Family Literacy Program and Briya Public Charter School
The Family Literacy Program provides parents and their children ages 0 to 12 with the tools needed to be successful in school and in the workplace. Classes for parents include English and computer literacy, parenting, civics, and job skills. Parents learn to complete health, school, and work forms; read medicine labels; ask questions at doctor appointments and parent-teacher conferences; understand children’s report cards; help their children with homework; and much more. While parents are in class, their children attend early childhood classes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. These classes prepare children for kindergarten by developing their language, literacy, cognitive, motor, and social skills. During Parent and Child Together time, or PACT, parents apply language and literacy development techniques studied in parenting classes. They use these techniques with their children at Mary’s Center and at home.
In 2006, a D.C. charter school, now called Briya, was created as an independent entity and key partner of Mary’s Center. This partnership allows for expanded literacy and job training offerings.
Child Care Licensing Program
Mary’s Center provides training and technical assistance to women who are interested in becoming licensed child care providers or opening home-based day care centers. We also offer step-by-step guidance on the complex licensing process. We provide support for individual problem solving, interact with agencies on behalf of participants, and help participants prepare for the licensing exam and final home inspection. Classes are taught in Amharic, Arabic, Creole, English, French, Spanish, Tigrinya, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
Child Development Associate Classes
Mary’s Center offers Child Development Associate Classes in partnership with Briya Public Charter School. Classes in English and Spanish provide the 120 hours of instruction required to obtain the Child Development Associate credential.
Mini-Grant Program to Increase Capacity for Infant and Toddler Child Care Providers
Mary’s Center administers a mini-grant program in collaboration with Latino Economic Development Corporation to help licensed D.C. home and center-based child care providers open new infant and toddler child care spaces.
Adolescent "Teen" Education Program
This program is part of our comprehensive program serving adolescents. First-generation teens face complex situations that require culturally competent, culturally sensitive responses. Many of our teens have been separated from their families for years before entering the United States. Teens can experience grief when they leave loved ones behind and adapt to new family members. Helping teens cope with the issues surrounding family reunification and cultural divides is critical to our success in helping youth build confidence and make healthy life decisions. The education components of this program include:
- School advocacy and collaboration with school counselors;
- The summer Urbanito Program, which provides job readiness, job opportunities, a community project, and field trips;
- An after-school program with the following components:
- Regular health education workshops;
- Tutoring, SAT preparation, college tours, and English classes;
- Senior Day, which provides intensive support for college applications and scholarships;
- Community projects, including building support and raising money for our Urbanito Scholarship Fund; and
- Community involvement including testifying before the City Council and participating in community health fairs and peer education.