Bellevue University and the Consulate of Mexico in Omaha will celebrate the opening of a new Plaza Comunitaria on Friday, Sept. 17.
The open house for the plaza will be at 1000 Galvin Road, from 5 to 7 p.m.
The Plaza Comunitaria is a learning space and program for Spanish-speaking adults and offers free online educational curriculum in Spanish.
The curriculum is created by the Mexican National Institute of Adult Education (INEA) and helps Hispanic individuals learn to read and write in their native language.
Those who enroll in the program can earn official educational certificates and diplomas from the Mexican government.
The program primarily serves older teens and adults who have not yet completed elementary education.
Bellevue University Plaza Comunitaria classes will be held two to three evenings per week at the university’s main campus in Bellevue.
All classes, programming and online access will be free for participants.
The Mexican Consulate of Omaha and Bellevue University will provide support and information about the program to Spanish-speaking communities in the Consulate’s service area.
Mexican Head Consul Guadalupe Sánchez Salazar said, “The new Bellevue University Plaza Comunitaria will help close the education gap for Spanish-speaking adults in Nebraska and Iowa. Students will have the opportunity to pursue their education and strengthen their reading, writing, technology and communication skills.”
Socorro Carrera, global partnerships specialist at BU, said through her work at the Mexican Consulate she saw a need for this program at the university.
“I did a little proposal and I sent it over to the university and from the start, they were super excited about it and they agreed to facilitate this program,” Carrera said.
Carrera said this program is personal because of her family back in Mexico.
“From like my parents, to some of my uncles where they live in Mexico, it’s remote, they didn’t live in a city where there was schools everywhere and maybe they would have a teacher one year and then maybe they wouldn’t,” Carrera said.
Carrera said BU will initially begin with two evening classes a week for classes on campus that might expand depending on the number of students.
For now, BU plans to start with 10 students in the program.
“That number can change depending on the interest in the community and we’re equipped to handle the change,” Carrera said.
Those interested in Bellevue University Plaza Comunitaria classes can sign up and receive assistance signing up at the open house on Sept. 17.
Another sign up option would be to contact Carrera at email@example.com or at 402-557-5203.
“We are excited to partner with the Mexican Consulate on the new Plaza Comunitaria program because we know this program will change learners’ futures,” said Bellevue University President Mary Hawkins in a press release. “Supporting working adult learners and opening the door to lifelong learning helps individuals, their families and our community.”
The open house event, which is part of the university’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, will also feature a tour of the new Bellevue University Plaza Comunitaria space, refreshments and music.