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Esther Vargas
Aprenda Mas

Tracy James
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Monday, November 21, 2005

Hispanic educational outreach efforts receive $465,700 boost

Lumina Foundation grant to subsidize Aprenda Mas at Indiana University

Nov. 21, 2005

EDITORS: A Spanish version of this news release can be found at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Aprenda Más, a translation service at Learn More Resource Center in the Indiana University School of Education, has received a $465,700 grant to continue offering translation services and to help improve Hispanic/Latino parental involvement in Indiana schools.

The grant, from Lumina Foundation for Education, will subsidize the three-year-old Aprenda Más for another three years. In addition to new parental involvement outreach efforts, Aprenda Más will expand its translation projects clientele as it works to become financially self-sufficient. It will continue providing free high quality translation services for qualifying non-profit educational corporations and organizations. It will now begin offering its Spanish translation services to other organizations and businesses in other fields for a moderate fee.

"We translate documents such as school/district policies and procedures, parent and student handbooks, athletic manuals, and even statewide reading assessments. Our materials help students and families learn about financial aid and college entrance requirements. Our translations touch on nearly every aspect of the P-16 experience," said Aprenda Más Director Esther Vargas. "The demand is so high that there are not enough agencies to fill all the requests for translations."

Aprenda Más, which in Spanish means Learn More, is the Hispanic outreach division of Learn More Resource Center. Learn More is under the direction of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in partnership with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Learn More also receives support from USA Funds and Lumina Foundation for Education.

Learn More provides an extensive amount of information about P-16 education in Indiana, career choices and other aspects of lifelong learning to parents, teachers, school counselors, adult learners and other interested parties. Aprenda Más is translating these materials into Spanish, drawing from a team of translators who represent various cultural backgrounds and Spanish dialects found in South, Central and North America.

According to Vargas, Indiana has a fast-growing Latino population, with the majority of newcomers being first generation immigrants. "There are schools in different areas of Indiana that have seen their Latino population more than double from year to year," she said.

This challenges school corporations and Latino families because the U.S. education system usually is very different from the families' native schools. Language can be a tremendous barrier, too. The new parental involvement outreach efforts will include workshops in counties with the highest Latino concentrations. The workshops will cater to parents and school staff, Vargas said, because parent involvement initiatives in schools often do not take into consideration cultural differences, resulting in Latino parents feeling alienated.

"Indiana schools and districts are very interested in doing this," Vargas said. "They are not benefiting from Latino parental involvement and they recognize the need for it. Many have expressed they don't know how to go about it. Having these workshops will be of great value to everyone in the school community."

Lumina Foundation for Education is an Indianapolis-based, private foundation dedicated to expanding access and success in education beyond high school.

Vargas can be reached at 812-856-8233 and For more information about Learn More, visit, or call the Learn More Helpline at -800-992-2076.