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Nebraska coach helps immigrant families foster positive relationships

By KETV Staff

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — “Why not do this? My question is, ‘Why not create that engagement piece?” said Leticia Crisman.

For nearly nine years, Crisman has done just that with hundreds of families, who’ve come to the Latino center of the midlands each Thursday.

These classes didn’t exist before Crisman arrived in 2012

Parents find a support group through the ‘nemi-list-li’ program, for the whole family ‘pathways to success’ helps relatives foster positive relationships.

“We started the first group and we were successful because we started with 25 patients,” Crisman said. “We have already graduated more than 150 parents in the program because the length of 16 weeks is a big commitment.”

Crisman says she understands the struggle many of her students face. Born and raised in Mexico, she taught for 14 years before moving to Omaha in 2008. Here, Crisman found working-class parents juggling a new culture.

“Hard-working people — they want the best for their children, it’s why they came here,” Crisman said.

She also noticed children may carry some trauma because of that adjustment.

“The parents don’t trust the system — parents already deal with a lot of issues, behaviors and communication with the schools,” Crisman said.

Crisman says in her role as coach, she also wants to empower parents to be as active as possible in their kids’ academic path. Crisman is grateful not only to earn students’ trust, but to see them realize their potential because someone made the effort to care.

“Open mind, thinking so that is what I do: invest the time and learn from another’s, too,” Crisman said.

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