Casa de la Esperanza provides educational opportunities for the children of families who work in agriculture.
“We have a mission to help our students and our parents,” says Vanessa Escarcega, the program’s coordinator.
During the academic year, volunteers tutor the students.
“Their parents don't really speak English and sometimes can have a hard time helping them out,” says Neil Mosser, volunteer coordinator. “So it's really important that these kids don't fall behind the rest of their class.”
However, the summers at Casa have more variety because they offer specialized programs. This past summer, students participated in an electronic music class and a robotics class among other activities.
Phil Wagner is the volunteer robotics coach.
“It's fun to expose them to something new that they wouldn't have a chance to experience otherwise,” he says.
Last summer’s theme was Godzilla. The students made their autonomous robots knock over Lego skyscrapers, pick up tanks, and move helicopters.
“Casa is really fun,” says 13 year-old Alex. “You get to learn a lot of stuff and there are a lot of programs to go to.”
Alex especially loves to make music on Casa’s computers. “I like to make the clap because it sounds cool and all that and it really goes with the kick [sound effect].”
Phil adds that volunteering is “the difference between a student having to rely just on the help they get at school and in the classroom and having that extra one on one and one on two help.”
Even though they have only two full time and one part-time staff, Casa serves over 200 people.
“At the end of the day, the real work is coming from our volunteers,” says Vanessa. “We wouldn't be able to do what we do without our volunteers.”
To volunteer at Casa, fill out this form.
To learn more about Casa, visit their website.