April 6: Letters to the editor

Unicorns in Del Mar?

Kudos to the City of Del Mar and the City Council for their transparency in posting the newly released feasibility study for a private police department on the City’s web site. Here is the link:

http://www.delmar.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/2837

I am neither supporting nor opposing the idea of a private police force, only pointing out the rare instance when our elected officials do something right. Now that I’ve seen good corporate governance I’ll return to my search for Bigfoot.

Craig A. Nelson

Solana Beach

Just another after-school program?

In Spanish, “casa” means “home,” but I’m sure many of you know that. What you probably don’t know, is what Casa de Amistad provides for children and families in our community. It is a second home built by mentors who help students reach their potential.

Casa de Amistad (Casa) was formed in 1997 to improve the literacy skills and academic achievement of at risk children and teens in coastal North County San Diego. Since then, Casa’s mentoring program has grown from serving three students on the first night to over 230 children, teens and their parents annually. Through my involvement with the Del Sol Lions Club, I have been fortunate enough to volunteer for Casa on multiple occasions and saw firsthand what a substantial difference they make in students’ lives, both academically and personally.

I am a public relations and advertising student at Chapman University and last semester I was assigned a project in my statistics class that required me to collect and analyze data. Math has never been my best subject, so I figured if I was going to be invested in this project, I would have to report on something I cared about: Casa. With the help of Nicole Mione-Green, Casa’s director, I digitized and analyzed 185 parent and 143 student surveys from the 2014-2015 academic year.

The goal of my research was to quantify Casa’s effects on its members to definitively determine if it was actually helping at risk students. After eight weeks of recoding and analyzing the survey results, I had my answer.

I found that Casa truly was helping underserved students. In fact, 70 percent of Casa’s parents do not have higher than a middle school education and 59 percent of them live below the national poverty line. For the parents of Casa’s students, education is one of the most important things in life and they do all they can to help their children succeed.

Casa recently implemented a Parents in Action program which gives parents the opportunity to learn positive parenting strategies, attend programs addressing community needs and leadership training. Because of this, I looked into parents’ effects on students’ academic outcomes. The data showed that in addition to Casa’s tutors, getting parents involved in their children’s education through this program yielded an immense increase in students’ academic performance.

Overall, my research proved that Casa’s mentoring program has a significant positive influence on student’s academic success, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Moving forward, I hope to do more research to determine how to improve the program so Casa has the means to help as many students as possible.

To be a part of this incredible nonprofit organization, you can attend their annual fundraiser to benefit Casa’s students on Saturday, April 8, at the Fairbanks Country Club. You can also donate or apply to volunteer to be a mentor by going to their website: http://www.casadeamistad.org/.

Katie Page

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