ECU, ECU Brody School of Medicine, ESL, Health education, Latina women, Literacy, North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows Program, Reema Padia, Sarah Mian, Service, Spanish-speaking women, The East Carolinian
With ASF’s support, Mian and Padia — students at the ECU Brody School of Medicine — have launched ALMAS: a comprehensive mentoring and tutoring program aimed at improving the health and lives of Greenville’s Spanish-speaking women and their families.
Per The East Carolinian, ALMAS is filling an unmet niche:
Padia stated that she had noticed a need for a tutoring program like ALMAS when she met with Latina women in the Greenville community. They revealed to her that there are no services currently offered to Latina women to aid them in developing their English skills.
By providing English tutoring and mentoring, Mian and Padia work with ALMAS participants to achieve their personal and professional goals. (With ALMAS’ guidance, one of the women built and posted a resume — and found employment.)
But ALMAS goes beyond individual tutoring, offering free child care services and monthly health information sessions:
According to Mian, the child care services offer is not only a complimentary place for the women’s children to stay, but it also allows Spanish-speaking children to meet in a new environment, one outside of school.
Mian recalled some Latino children who were teased at school for having unusual last names. The ALMAS child care facilities provide the children with a non-threatening place to meet other Latino children.
The program’s heath information sessions have also been beneficial to the Latino women. The sessions have provided the women with information about health issues such as breast cancer, Mian and Padia explained.
A representative from the Public Health Department also spoke to the women about proper nutrition and eating healthy meals on a good budget.
The sessions have also been used to teach the women the basic English vocabulary needed for a productive visit to the doctor’s office — for both them or their children.
Mian and Padia are working to ensure that ALMAS is sustained beyond the end of their Fellowship year, telling The East Carolinian, “We’re hoping to find tutors who are really interested in taking over the program.”
In the meantime, they’re continuing to carry out their good work — and impacting the health, literacy, and lives of their community in the process.