Three-year program helps bilingual students communicate and engage

A unique after-school program tutors, helps with homework and teaches wellness to bilingual elementary students.  

"Social emotional learning is helping children manage their behavior, calm themselves down. Be able to recognize their behaviors," said Friends and Amigos program manager Mary Torres. 

The students at Reddick Elementary School are taking part in a Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services program that provides tutoring and homework assistance, yoga, and behavior classes for kindergarten to third grade bilingual students.   

"When kids are having really big emotions," Torres said, "they’re able to tap into their skills for learning. Which are ears listening, voices quiet, body still, listening ears." 

The initiative has 60 participants from two Hillsborough County schools – Reddick Elementary in Wimauma and Robinson Elementary in Plant City. 

“It's really important for them to be able to have that long term -- over the course of three years -- continuity of care after school,” Torres continued.

Students and parents both are learning from the effort. "We're able to bridge that gap, communicate with the family, engage them around their children learning.”

The three-year program is sponsored by the Children's Board of Hillsborough County. 

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