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Language Not a Barrier for Hispanic Parents Looking to Help Children Succeed in School

CHICAGO (November 2, 2005)—For Hispanic parents, nothing is more important than family. But although research shows a direct link between parent involvement and a child’s educational success, some Hispanic parents have reported that they aren’t used to being involved in their children’s schools. Now, despite language barriers and time constraints, Hispanic parents are breaking ground and finding it easy to get involved and, in some cases, join PTA.

Not speaking English doesn’t stop Aurelia Carmona, 40, Mission Viejo, California, from attending meetings or being involved. “My PTA [Glen Yermo Elementary School PTA] translates some materials and meetings,” said Carmona, “but I would still go even if they didn’t translate anything. It’s that important to me because I see how positively it affects my children. Just the fact that I’m at the school makes a difference to my children and motivates them to do better.”

Some Hispanic parents, like Maria Purata, 39, Los Fresnos, Texas, make time in their schedules on a week-by-week basis. “The language barrier is one thing, but we can’t use lack of time as an excuse. There is always time. We have to organize and plan our week,” said Purata, who finds time once a week to visit her daughter’s school while at the same time working toward a General Education Degree and helping her husband run a family business.

Other Hispanic parents are trying to break old-fashioned mentalities. “My husband and I are trying to break out of the Latino way of thinking for our daughters, which is ‘growing up, getting married, and having kids.’ That’s not the way I see it. We want our daughters to go to college and have careers,” said Mireya Manzo, 32, Mission Viejo, California.

To help more Hispanic parents like these motivate their children to do better in school, PTA is making available the Three for Me program—a simple way for parents to support their children’s education in the classroom and at home. By helping three hours a school year, even the busiest parents and families can help their children succeed and school environments improve.

“What’s great about the Three for Me program is that it’s in Spanish and you only need three hours for the whole year. Any Hispanic parent can do that,” said Rick Mendiondo, a National PTA board member.

Three for Me hours can be completed at home and in the community. Every parent can fulfill the promise—by helping his or her child review for a test at home; by helping the school prepare for an open house, fundraiser, or festival; or by having lunch with his or her child at school.

“There are 13 million Hispanic school-age children in the United States, and our goal is to have more and more parents benefit from PTA resources so that children succeed and learning environments improve. Parents need to get involved and help in order to accomplish that,” said Mendiondo.

To request a free Three for Me brochure and promise card, please call (800) 307-4782 or visit PTA Three for Me. PTA has Spanish-speaking operators to help parents learn more about the program and to explain how parents can join a PTA.

About Three for Me, a program adopted by National PTA
Three for Me is a promise from a parent to a child and a promise from a parent to a school. By signing a promise card, a parent promises to volunteer three hours of his or her time to the school on behalf of his or her child. Three for Me program resources, tips, and ideas are available at PTA Three for Me.