The Latin American Association unveiled a new learning program geared at helping Latino youth at a ceremony on Thursday.

The Brookhaven-based nonprofit opened its “Learning Hub,” which comes from a partnership with the DeKalb County School District and is aimed at helping Latino students have better access to opportunities like college or technical careers. 

Representatives of the Latin American Association and the DeKalb County School District cut the ribbon to unveil the LAA’s “Learning Hub.”

“Many first-and-second-generation immigrant students in metro Atlanta are the first in their families to try to attend college, yet many come from neighborhoods and families with lower incomes and have to overcome a persistent achievement gap between students of color and their white peers,” said Santiago Marquez, president and CEO of the LAA, in a press release. “This well-equipped Learning Hub will provide resources to help Latino students achieve more and aim higher than they might otherwise have.”

The Learning Hub is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Center on Reinventing Public Education, an education research center based in Washington, and The New Teacher Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to ensure poor and minority students get equal access to teachers. According to DeKalb County School District staff,  the Learning Hub at the LAA is one of six. The school district announced the creation of a mobile learning hub last year. 

According to the press release, resources available at the LAA Learning Hub will include information from Georgia colleges like Georgia State University and the University of Georgia, information about how to apply to college and potential scholarship opportunities, information about federal student aid, and personalized help like tutoring. 

Marcia Coward, the family engagement director at the DeKalb County School District, said the Learning Hub at the LAA had been a long time coming. 

“This is true collaboration,” Coward said. “To think about the possibilities that are going to happen in this space for our students, it warms my heart.” 

LAA Managing Director of Youth Services Eli Vélez thanked the team at the LAA and the team from the DeKalb County School District. 

“We know that when we invest in our youth, we can make a difference,” Vélez said. “This is exactly where we want to start.” 

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.