Our Programs

Parents as Teachers/School Readiness


To address barriers to early education at school and home, Parents as Teachers/School Readiness provides weekly 3-hour classes that incorporate in-classroom school readiness strategies for 3.5 to 5-year-olds and parenting skills trainings.

Lessons for children are based on our school readiness curriculum entitled Structured Playing for Learning Purposes, an in-classroom plan that encourages socio-emotional and academic learning with activities that include learning to follow instructions and pre-STEM education and more.

Padres Unidos’ program is unique in that we closely integrate early education for children with parent education. In addition to building children’s school readiness, the program aims to equip parents and caregivers to continue nurturing learning in the home and community environment. Furthermore, by instituting a culture of engagement in education early, Padres Unidos helps parents become engaged partners throughout their children’s formal education.


Budget $357,679.00
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Families Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Program Short-Term Success

Measurable short-term outcomes include:

· 90% of children will improve academic scores during the year.

· 90% of children will improve socio-emotional skills during the year.

· 85% of children will be assessed as ready for school at kindergarten entry.

· 70% of parents/caregivers will improve knowledge of parenting strategies and implement them in daily life.

· 50% of parents/caregivers will get involved in some capacity at their children’s school.

Program Long-Term Success
Though our Parents as Teachers/School Readiness Program, Padres Unidos hopes to achieve the following goals:

· Help students prepare for a lifetime of academic success starting with fewer children needing to repeat kindergarten or testing “below-basic” on state tests.

· Parents and caregivers will view themselves as the first teachers for their children and become actively engaged in their futures both at school and in the community.

Program Success Monitored By
Padres Unidos evaluates its results through entry and exit evaluations for students to measure change in academic and socio-emotional skills, as well as pre-/post-program parenting assessments for caregivers to evaluate knowledge gained. Last year, students demonstrated up to an 89% increase in academic scores and up to 98% increase in socio-emotional skills!

Furthermore, while many parents believed that school was only for educators prior to their participation, many are now volunteering and getting involved at the school campuses. In addition to pre- and post-program tests for increased knowledge and implementation of concepts, we also collect anecdotal stories, satisfaction surveys, compliance and attendance records, and class evaluation tools for program improvement.

Examples of Program Success Last year, a preschool-aged boy with behavioral challenges began attending our program. Disrupting class regularly, he could not sit still for more than two minutes, lacked the social skills to relate to others, and struggled with basic skills like holding a pencil. His mother was desperate: the first day at the parenting class, she broke into tears and begged that her son not be expelled. “This is the third time he tries, and they remove him because they say he is disruptive to the other kids,” she shared.

In response, our facilitators took the time to provide the child with the external structure and individualized intervention he needed to succeed, and his mother with training and encouragement throughout the year they attended. Eventually, he stopped running out of class and became the group helper; by the end of the year, he sat in the circles during reading, individual, and group work, and was able to accomplish learning activities and express emotions in an age-appropriate way.

Strong Families

Strong Families is a culturally and linguistically appropriate program designed to provide families with the knowledge and communication skills to improve health, resilience, and family stability while preventing violence and family crisis. Strong Families is based on our unique and holistic approach to engage parents in their child’s education, development, and the community. At weekly sessions 2-hour session in English and Spanish, facilitators guide parents in discussing an issue from a menu of 120+ class topics such as My Kitchen My Choice, Fun and Exercise, Family Parenting, Culture and Mental Health in our Families and Home: A Safe Place to Grow. Topics are chosen by participants and parents, teens, and children participate in concurrent sessions, joining together at the end for reflections. A Community Worker visits each site weekly to provide support, assessments, referrals, and community resources to families that are in crisis or need guidance in accessing other services.
Budget $181,906.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Family-Based Services
Population Served Families Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Program Short-Term Success The objective of Strong Families is to help our families institute positive lifelong changes. During the 17-week session, families will accomplish the following:

· 75% of families will learn to identify early signs of dangerous behaviors in their children and can apply response steps designed for different family functioning levels/abilities.

· 95% of families will graduate from the program with a self-made list of internal and external resources that they can utilize as they confront different life situations.

· Parents not only improve their knowledge, but also implement it in daily life!

