El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services
Friday, March 24, 2023

Listos - We're Ready to Learn

The fall routine at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services includes recruiting members for our mother-child education program called ¡Listos! Some new participants are referred through community connections like neighborhood friends, El Buen Pastor Church, or Old Town Elementary School, but our staff always saves room for new faces. When school begins in late August we hit the pavement, searching for mothers at home with babies and preschoolers. With their eyes peeled for tiny sneakers beside the mat, strollers, and other signs that toddlers are in residence, our staff members knock on doors of apartments within walking distance of El Buen Pastor with one goal in mind—to find isolated young mothers who can benefit from the social connections and learning opportunities at ¡Listos! to prepare their little ones for future school success.

Lili smiles when she remembers how timid she was when Francia Cacchione came knocking one year ago. “When you first came to my door, I didn’t know who you were and didn’t want to open the door. I had no idea that so close to me was this program with so much support available to people like me.” She is delighted with how much her daughter learned in Ms. Francia’s class, and with the knowledge she gained herself from the adult group. Prior to joining the program, Lili rarely talked with adults other than her husband, but she soon came to call her classmates her friends. She became such a valued member of the group that, at the end of the nine-month program, Lili was selected by her new amigas to be their class spokesperson at the graduation ceremony.
Lili’s involvement in our community didn’t end with ¡Listos! She joined our adult English class and this summer took part in the Farm Fresh Healthy Living Program where she learned new ways of preparing fresh produce for her family. This year mother and daughter will take part in the Más Listos group, continuing to expand their horizons, deepen relationships, and prepare for kindergarten.

Director of Family Literacy Erika Stewart is excited about the new cohort of women and children who are coming to us this fall. During the most recent neighborhood canvassing expedition, as a guarded young mother cracked the door open to hear what Erika and Francia had to say, Erika saw a small hand reach around the doorframe at the height of the mother’s knees. Erika could only wonder about the hidden little person attached to that reaching hand, and hope that the child’s mother can overcome her shyness to open up new doors for them both.