "magic", its hugely innovative computer-based teaching methods, the dedication and passion of its staff, the incredible results it gets -- all on a shoe-string budget that astonishes outsiders.

msarg

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure to work as a volunteer at the Centro Latino for Literacy. This organization serves non-literate adults at the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Centro Latino for Literacy is a great organization because they transform the life of many non-English speakers by teaching them how to write and read in their native language. Therefore, these new skills allow them to obtain greater opportunities in life such as learn English, strengthen or obtain new work skills, and to adapt better into the American society in which they live. Is without a question that this non-profit organization not only contribute to enhance the life of the students and their families but also contributes to social justice and the success of future generations in their community. In addition, the staff in this non-profit organization is always friendly, satisfies the individual necessities of the students and are well aware of the transcultural differences of the population they served. The staff at Centro Latino for Literacy is truly committed to support and help to the students' success.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The services Centro Latino for Literacy provides has transformed many lives. Learning to read & write has given many the confidence they never had and the ability to speak and be heard.

Literacy = Empowerment.

Darville D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was living in Los Angeles for two years and during that time I knew about Centro Latino and its inspiring work. The first thing that motivated me was the possibility to work with Latin-American people, because I´m from Chile and I know what are the needs of my continent and if I can do something, I’ll do it. The second thing was the opportunity to work with adults but especially with women because most of the non-literate or low-literacy people are women. And the third thing was the marvelous team work of Centro Latino: they are very professional, committed and creative. Also they have a great internal organization and all the time they are looking for resources that can support their students.
Specifically I performed different roles within the organization: I was a Literacy Instructor for the Leamos™ Basic and Grammar courses, elaborated a student’s characterization report and advised on the Leamos™ Grammar Curriculum and guidance material for volunteers.
This experience was very meaningful for me and it was a great professional and human learning. Thank you CLL!!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Volunteering with Centro Latino was a great learning experience and an invaluable opportunity. I was able to develop my communication and teaching skills. My personal development happened alongside our adult learners, who are devoting their time, energies and great efforts to overcoming non-literacy.

Initially, it was a mildly-uncomfortable beginning because I was unsure as to how I could contribute and assist in the classroom. But throughout the months, I began to develop a feel for tutoring, especially with the guidance of the fabulous literacy instructor. With her tremendous support and innovative ideas, I was able to better tailor my strengths and abilities, hence my services to help our adult learners achieve their personal and academic goals.

I will admit that volunteer training/orientation needs improvement, because in my experience, I felt that the instructor had too much responsibilities in addition to getting their lesson plans ready for the students. In other words, without the assistance of 'more experienced' tutors, a new volunteer tutor might feel intimidated or confused about their role in the classroom. But like most things in life, it is a developing project, that I hope will get better with time and insights.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer at Centro Latino, I get to see first hand the fantastic work this organization does. The teacher I assist in one of their literacy classes is excellent, and I've had the pleasure of seeing a class of adult learners become literate and the pride and joy they feel because of that. Centro Latino provides a much-needed set of resources to the underserved community in MacArthur Park. It continues to be a great pleasure to volunteer there!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a past board member of Centro Latino for Literacy (CLL) and currently volunteer on their Marketing committee. I also work with CLL as they are an affiliate member of the non-profit organization I work for, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). I have been connected to CLL for over three years and I am very impressed with their work especially knowing how much they do with a tiny staff. CLL offers a unique service to a population that is often overlooked by funders and the philanthropic community: Adult Spanish speakers seeking to become literate. Not only does CLL illuminate lives through literacy, they are pioneers because they are also bridging the digital divide by using a web-based program. Through their work, they incorporate immigrants into the mainstream by removing the barriers that come with not being able to read or use a computer. The staff of CLL is also highly visible in circles that are working on immigrant integration, workforce development, education, and financial literacy where they work to make Adult-literacy a focus for these topics. Their tenancy to make Adult Literacy a priority in the funding community is impressive.