2022 Grants Challenge

Immigrant Empowerment Through Education

Plaza Comunitaria Sinaloa is a Latinx-women owned nonprofit organization that provides educational and workforce development programs to primarily low-income immigrants in the San Fernando Valley area. The existing project and multi-generational initiative offers a holistic approach that supports Spanish speaking immigrants and their families through education, career advancement, health, social, and personal needs.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Immigrant and Refugee Support

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

San Fernando Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

About one in five US adults (21%) have poor literacy skills, which translates to about 43 million adults. Thirty-four percent of them are Hispanic or Latino. Today, California continues to have one of the lowest literacy rates at 76.9%. Nearly 1 in 4 people over the age of 15 lack the skills to decipher the words in this sentence. The San Fernando Valley is an area that is clearly 92.8% Hispanic or Latino and only 14.1% of those who are 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. For many Latin American migrants, educational opportunities in their country of origin have been historically disproportionate and most arrive to the United States without the basic skills to read and write in their native language let alone in English. Our goal is to fill the educational gap among immigrants while also addressing the issues of income inequality, community safety, and youth economic advancement.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The following project aims to provide equitable access to education while creating a pathway for adults 18 and up who are looking to pursue higher education and/or job certification. We believe that by providing educational programs such as adult literacy, ESL, computers, GED preparation, citizenship test preparation, we can provide immigrants with the necessary skills to achieve economic advancement and at the same time address systemic inequality in the long-term. In addition to maintaining our existing classes, we plan to implement workforce development certificate programs such as small business entrepreneurship, in-home support services (IHSS) provider, and CA food handler in the next year. However, the grant will primarily support a multi-generational initiative that is designed to support low-income immigrant families. We will continue to provide workshops that focus on parent-children dynamics, mental health and emotional well-being, domestic violence prevention, substance abuse counseling, resources for people with disabilities, arts, music, and culture. The initiative will also implement Spanish language classes for children and youth between the ages of 10-17 as well as a course on Latin American history. We seek to encourage 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations and on to learn more about their culture and embrace their heritage. We strongly believe that a holistic approach is the key to addressing social issues among immigrant families.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our vision for success involves making an impact on the daily lives of immigrants and creating social change in the San Fernando Valley. Our intended impact is to increase literacy skills among adults, provide better access to educational and employment pathways, and find better ways to embrace a multi-generational initiative while also enhancing community involvement. In doing so, we believe we can to empower not only individuals but the Los Angeles County at large.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The impact of the existing educational project has been measured by the success stories of graduates who have participated in our programs and have expressed their immense gratitude for the services we provide. We've seen firsthand the improved sense of self-esteem that individuals feel when they achieve a personal goal. Our core classes such as adult literacy and ESL have served hundreds of adult immigrants. With our transition into workforce development programs at its early stages and the implementation of the proposed initiative, we will also measure success by encouraging students to fill out a general survey at end of each program. This survey is meant to get a better understanding of what students gained throughout the program and provide general feedback. Upon completion of a program, each student receives a certificate of completion from the organization and/or our partner organization, Los Angeles Mission College, and will be recognized at the next graduation ceremony.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 1,200