DML and Partners to Offer Program: Plaza Comunitaria

Dayton Metro Library has partnered with local groups and the Mexican Consulate to offer a program in Spanish called Plaza Comunitaria (“Community Plaza” in Spanish).  Patrons and community members are welcome to attend the opening ceremony in the Main Library’s Eichelberger Forum, on Thursday, June 6, at 11 am. 

At the ceremony, DML and the Mexican Consulate will sign a memorandum of understanding to bring Plaza Comunitaria to Dayton, which offers 9th grade diplomas and literacy programs for people ages 15 and up. Phase one for the program will begin with enrolment up to the 9th grade in September 2025. Higher levels will be offered in a bilingual format beginning in the Fall of 2025, with additional local partners. 

The program is designed to address the fact that less than a third of New American students with interrupted education finish high school. “DML focuses on enhancing the community’s quality of life while trying to foster equity in the community. Our mandate is to be frontline advocates for all” said Gabriela Pickett, who oversees programs for immigrants as DML’s New American Specialist. “New Americans are one of the most marginalized groups in the education system, because so many of us arrived here with interrupted education, trauma, and are unable to understand the language. This program will change lives,” Pickett added.

Participants will be able to learn online and receive help at DML. The Library will proctor tests, enroll students, and guide them through the program, which will officially launch during DML’s National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

“By hosting Plaza Comunitaria at the Library, we are fulfilling our mission to become the bridge that empowers people while building equity in the community,” said Pickett. “This is a life changing opportunity for many New Americans who have given up on their education.”

Speakers at the ceremony will include Leticia Maki Teramoto Sakamoto, Consul of Mexico in Indianapolis; Jeffrey Trzeciak, DML Executive Director; Dr. Karlos Marshall, DML Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director; and Dr. Gabriela Pickett, DML Newest American Specialist. Virginia Rodriguez-Colon, Program Director for el Puente, and Imelda Ayala, Parent Advocate and Community Liaison for el Puente, will also be in attendance.

“‘Free to Belong’ and ‘Better Together’ are phrases we use at DML,’’ noted Pickett. “The fact that we can now also say ‘Libres para Pertenecer’ y ‘Juntos Somos Mejores’ by providing literacy services in Spanish tells me that we are fulfilling our mandate to serve the community.”

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