The Resource Center for Adult Education (CREA) was founded by two Mexican immigrant women from the community of East Harlem who recognized the need to support their neighbors and community members with adult education services and leadership training. These Mexican women realized that the East Harlem community was largely formed by Mexican and Latin immigrants. Some of them came to New York speaking only an indigenous language such as Mixteco, Nahuatl, Tlapaneco, Quechua and Mam, and had very limited knowledge of the Spanish language. These people arrived to this country with little or no formal education and a very limited or non-existent knowledge of the English language; consequently, their opportunities in the job market and in the community were minimal. Furthermore, Spanish-speaking immigrants had difficulty communicating with the members of the larger community, specifically with the authorities, their landlords, doctors, even their children’s teachers. Because of their lack of understanding of the American school system, Spanish-speaking immigrants were not able to help their children with their school work, and were less likely to volunteer in school or register their kids in after-school activities.
CREA then was formed to address these needs of the East Harlem community in order to provide Spanish-speaking immigrants with opportunities to improve their formal education in their native language and acquire English as a second language. Equally important, CREA aspires to provide leadership development, parental assistance, individual counseling referrals to social services and peer-to-peer support.
CREA began by serving 50 students in 2013 and its student body has grown steadily through the years.