Creating tools for lifelong learning

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Mia Almodovar remembers her feelings when she arrived in Cleveland in 2016. “It hurt,” says soft-spoken Mia, now 9, who was born in Puerto Rico. “I was separated from my family.”

She knew a little English, thanks to a bilingual teacher back home.

Not enough English, however, to feel comfortable in her new surroundings. Not enough to keep up with her classmates in school. Not enough to make her feel like she fit in. Then she received a tip from a friend: “Go to the Boys & Girls Club. They have lots of things to do.”

She did. And Mia’s world changed for the better.

“I learned to play with other people. I practiced my English. I read books. I learned that you don’t bully,” Mia says.

Every day, Club staffers help Mia with her English and reading. She has made new friends and discovered new interests, including art and playing with slime. The Club’s Power Hour – the study period at the start of each day – has also helped improve her school work. “When I get homework,” she says, “I do it here. It is the best place for me.”