Florida International University’s FIU-ENLACE program provides engaging and fun after-school STEM, literacy, fitness, and social-emotional learning activities for 255 children who are English Language Learners (ELL), at risk of failing, struggling readers, and children with disabilities enrolled in the 2nd – 5th grades (depending on the needs of the school community). The after-school program serves children residing in Miami-Dade County and living in low economic areas of Fontainebleau/Sweetwater, Doral, and West Kendall.
The goal of FIU-ENLACE is to make reading, fitness, and social skills engaging and fun by incorporating digital learning, small and whole group guided literacy instruction, teacher lead homework assistance, and educational lessons that appeal to the different learning styles. Children who reside in the areas of the following elementary schools are encouraged to apply: Charles R Hadley Elementary, Coral Park Elementary, EWF Stirrup Elementary, and Kendale Elementary.
ENLACE, which stands for Engaging Latino Communities in Education, in addition has a six-week summer camp held at FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing. The program, supported by The Children’s Trust, gives fifth-grade to eighth-grade students a safe space to explore what they want to be when they grow up, while nurturing in them a love of STEM.
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“I feel as if I am changing the world by impacting children in a positive way,” Francisco Fins, Administrative Director.
When Fins first started the camp, he only had one class of students, but FIU had a vision to grow the summer program to provide the college experience to a variety of children from different areas. At the time, most camps tended to specialize in one area. In two decades, ENLACE has expanded to teaching critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, leadership, technology and college prep.
ENLACE was first launched in 1999 with a five-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In 2005, ENLACE partnered with The Children’s Trust.
“Making sure that all children in Miami-Dade County have access to valuable after-school and summer programs are among The Children’s Trust’s highest priorities and partnering with stakeholders like FIU and its ENLACE Program ensures that we support Latino communities in those areas of need,” said James R. Haj, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust.