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Las Americas providing youth with education and Hispanic outlet in Memphis

From dreams to reality, Las Americas is bringing education to the forefront for students at risk of being held back.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Greg Diaz created Las Americas because when he came to America, he didn’t know anyone or the language very well.

“My mother brought me to America when I was 12 years old and I got here on a Friday so on Wednesday she put me in the school system, I didn’t know the language, I didn’t know anyone and it was very tough,” Diaz said. “So, even at a young age I promised God that if I was ever given an opportunity to do for other kids what no one was doing for me, I would.”

Now, Diaz has served over one thousand students in the midsouth and has no plans of stopping, especially when previous students come back to work.

“As a kid, I used to come to Las Americas, and then growing up after I had my first kid I came back to Memphis and I was like, 'I really would love to do that,'” Sofia Martini said.

The program is free for students and has provided them with assistance others may not even think they need.

“You should already see that in them where they can read and sound out their letters but a lot of them can’t,” Martini said.

She takes the steps to make sure each student gets the education they need.

“They might be in third grade but are working on a first-grade level so for let’s say math, I’ll give everyone a multiplication worksheet which is normal third-grade level,” Martini said. “If they turn it back and a lot of them are obviously wrong, then I know they need more help in that so I go back and instead of third-grade level, I go to second-grade level and if that’s still too difficult, then I do first grade. I keep going back until I see exactly where they’re at and where to work from.”

They also assist parents by helping communicate with their children.

“We make sure they’re reading by grade level, we make sure all the homework is done, that the parents understand exactly what the teachers want to communicate to the parents because of the language barrier so we’re truly that bridge between the school and the parents,” Diaz said.

Las Americas accepts students year-round and is completely free for families.

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