WAF “Dulce Esperanza” (Sweet Hope) Summer Enrichment Program
PROGRAM RUNS: July 2nd through August 17th each year; 9 am to 5 pm each weekday
Each summer, children and families look forward to vacations and time off from their work. For farmworker families, summer months pose a challenge with regard to their children. The long work day of farmworkers results in a critical need for childcare. While the children under five are enrolled in the ABCD Headstart program, older children do not have a safe place to go to in the summer months.
Until 2016, the Mustard Seed Migrant Ministry provided this important care to almost 80 children. Families came to depend on this important care-feeling secure in the knowledge that their children were in a safe, supervised program for the summer months. Two Roman Catholic Nuns provided a home during the day for these children. When they retired last year, there was no other agency able to provide the care for these children.
Concern for the children lead the formation of a Coalition. This coalition is made up of the Warwick Area Migrant Committee, parent representatives; the Alamo Community Center; Hudson River HealthCare, volunteers and Migrant Education. Meetings were held during late last year and early in 2017 to come up with an alternate plan. A plan was developed with a proposal for a specific location.
The Pine Island School was in an ideal location to host the program. It was a historical site for this program beginning as early as 1964. The program was coordinated by the WAMC and served 200 children. With the support of Dr. David Leach, Superintendent of Warwick Valley School District, the summer program has been held at the Pine Island School since 2018. Dr. Leach has been a leading supporter of this program and is one of the many local educational professionals who support our program. The school has provided an ideal location for up to one hundred children.
In May 2021 the WAMC founded its subsidiary organization the Warwick Area Farmworker Organization to specifically focus on the needs of the migrant farm worker community including the management and daily operations of the Summer Enrichment Program. The WAFO continues to offer the Summer Enrichment Program as one of their many programs today that enables advancement of the migrant farm workers’ children by giving educational opportunities and enrichment to these children that they may not otherwise have a chance to get.