Program Long-Term Success Through our Strong Families program, Padres Unidos hopes to achieve the following goals:

1. Understand and address internal and external barriers to a healthy family while understanding and maximizing their strengths.

2. Reduce incidents of child abuse and neglect by educating parents on constructive and healthy ways to parent.

3. Recognize and respond to early signs in our families to prevent gang involvement.

4. Re-introduce parents to healthy, culturally sensitive food selections and cooking styles to reduce obesity and improve health in our families.

5. Create a multigenerational culture of community involvement for participating families in which every member has something to contribute.

Program Success Monitored By Each session is evaluated using the following specific measurements to determine program outcomes:

· Pre- and post-program tests for increased knowledge and implementation of learned concepts for parents that attend the complete program

· Anecdotal stories

· Satisfaction surveys

· Compliance and attendance records

· Class evaluation tools for internal use to improve programs

Examples of Program Success Through our parenting classes, we served a family of immigrants with five children. With the oldest just incarcerated for life, the family was devastated. To prevent their younger children from following the same path, these parents decided to attend our program.

The parents began participating in Strong Families, building the skills they needed to guide their family.

Both parents learned to recognize dysfunctional behaviors and began making positive changes, selecting and enforcing house rules and structuring their family environment. They also began hugging, kissing, and expressing their affection for their children consistently, and provided the supervision and support the children needed to succeed.

Today, all three children are either in college or graduated, and none engaged in drug abuse or criminal behavior. Their parents recently graduated from the Chapman University program, choosing to become Community Workers through the same school one of their daughters just graduated from!

Community Engagement

In 2010, Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies joined forces with Padres Unidos to develop Community Workers Paraprofessional Certificate program. Based in shared goals and the desire to become authentic partners with local communities, schools, teachers, students, and parents, this program has evolved to become a model to build community capacity, affect real change, and make a positive difference.

Participants spend the first year of training with Padres Unidos, working directly with children and families and rotating through different areas and roles. During their second year, participants begin take courses at Chapman University on topics such as leadership, ethics, group dynamics, domestic violence, child abuse, and crisis intervention for paraprofessionals. Once these core courses are successfully completed, the students then take module classes with emphasis in child/teen development, case management, parent educator, and small group facilitation.

Budget $418,710.00
Category Community Development, General/Other Organizational Development & Training
Population Served Families Hispanic, Latino Heritage Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success Through our Community Workers program, we have seen the following success:

· Since our inception in 1999, 324 parents and community members have volunteered with Padres Unidos.

· Since the start of the program in 2011, 70 Padres Unidos volunteers received a full scholarship for Chapman University’s two-year Community Workers Paraprofessional Certificate.

· In 2014, 42 individuals graduated with Community Workers Paraprofessional Certificate from Chapman University.

Program Long-Term Success Our Community Workers program demonstrates the true mission of Padres Unidos which is to empower community advocacy volunteers to effect change in their local communities, schools, and neighborhoods. We hope that through this program, volunteers will return to their communities and foster self-sufficiency and mutual respect within the communities they serve and make a positive contribution to the lives of its residents.

Since the creation of this program, 70 Padres Unidos volunteers have received full scholarships to the program and in 2014 our second cohort of 42 individuals graduated!

Program Success Monitored By Taught at Librería Martínez de Chapman University- the non-profit community hub of Chapman University, coursework is monitored by instructors and Padres Unidos. Volunteers are held to rigorous academic standards; in addition to attending classes, volunteers take exams, perform field work, write papers and complete a professional portfolio. Attendance and grades are tracked to monitor student performance and eligibility for the Community Workers Paraprofessional Certificate.
Examples of Program Success When Pedro, a Santa Ana resident, began attending our Strong Families classes, he saw an immediate change in his family. Committed to helping other at-risk families, he and his wife enrolled in our Community Workers Paraprofessional Certificate program. Pedro came to Padres Unidos with a high school education from his native Mexico and a conversational knowledge of the English language. He says he is blessed because this program is offered in his native language and opened a door to an education that was otherwise unavailable to him. He quickly began to excel and graduated in June 2014 as part of the second cohort for the program. He and his wife are now preparing to teach classes in their neighborhood to help other at-risk families.