Now that school’s back in session, so is Solana Beach’s Casa de Amistad. The nonprofit organization provides educational mentoring and tutoring services to underserved children and teens in preschool through 12th grade.
“We are excited to start the new school year and a new year at Casa de Amistad,” said Nicole Mione-Green, program director of Casa de Amistad.
By the end of last year, Casa de Amistad had 200 volunteers serving 200 students. Other than the students who graduated from high school, every student returned to participate in Casa de Amistad’s after-school program again this year when the program started on Sept. 13.
“It’s wonderful, but it also means that we have to continue to recruit and get more and more volunteers,” said Melissa Farrell, program manager of Casa de Amistad.
In an effort to foster the education and character development of underserved children in coastal North County San Diego, Casa de Amistad works closely with local school districts. Students come from the surrounding school districts of Solana Beach School District, Del Mar Union School District, Encinitas Union School District, Cardiff School District, Carlsbad Unified School District and San Dieguito Union High School District.
“The children that we serve are at risk in that they come from economically-disadvantaged families,” Farrell said. “The mentors are able to really help academically but also help the students socially and emotionally through their mentorship.”
Casa de Amistad needs at least 200 volunteers again this year, Farrell said.
The organization’s goal is a 1:1 student-to-tutor ratio for participants in kindergarten through sixth grade. Middle school and high school students meet in small groups on a variety of subjects.
There are currently more than 60 students on the waiting list.
“We are in need of volunteers who have a heart for working with children and teens,” Mione-Green said. “We are looking for volunteers who are interested in reading with a child all the way to volunteers who can do high school math and science.”
Casa de Amistad is seeking volunteers who can work with students for an hour and a half every week for at least one semester, but preferably through the school year. High school students with at least a 3.0 GPA are also encouraged to apply but must be 14 years and older.
Students meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays during two sessions from 4:15-5:45 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.
Students work with their mentors on homework during the after-school program. If there is time after they complete their work, students read or do other educational activities.
“Volunteers can choose whichever session works best for their schedule,” Farrell said. “They choose the session that works best and the age group that they want to work with. We match them up with a student that matches their preferences.”
In addition to the program for school-aged students, Casa de Amistad has a program for preschoolers. Parents are also heavily involved in the leadership of the organization.
“We bring the community together to create really positive interactions and help students achieve their goals academically and to make them the future leaders of the community,” Farrell said.
For more about Casa de Amistad, call 858-509-2590 or visit www.casadeamistad.org. To volunteer, contact Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.