Baltimore News

Advocate Helps Baltimore’s Latino Neighborhood Navigate Schooling System Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Parents know navigating their children’s school system can be overwhelming at times, especially during a pandemic.

An advocate is helping Baltimore’s Latino community get the best education for kids.

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When it came time for Adolfo Martinez to apply for college, he didn’t know where to start.

“It was definitely a challenging process,” Martinez said. “I would watch all of my friends and they would be like, ‘Oh yeah, my mom helped me with this and that.’”

His mom Isabel is from Honduras and doesn’t speak much English. Their story is not unique among Baltimore’s Latino community.

“Sometimes we can’t help, and in this moment Dinorah appeared in my life,” Isabel said.

Dinorah Olmos is with the Latino Education and Advancement Fund. Her work helps hundreds of Latino parents and students pursue Baltimore’s academic programs.

“I let them know programs and services available or specific scholarships,” Olmos said. “We are in touch every single day.”

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Most of the parents she works with have been in the United States for under ten years, she said. She helps them learn what courses their kids should take in high school and explains what a GPA is, among other items.

With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping people apart, she created a WhatsApp group for families feeling lost.

Among the families Olmos has worked with is the Ramirez family.

“(It’s) very helpful for every family that doesn’t know how the school system works,” parent Carlos Ramirez-Mejia said.

Martinez is now a freshman at Loyola University Maryland.

“With her guidance, we were able to confidently make our way through it,” he said.

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