The Hesperia Unified School District Family Resource & Parent Center educates, informs and offers the opportunity to learn new skills for English and foreign language families — impacting lives in a way that's far bigger than any building can hold.
"Honestly, I think it's a hidden gem — I was raised in the Hesperia School District and I didn't know about it," Alicia Llerenas said, calling it a hub of resources for members of the community.
The center offers General Education Development preparation (GED), computer, English, Spanish and nutrition classes, K-6 tutoring, a health insurance advocate, parent workshops, job board and Rosetta Stone program for any foreign language speakers who want to learn English, as well as activities such as sewing, zumba and cake decorating, according to Jessica Soto, First 5 Preschool Coordinator and Family Resource Supervisor.
One program offered in English and Spanish is Family Literacy, an exploration of the family like a family tree, strengths of the family and building self-esteem plus story time, according to Soto.
"Parents leave celebrating their family," she said.
In a joint effort with the Mexican government, the center also offers classes through Plaza Comunitaria, which is distance learning for Mexican citizens to obtain an elementary, middle or high school education, according to Darrel Nickolaisen, coordinator of curriculum support.
The center is also a place to connect with others and to get help on a personal level.
"One benefit of this facility is it's a home outside of home," said Yazmin Medina First 5 program specialist. "We can help with anything, like translating a personal letter into Spanish. We're not only here to provide the services on the flyers."
Additionally, with staff referrals, children in need are given new clothes through the Clothes Hanger program, which relies mostly on donations from HUSD employees, Soto said.
The center offers the opportunity to hold onto tradition.
Language Support Liason Maridol Ceja said she helps Latino families "transition to this culture to be a part of it and to bring our culture and integrate it with this culture."
On Friday, they celebrated the Day of the Child, a holiday similar to Mother's Day.
"We're forming a community so parents feel comfortable in a school setting, and comfortable asking questions," Soto said, which gives them the voice they need to be helpful to their children.
"Bottom line for us: If parents are engaged and involved, kids have greater success," Nickolaisen said.
The center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and follows the school calendar: open until May 30 and then closed until the second week of August.
For details, visit the center at 9144 Third Ave. or call 760-244-4411, ext. 7258. Find a calendar of activities at www.hesperiausd.org.