Charleston County’s Spanish-speaking families are gleaning multiple benefits from Abrazos, the free literacy program housed in a local elementary school providing children with preschool activities while educating their parents in English as a second language.
While little ones connect over motor- and cognitive-skill enhancing play, mothers attain English lessons from experienced instructors, plus guidance on health and parenting — all free of charge.
The Charleston County School District (CCSD) operates the program at Midland Park Primary School in North Charleston, with the Abrazos program organized by Title I bilingual coordinator Celina Anthony, and affiliated parent classes coordinated by Virginia Vedilago of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Nursing Department’s Hispanic Health Initiatives.
When children and parents were evaluated after attending the program, many demonstrated marked improvements, with the youngsters deemed well prepared for their next educational milestones. CCSD expressed gratitude to Abrazos — and in particular Lydia Cotton, a local volunteer who has served as liaison to North Charleston’s Hispanic community, according to the Charleston Post and Courier — for the success of this year’s program.
Abrazos is largely funded by CCSD Department of Federal Programs, spokespersons stated on the CCSD website. The school district's Abrazos program will resume in September. Interested families may contact Celina Anthony at 843-937-6495.