KARLA MARTINEZ/Coachella Uninc
COACHELLA — Tutoring, making new friends, and helping the environment are just a few of the reasons that students come to Esperanza Youth and Family Center (EYFC) every day after school.
“I like coming to Esperanza because it’s fun here, and Willy is always acting silly around everyone. I’ve made many friends here and get help with my homework I don’t really understand,” said Emily Lucero, 8, a student at Palm View Elementary School.
Willy Alvarez, an employee at EYFC, added, “The center keeps kids out of trouble and gives them a chance to do better things with their spare time. The kids can stay at Esperanza while their parent are working and allows them to also get involved in other activities.”
In addition to schoolwork assistance, many students are coming to the youth center to join the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA). This group started three years ago as a way for youth to build a healthier community.
“The EYA recently began a household battery disposal program. The students advocated and brought awareness of the effects of batteries, which are hazardous for the environment, ending up in landfills. They partnered with the city of Coachella and Esperanza is now an official household battery drop off site,” said Vivian Perez, director of EYFC.
Esperanza Youth and Family Center opened its doors in 1987. The mission is to provide educational, supportive, and recreational programs and services and assist the youth and the families of the Eastern Coachella Valley. These programs and services are designed to address the ongoing evolution of social issues that weaken and threaten the well being of youth and their families in our community.
“We encourage the youth and their families to engage in resources offered at the EYFC,” said Frank Mallalieu, a youth facilitator at EYFC.
Parenting classes teaches parents the importance of having positive attitudes, positive behavior, which lead to a positive family life. Parents are taught how to encourage children to do their best, celebrate the small steps, and never give up.
Students between the ages of 8 and 18 can drop in after school free of cost. Additional activities include free tutoring, arts and crafts, and field trips. During the summer, the program includes swimming at Bagdouma Park. The Indio Elks Club sponsors an annual Christmas luncheon for members and various activities throughout the year.
EYFC also offers a great opportunity to improve the community by volunteering.
“Esperanza is great place to do community service because you get to socialize with children and help the kids out with homework,” says Karen Ugarte, a volunteer. “In my case, volunteering here has helped me be more outspoken and has taught me to responsibility.”
Esperanza Youth and Family Center is located at 1536 Seventh Street. For more information, please call (760) 398-0711.