Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: July

9 of 10 scholars will be entering high school this fall. All received a serape sash, with their high school graduation class, symbolic of the support El Centro de La Raza will provide these scholars.

Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program & Federal Way Totem After School Program, 8th Grade Promotions!

Since the beginning of 2021, families of the Totem After School Program and Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program have been participating in the ‘Padres Preparados’ workshops series. The workshops provide an opportunity for interaction among different households to create a support system while navigating the middle school years. Understanding that the success of our students is reliant on intergenerational support, the workshop models also build family members’ skillsets such as joining Zoom meetings and understanding the cultural capital they instill in their youth. Workshops are offered twice a month, with the second workshop, titled “Si Se Puede: Roadmap to College” offers caregivers a deep exploration of the pathway towards college. At the end of the series, participants will earn a certificate of completion for their dedication.

The Workforce Program and the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program

Isabella*, who is of Purépecha descent, has always been interested in the history of maritime. Working on boats has always piqued her interest. Through El Centro de la Raza’s Workforce program, Isabella is part of the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program, which the Youth Maritime Collaborative offers. Isabella, whose parents emigrated to the US from Mexico, says the program has given her opportunities to go outdoors and have hands-on learning within the maritime industry while understanding the professional side of maritime and giving her the chance to improve her technical and marketing skills. She wants to be a role model for other girls and women in her community. Isabella hopes to encourage them to pursue higher education or find opportunities that they may think are unavailable. She plans to go off to college herself to pursue a degree in architecture this fall. Isabella is very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program and hopes that these opportunities continue to be available to youth in our community. She believes El Centro does everything possible to ensure that all people can fully participate regardless of language limitations.

*Name has been changed for privacy

Our System Navigators Supports Family Through the Record-breaking Heat

Janice* and her family of 6 live in the Renton area, they were without AC or a fan during the hottest day on record, Monday, July 28th, 2021. Through El Centro de la Raza and our System Navigators, we were able to provide them a $200 Visa Card to cover basic necessities and buy a fan. Our navigators continue in contact with the family to provide them guidance on various programs and assist with meeting their basic necessities.

*Name has been changed for privacy

The future is Latina! Two Federal Way Open Door graduates with their regalia proudly representing their familias & connection to El Centro De La Raza.

High School Scholars & Their Diplomas!

Despite this past year being full of challenges, our scholars at Truman Campus stayed focused on their goals towards graduation. We saw tremendous growth in our scholars as they navigated through this school year; their hard work and perseverance paid off. It was an honor for our team to support scholars along this journey and help prepare graduates for a successful new chapter as they transition into higher education. Congratulations to the class of 2021. We hope success will keep following you in everything that you do!

Youth Job Readiness Training

Finding a job can be a challenge for youth. They must determine what careers are available, their interests, and their skills or need to develop. Another problem among youth is the lack of skills, experience, and education that make them eligible for the workforce. The Youth Job Readiness Program is tackling these two problems with a solution: training youth about competent job training, financial literacy, internship placement, and academic support for future education. The program runs through the Business Opportunity Center and recruits 15- to 20-year-old high school students to attend a year training course. In addition to technical courses, the program teaches students networking and presentation skills and project development.

This year has been a success. Despite the pandemic, we learned how to be together in a virtual setting. Every Wednesday, we had the opportunity to share not only knowledge but also emotional support. In addition to that, students also receive field training at partner organizations. As part of their training, one group this year will be building a boat with the Center of Wooden Boats through Launch 206. One student has already finished her internship with the Port of Seattle for a consecutive year, and another one is working with Seattle Goodwill. Also, a group of students is doing their internship with the Consulate of Guatemala and a different one with El Centro de la Raza. Thanks to these internships, some organizations are providing them stipends for its completion and school credits.

So far, the program has succeeded very well in one of its goals: to help youth find employment. Most of our graduates now have jobs or are attending college, a remarkable achievement for our program. Graduates have found jobs in a variety of fields, from construction to customer service. We are happy to see our students enjoy the knowledge and assistance that we provide and how much we can learn from them. As the number of students willing to explore the employment experience grows, the program will support the community. We will continue to have more success stories that show the importance of this program and the help to our beloved community.

A Message of Success from our Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program

Hello everyone, this is Ileana with Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program, also known as; (YMPEP) for El Centro de la Raza. This is our Success story.

“Our Culture and our Familias”.

El Centro worked with a mini Grant from the KC YMPEP where we had an opportunity to work on an educational project on Marijuana/Cannabis prevention. We worked with Liz and her team Karla and Mimi and had a wonderful turnout. The young scholars are from the Totem Federal Way after School Program & Plaza Roberto Maestas after School Program students– Combined Programming.

Take a peek at one of our modules.


“Food is sacred for our familias. Recipes are often passed down from generation to generation without thought, it becomes an unspoken tradition. Just as important as the meal, is the conversations held around those meals. For many of our familias, the pandemic has created food insecurities. Many of the meals families once enjoyed have been modified to adapt to what is available within budgets or even from food secured through food banks. To help nourish our families and continue traditions, El Centro De La Raza’s middle school programs in collaboration with Marijuana/Vape Youth Prevention programming will host a week-long cooking session for scholars to learn, cook and converse with their own familias. As part of the unit, youth will first learn about the dangers of marijuana consumption and the challenges that substances have on their development. Through these first sessions, youth will gain talking points to share with their family and reinforce their own understanding. Scholars will then plan a menu for their families based on a curated option from program leaders. Through creating their menu, scholars will practice soft skills of learning steps in following a recipe and learning units of measuring. Scholars will also receive a drop off of ingredients and food staples to create the meal together at the end of the week.”

Scholars have cooked their meals, invited their families to enjoy the meal, and discussed information learned at the beginning of the week. They were very proud. Through this project: the young Scholars were able to support food insecurities, practice soft skills, and learn about marijuana and vape prevention.

Tomando Control de su Salud

Alejandro* recently completed the Tomando Control de Su Salud offered through our Senior Program. He says that the class taught him the difference between good and bad cholesterol and how to control his body. He tells us that the program has helped him change his eating habits and portion control. He thanks the program coordinator Flor for her hard work and the interesting books she provided.

*Name has been changed for privacy