The pandemic has put a strain on many aspects of day to day living including educating children. Parents were cast into homeschooling and distance learning roles virtually overnight. In Florida, Hispanic parents, are facing a greater challenge because of language differences.
Solmart Media, with its three radio stations and social media platforms, serving the Hispanic speaking population in a nine county central Florida area has stepped up to help parents. The radio group has teamed up with Dreamers Academy for a new half-hour, weekly program Nuestros Ninos or Our Children.
“The idea for the show came up on day one, when the first stay at home orders were given out,” said Mercedes Soler-Martinez, President Solmart Media. “I had a friend who is a dual language advocate, Geri Chaffee, she is Argentinian who grew up in Puerto Rico. I called her to talk to her for an interview on homeschooling for our COVID-19 coverage. She successfully homeschooled her two boys who are now in college. She is the founder of Dreamers Academy, which is scheduled to open in Sarasota in 2021.”
Solar-Martinez produces the program that her friend hosts. However, prior to the start of the program Solar-Martinez wanted to do her homework.
“I started doing Zoom Focus groups with teachers and educators and I asked what is the best course of action, what do parents need to help their students at home. How do we help parents get through this?”
As a result of that effort she has talked too and recorded interviews with a wide range of experts and has more than a dozen programs in the can.
“We’ve already recorded about 15 episodes and have gotten so much support from so many people and organizations. We have had some amazing engagements that focus on what parents can do to teach their children at home.”
Two broadcasts into the program and Solar-Martinez tells Radio Ink the response has been amazing.
“Only on the air for two weeks – It’s catching fire! We have had parents call and text us that they are thrilled that finally they have hope and are getting help to homeschool their children. Many organizations have contacted us to be part of what we are doing. Our plans are to be podcasting by the end of the week so others can use our materials.”
“Organizations that have reached out to us since the first episode aired last week include: several LULAC councils throughout the country; ESOL departments in school districts where we have interviewed dual language experts; local chapters of National Association of Bilingual Educators and Early Learning Coalitions. In short, groups trying to reach Hispanic families for parental engagement and community outreach.”
The program runs each Monday at 11:30 A.M., on 105.3 FM, 99.1 FM, 1280 AM and online at www.lazeta.fm .