"Una Familia" (one family) is an outreach of the Eastern Shore of The United Methodist Church created to support a community need. It began with the vision of Guadalupe Marquez who wanted to help elementary students as a high school project. She presented her vision to Melfa UMC which graciously opened their doors and allowed this vision to become a reality.
Guadalupe knew firsthand the struggles families and children faced in school, one expecially difficult hurdle is the language barrier. When beginning school without basic English, at the age of five, these students have the added burden of learning a new language. Often times, the only place they are exposed to this new language is in school. The necessity of both, the new language and the required academic work, simultanelously could cause a setback in their education. This dilemma is compounded when parents are unable to help with homework because they themselves are unfamiliar with the new language. As we all know, this very first stage of elementary school is imperative for a successful education. When children are not well prepared to achieve higher grade levels they become frustrated. This frustration in some cases leads to disastrous consequences.
This program began one Wednesday night in November of 2011 at Melfa UMC. The first night of the after-school tutoring program, five children attended, but in no time these numbers expanded dramatically and we now have three locations in Accomack County and one location in Northampton. We are serving ages pre-K thru highschool. As well as providing a Summer Program.
Our goal is to strengthen these children's educational foundation and to build life-long relationships with them and their families. By helping those we serve become familiar with the American culture we will be enabling them to become signifiant contributors of our shared society.