The AFE Initiative...
...was designed to combat education inequality in low income communities. Artivism has been working on our AFE project since our founding in June of 2020. We've been focusing our work specifically on the Latino community in Trenton: offering academic tutoring and arts workshops to students, fundraising for classrooms and nonprofits, and raising awareness through showcases. So far, we've completed two different projects under the AFE initiative: Talleres De Verano and Holiday Harmonies. Our current project is called Building Bridges.
WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN TRENTON
A K-12 education is the bridge to a child's future. It provides them with the means to obtain a high school diploma, a college degree, and a career. Many low income Latino students in Trenton are not able to make the most of their K-12 education for a variety of reasons.
One of the problems we've noticed is the language barrier. Many of the students in the community are immigrants, and thus, have weak English comprehension and speaking skills. The implications of this in the classroom are catastrophic. Students zone out because they cannot understand their teachers. Teachers, with lack of resources and material that needs to be covered, are often left with limited options to help as well.
Another problem we've noticed is a lack of parental support. Many of the parents in the low-income communities work from morning to night and are unable to provide the oversight that some students require. Additionally, many of the parents do not have sufficient English skills themselves, limiting the amount of academic aid they can provide their children. This problem is exacerbated by COVID 19, as parents are burdened by unemployment.
Another problem exacerbated by COVID is the sense of isolation. This problem is largely as a result of the language barrier as well as COVID circumstances. Many of the students already feel isolated, given that they have come to a new country with limited contacts and little knowledge of the language or culture. With COVID in place, they also have limited opportunities to receive more interaction with other students and this new environment.