On Friday, the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center announced "Valiente.Inteligente.Valioso.Ambicioso," or VIVA, a new Latinx program aimed at "embracing our community with English and Spanish classes, translation assistance, family counseling, and legal services," a release said.
In a recent survey, the center reported overwhelming feedback indicating the need for English-language classes.
Rossana Solares, who teaches in the center's after-school program and works as a Latinx outreach specialist scheduling food pantry appointments and other services, will oversee the program as VIVA director. "This program is for all of the families, we want all of you to feel part of this community, we want all of you to be part of your kids learning, we have to be all united, especially for our kids, for their success, not only in school but in this country," she said. "Thank you for trusting us."
Also joining the team is Claudia Quintana, an English as a new language teacher who has taught for more than 12 years in the East Hampton School District.
Other classes being added to the program include an introductory Spanish class, which the center considers crucial to bridging the Spanish and English-speaking communities. A parenting course and a family reading program are also being started.
"The center has wanted and needed a Latinx department for a while. As the demographics of our community have continued to change, the center recognized the need, and we are happy to have Rossana to head up this effort," said Bonnie Michelle Cannon, the center's executive director, who added that she plans to attend the conversational Spanish classes to learn the language herself.
"Any kind of work like this is fantastic. There are a lot of children going through the center, so the fact that they're able to meet the needs of the community -- we're thrilled to learn about it," said Minerva Perez, the executive director of Organizacion Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island.