Nueva Esperanza Preschool works to prepare immigrant and refugee children from the indigenous Guatemalan Mam culture, ages 3-5, to enter U.S. schools at the Kindergarten/First Grade level with at least average levels of expected knowledge that will enable them to receive and benefit from the curriculum in kindergarten. The school was awarded one of sixteen grants for $1000 each, sponsored by the UCC Humanitarian & Development Ministries (One Great Hour of Sharing) and the UCC Keep Families Together Campaign.
Mirtha Ninayahuar: “Thank you very much for awarding the grant for our Nueva Esperanza Sunday Preschool. It’s such a blessing to receive the grant. Here (at left) are some of our preschool students with their Easter bags that Skyline Church assembled for them. With the grant, the preschool volunteers will work with the children on the English language, early literacy concepts, early math concepts, and names of colors and shapes. Funds are used for healthful snacks, writing/coloring paper, toothbrush kits, books and book bags, and backpacks with school supplies for graduating children. The funds will also purchase learning toys such as playdough and puzzles, and project materials such as folders. Also as volunteers are always needed, we are considering a small stipend for church teens to help during the 2 hour class.”
Founding of the preschool: In 2015 the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity Rev. Deborah Lee, Skyline Co-chair of Justice & Witness Mirtha Ninayahuar, First Congregational Church of Berkley (FCCB) member Dr. Victoria Purcell- Gates, and Iglesia de Dios Pastor Adolfo Gomez started the preschool with a grant from the Rainin Foundation.
Volunteers come from the three establishing entities and the secular community. Currently the preschool has $947 available from FCCB Justice & Service Ministry grant. Volunteers sometimes donate snacks and class materials. Currently we have 5 volunteers who come at least twice/month and about 5 who come less regularly.
Rev. Dr. Mary Schaller Blaufuss, Team Leader,UCC Humanitarian & Development Ministries:
“Thank you so much for submitting the application for a UCC Keep Families Together grant. We are pleased to award this and are grateful that the wider church can have at least a small role in your vital ministries with the Nueva Esperanza Sunday Preschool. It sounds like you are engaged in ways that help children know they are loved and welcomed and that also provide leadership opportunities for your church teens. Thank you again for your important work.”