SED's mission which is focused on the children of the community, is to integrate Spanish speaking and other immigrants into the mainstream of Washington life by providing educational and other services that allow families to achieve their social and economic goals.
The SED Center educates over a thousand area residents annually.
SED offers: BILINGUAL PRESCHOOL: SED's Preschool became Washington D.C.'s first bilingual day care center for low-income, Spanish-speaking children. It has since evolved from a day care center to an advanced early childhood development preschool. The program currently serves 100 children, ages 2 to 4. SED is accredited by the National Association for the Educators of Young Children, an was, in fact, the first accredited bilingual preschool in Greater Washington. SED was awarded with a Head Start grant to serve twenty additional children and SED became the first CBO to obtain this type of partnership. Effective October 2004, SED's Preschool serves forty children under its Head Start contract. There are over 135 children on SED's preschool waiting list. In order to provide quality service to its children, SED's Preschool coordinates services with the Washington Child Development Council, Children's Hospital, Georgetown University, American University, Sidwell Friends Lower School, and Washington International Lower School, among others.
BEFORE and AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM: SED offers this program at two elementary schools in Silver Spring, MD, serving 60 children, ages 6 to 12. Thanks to a seed grant from the Freed Foundation, SED also opened an after school program at its Kalorama site, in Washington, DC., to serve 30 school age children k to 4th grade from the elementary school of the Adams Morgan area. This program offers innovative components to enhance communication and language skills as well as physical abilities.
ADULT PROGRAM: SED offers English-as-a-second Language (ESL) and computer classes for adults. At present, this program is one of the largest in Washington D.C. It serves over 900 students each year from Central and South America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. SED's low-cost ESL program offers five levels of instruction in the evening and on weekends to area residents. The program offers survival skills and job-related as well as general English. SED has also received for the last five years, federal resources to provide free ESL classes and computer training to DC residents. The main reason for SED's success is having professional staff of instructors in all of its classes and limiting the number of participants to 10-15 in each class. In addition, SED uses volunteer teacher aides to assist the head instructor in all classes producing a teacher/student ratio of 1:5.
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM: This program is the life support of the Center, each week 25-30 volunteers work at the SED Center, versus 25 full-time and 12 part-time permanent paid staff. The volunteer departament recruits volunteers from the community through aggressive networking with the local media, area universities, the Peace Corps, and other community organizations such as churches, and even with international organizations that provide interns for some of SED's programs. In the last fiscal year, more than 297 volunteers provided well over 11,000 hours of service for the SED Cente. Volunteer contribute to the development and enhancement of the Center's community programs. They serve as teacher-aides in the Preschool and English-as-a-secong language (ESL) programs. Additionally, they help with funding reserarch, proposal writing, public relations, and various administrative duties. Moreover, through the participation of volunteers, SED Center immigrants students receive a greater and more personalized exposure to the English language and to U.S. culture. Volunteers receive training for the program in which their are placed, and also learn about Hispanic culture.