Cruz teams to help inmates
Office of Latino / Latin American Studies (OLLAS) faculty member Ana Cruz spent nine weeks of the summer volunteering approximately three hours each Saturday to work with the Latino inmates at the Douglas County Correctional Center.
The summer partnership between the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the jail is a first for creating an educational, informational program in Spanish for the Latino inmates who cannot take advantage of the existing English-only programs.
OLLAS summer program
The program, Project Improve, included activities that focused on writing, reading and film analysis. The activities led to reflection, introspection, self-expression and discussion of family-related issues, Cruz said.
A highlight was the reading and recording of a children’s story. "We provided the parents with an array of children’s books in Spanish, from which they could choose one per child," Cruz said. "We encouraged the parents to provide a brief, personal message to the child prior to reading the story." The book, along with the CD, was mailed by the Programs Coordinator of the Douglas County Correctional Center to the inmate’s home.
The OLLAS faculty members represent six different departments and three different colleges including College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media.