WACO, Texas — Inspiración, which means inspiration in Spanish, is a non-profit organization that connects at-risk Latino families to the education system by helping foster parenting knowledge and skills that directly impact children's development.
The program began in 2018 helping about 40 families. This year they have 58 families enrolled.
Eloisa Cruz, the program specialist said the program hits home for her.
"I can really relate to these families moving here to the U.S. with my parents, you know we didn't have that connection to the community, we didn't know of a lot of resources that were available to us," Cruz said.
They offer classes for Hispanic families within Waco ISD who are either pregnant or have children up to 4 years old. They cover three different curriculums including, born learning, conscious discipline and children's learning institute.
"The first years of their life is the most important time for them and so we want to focus on that and make sure that when they do enter kindergarten or pre-k that they are ready," Cruz said.
They also connect families to organizations who have opportunities and resources available to them.
"We're investing in the next generation, which means we can't be short-term in the way that we put some of these programs, implement some of these organizations now," Benji Gomez said, the vice chairman, said. "We need to really be long-term."
Gomez said it's important to help Spanish-speaking and first generation families navigate the public education system, so they can break the cycle of poverty.
"We are being the facilitators and investing in a more knowledgeable workforce later, a more productive workforce later, which ultimately will translate into an overall diverse and rich nation," Gomez said.
When families go through the program, Cruz said she notices that they begin building a community and support group.
"It really makes me happy seeing families evolve and really help their children in their education careers," Cruz said.
Their goal is to expand the program and eventually become a national organization.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization switched to virtual classes in an effort to keep everyone safe.
Inspiración can enroll families throughout the year and people in the community can also refer families to them.
For more information, to refer a family, or to donate, click here.