Mi C.A.S.A., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has been providing after- school tutoring and academic enrichment to the children of Farm Labor Housing since 2000.
The changes since that time have been dramatic. After a fledgling start in which intimidating gangs hung around outside the classroom and only a handful of mostly “latchkey” kids attended, the program now averages 80 children per day at all grade levels. Gone are the gangs and the entire community sees this as a safe, engaging place for their children each day after school. “We have kids from nearly every family at the property” adds Director and Lead Teacher Kathy McKenzie.
Mi C.A.S.A. tutors are mostly graduates of the Mi C.A.S.A. program. By engaging high school and college tutors that live in the Housing Authority of Butte County, the program has become a vital source of career and academic development for the emerging leaders of this community.
One example is Alma, a sophomore at Chico State University. She has been working at MiCASA for six years, and says the program helped her learn things about herself, specifically that she wants to teach. “I want to inspire each kid to do well in school and become a better person in society,” she adds. What she finds so compelling at MiCASA is that “the kids want to learn. You don’t have to force them to do it.”
Another tutor who is giving back to the program is Erika. She is a senior in high school, wants to be an English teacher, and is looking at applying to Chico and Sacramento State. “This place is what inspired me to be a teacher,” she says. “I always thought I was too shy to be a teacher, but this program helped me come out of my shell and see that I could do it.”
Mi C.A.S. rewards students for their academic hard work via social enrichment activities. See our most recent events on the right side of this page.