Hispanic Leadership Initiative Update - August 2016

Hola Amigos y Familia!

I just wanted to send you, my ministry partners, a quick update this month, so that you may know how to pray for me these next few months. The preparation for the Early Learner’s Readiness program is underway at New City Fellowship-Glenwood and at New City East Lake! Before starting my HLI Apprenticeship at East Lake, Pastor Pickett asked me to consider being the ELR program Coordinator for this Signature YMCA program. Our local YMCA and New City East Lake have strengthened their partnership for many years through their free after-school program, ELECT, which serves the children of our local Latino population. I agreed to the job since it fits within our church’s vision to be a multicultural church. I have seen God use these programs to bless these families and also to bring local families to our church. The program I coordinate aims to specifically serve caretakers and children of our local immigrant communities and our impoverished communities. The children from these communities tend to fall into an academic achievement gap, far behind children from the middle-class or from primarily English speaking homes. 

However, the parents of the local Latino community recognize the benefits that their children gain through our partnership programs. As soon as I ask families if they know about our after school program, ELECT, or "clases de tuteria en New City” as the Latinos call it, then they are quick to ask about registration for ELECT’s limited placement. Many families want their children to have a spot in ELECT, though sadly, it cannot always be given. I am glad to say that so far, the community has responded positively towards the ELR program buzz and that we have had people excited to sign up. I am also glad to see that our ELR staff is excited to bring this program into the community and also to seek opportunities to share about our faith, something our YMCA Director has encouraged us to do. Please pray for us as we begin this new program and please continue to pray for growth here in Chattanooga.

Con la Gracia del Senor,

Evangelina Castillo

(An ELR Teacher and I standing beside the bilingual ELR sign outside New City East Lake)