In the Spring of 2000, Bill Maness, Recreation Director at The Gym at Peachtree, noticed a group of Latino children getting off the school bus across the street from Peachtree Presbyterian Church. He learned that these children had parents who spoke little to no English and could not help them with their homework. He invited the students to come to the church for after school tutoring and invited their parents to come for English as a Second Language classes. A year later, LaAmistad was born.
Today, LaAmistad serves 75 students and 40 families on a daily basis, helping the students achieve their highest academic potential through its after school program and helping parents better communicate with their children through its parent educational initiative. LaAmistad is more than a community program; it is a source of comprehensive support for families that for various circumstances do not have the means to attain their highest degree of success.
Cat McAfee, Director of LaAmistad, tells us about the substantial impact of the organization on the participating families: “LaAmistad families love the program because they receive so much support. We act as advocates in the school when needed and assist the parents in communication with the teachers.”
LaAmistad’s programs have led to measurable results. Participants have received a total of 32 school-sponsored awards in various academic subjects and 15 middle school students in the program participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Conference where they learned about future educational and leadership opportunities. Twenty-five Latino parents have learned to read, write and speak English in order to better equipped to attend to their family’s needs.
LaAmistad participated in one of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check Ups in December and since then the organization has been matched with volunteer attorneys Leticia Alfonso of AT&T and Rupert Barkoff of Kilpatrick Townsend. Leticia is reviewing LaAmistad’s client application and liability waiver forms and Rupert is drafting a license agreement for other organizations to implement LaAmistad’s model in communities nationwide.