CARECEN provides education, enrichment and leadership development programs for children, youth and adults through its Parent Center, Youth Center and citizenship classes. All programs are at no or low cost to the community and aim to support immigrant families so they can succeed in school and work. These programs address the immediate needs of immigrants both with and without status, and they help boost their confidence, their economic possibilities and their level of community engagement.
The CARECEN Youth Center provides educational enrichment for children and youth through three principal programs, as well as an art collective. The programs are as follows:
- College Head Start — A free program to help students from low-income and immigrant families get to and graduate from college.
- STEAM Summer Program — This 10-week summer program focuses on the STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) plus art, engaging students in the topics through projects and ensuring they are ready for the coming academic year.
- Youth Leadership Program — A six-month training program to develop organizing skills and a civic conscience. Through lectures, group activities, and presentations from community leaders, students are exposed to grass-roots, community-led political change and are given a chance to participate in CARECEN's own campaigns.
- ELAC Central American Studies Course — In a project aimed at taking higher education beyond the traditional campus, CARECEN and East Los Angeles College are teaming up to help Pico Union high school students learn about their culture with a Central American Studies course taught at CARECEN on Saturdays.
The CARECEN Parent Center provides courses for adults and parents in the following areas:
- Plaza Comunitaria/Casa Universitaria — CARECEN works with the University of Guadalajara and the Mexican Secretary of Education to provide online, teacher-assisted courses that help adults continue their education. Plaza Communitaria offers an elementary and middle-school curriculum, while Casa Universitaria offers accredited high-school through graduate courses and computing classes.
- Parent Leadership Workshops — These ongoing workshops build a better understanding among parents of the LAUSD school system and encourage them to become more active and empowered in their children’s education through participation in school committees.
- English Classes — CARECEN works with Los Angeles City College (LACC) to bring English classes to the community. Classes take place weekday evenings and Saturdays.
CARECEN offers citizenship classes to help legal residents become U.S. Citizens and assume full participation in U.S. civic society. Through the program, adults learn about U.S. history and government and are encouraged to naturalize. There are two courses:
- High Beginner Citizenship Class -- Lasts 15 weeks. Tailored for basic (Level 1) adult English learners, with a pace that is more adequate for them. Focuses on the questions in the test. We recommend that these students also take CARECEN's English classes, which are coordinated to make that possible.
- Intermediate Citizenship Class -- Lasts 12 weeks. Students develop a foundation in the 100 civics questions in the citizenship exam, as well as learning to read, recognize and write the vocabulary required in the reading and dictation portions of the citizenship interview.
- English Exempt Class -- Lasts 12 weeks. Tailored for students who have been approved to take an abridged version of the test or who are taking the test in Spanish.