This summer Millersville University’s Migrant Education Program (MEP) is working with nearly 2,500 Pre-school, K-12 and Out-of-School migrant children in five Pennsylvania counties. The children, sons and daughters of migrant agricultural/farm workers, are having classes at schools around the area. The theme of the program this summer in Lancaster County is “We Will Rock Your World.”
Dámaso Albino, the director of Millersville University’s Migrant Education Program, uses his year-round employees as well as temporary hires to help with the summer programs.
On a recent visit to Elizabeth Martin School, students were scattered throughout the building in classrooms. The older students were busy working on scripts for video projects or solving math problems, while the younger children were learning primary and secondary colors and creating artwork by painting and decorating rocks.
Amanda Guzman, who has a Bachelor of Arts Degree dual major in sociology and psychology from Millersville, and is currently working on her master’s in school counseling at Millersville, oversees the program at Elizabeth Martin. “My mom and dad were migrant workers,” said Guzman. “I have an affinity for this program. We get to expose kids to all sorts of learning.”
There are eight campus programs running this summer in Allentown, Bethlehem, Lebanon, Reading, Lancaster, Hempfield, Solanco and Muhlenberg. “The summer camps are for pre-k students through high school,” said Albino. “We enlist the help of home school district teachers as well as Millersville professors to provide curriculum for us. For example, Dr. Len Litowitz designed our Lego class a few years ago.”
The summer camps are just one of the major initiatives that Albino oversees through Millersville University’s Migrant Education Program. There is also a program to get the children into college, once they graduate from high school.
“We’re in the midst of a $2.1 million grant from the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). The 5-year grant, which was awarded in 2016, provides financial and academic assistance to students who participated in the K-12 federally and state funded Migrant Education Program. The college program at Millersville University is the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania and one of only a hand full on the east coast.”
The program will continue this fall at MU. Each student in the program is paired with an upper-class MU student, who will be a mentor to the first year students.