We believe that a comprehensive strategy to promote wellness in any community must also target the social determinants of health. To this end, we offer several health education programs led by and for community members; maintain broad-based community-level education about the COVID-19 pandemic; and run a full range of educational programs for youth ages 3-18 and their families.

Youth Education

Puentes de Salud Education programs foster multilingual, intergenerational teaching and learning spaces that nurture creativity, exploration, and cultural connection and support youth and families to recognize and exercise their power in the world.

Our youth education programs span:

  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary & Middle School
  • High School

At present, we are actively working on transforming our youth education programs; we aspire to the following mission and are growing our work towards this end – Puentes de Salud Education programs foster multilingual, intergenerational teaching and learning spaces that nurture creativity, exploration, and cultural connection and support youth and families to recognize and exercise their power in the world. Puentes de Salud’s Education programs currently serve youth ages 3-18 and their families through the following out-of-school time programming:

Education Programming Examples

Puentes a las Artes

(Bridges to the Arts)

We realize this program in partnership with the Barnes Foundation and with support from the William Penn Foundation’s Informal Learning Initiative. Through this program, we work with emergent bilingual learners ages 3-5 and their caregivers and use art to grow children’s early literacy skills in Spanish and English. After-school program sessions include interactive read alouds, art observation, and art-making that all foster conversation and shared creative exploration. This program also includes weekend family art and literacy workshops at the Barnes Foundation for program families as well as visits to the Barnes’ Free First Sunday events open to families both from this program and from the larger South Philadelphia Latinx community. The Puentes de Salud Education and Arts & Culture branches work together with our partners at the Barnes Foundation to create this program.

Puentes Hacia el Futuro Education Programs

(Bridges Towards the Future)

Puentes Hacia el Futuro (PHF) enhances our community’s health and wellness by providing innovative educational programming to children ages 3 to 18, and their families. As education is the most important social determinant of health, we address long-term health outcomes at their source. Puentes Hacia el Futuro provides year-round programming for students and their families. We offer after-school programming, adolescent programming for girls and boys, adolescent soccer team, Dragon Coders STEM, in-class Kindergarten support during the school day, early childhood education, and a combined summer camp and literacy program.

Pedagogy of Love Blog post 2017

To apply for internships in our Children’s Education programs please visit our volunteer page.

Lanzando Liderez Adolescent Program

Lanzando Líderes (Launching Leaders) is a community-based, afterschool youth leadership program for Latinx high school students located at Puentes de Salud. ​We believe that each student has a unique ​camino ​(path) to explore and pursue. Our program supports students in their development as young leaders by fostering cultural pride and identity, building knowledge and skills, and​ ​promoting​ ​personal​ ​wellbeing. For more information please visit

Puentes a las Artes – Early Childhood Development

Partnership Announcement:

Museums, parks, libraries and other community destinations are important places where children naturally – and informally – make new discoveries, deepen their interests and engage in learningPuentes de Salud is pleased to be one of 18 nonprofit organizations involved in a new, community-based initiative to connect these critical, informal learning opportunities with children and families in low-income neighborhoods. The Informal Learning Initiative will design and deliver fresh, literacy-rich opportunities in eight Philadelphia neighborhoods where parents, or other caregivers, and their children can experience creative play and discovery geared to developing early literacy skills – vocabulary, oral language, writing and comprehension skills. The programming also includes site visits to the museums involved in the initiative.

Puentes de Salud is pleased to partner with The Barnes Foundation for this two-year initiative, funded by the William Penn Foundation, to take early learning programming directly to families in ways that not only engage children, but also involve adults as active participants by building their skills to support language and literacy learning at home.

Puentes a las artes/Bridges to the Arts offers emergent bi-lingual learners an opportunity to develop cognitive, linguistic, and visual literacy skills and to support adult caregivers in developing additional strategies and activities to reinforce and extend learning at home.  This project will serve over 200 emergent bilingual PreK children ages 3-4 from South Philadelphia’s Latinx immigrant community.  Young learners will learn new vocabulary and ways to decode and construct meaning from what they see and hear. Activities include direct instruction using an art-based curriculum, family programming, and museum access.

The project includes weekly after-school instruction with a bilingual (Spanish/English) art-based curriculum, community-based family workshops at Puentes de Salud, and family programming at the Barnes Foundation. The project is tailored to address barriers that prevent Latinx immigrant families from regularly accessing quality, early childhood education programs, as well as one of the city’s major cultural institutions.”

After-School Tutoring and Mentoring Program

We offer a robust, literacy-focused after-school program for the children of our community in grades K-8 at Southwark School. Puentes Hacia el Futuro supports our students’ growth through a multi-faceted, strengths-based approach to education and child development. Tutors and mentors guide students through the academic process and engage them in a variety of educational activities, from reading and board games to outdoor play. A commitment to bilingualism and pride for our students’ rich Mexican heritage grounds our work, allowing each student to develop a strong sense of identity and positive self-esteem.

Summer Literacy Program

Each summer we engage our rising 3rd-7th grade students in a rich 6-week literacy camp program. This program enhances our students’ bilingual literacy while preventing summer academic setback. Our innovative curriculum selects a theme for each of the weeks, including food, nature, immigration, music, and superheroes. We pair these topics with a reading and writing focus, ranging from poetry to journalism to persuasive writing. Each week, students read and discuss award-winning bilingual children’s literature while learning writing techniques that they can use in their own work. Themed weeks end with a field-trip to extend learning to a hands-on site!

Dragon Coders STEM Program

A team of Puentes de Salud volunteers started the Dragon Coders computer coding and literacy initiative at Southwark School in 2014. The group utilized innovative software that teaches kids the fundamentals of coding in a fun and tangible way. Hands-on curriculum modules teach students to re-create their favorite games, like Flappy Bird and Minecraft.  Dragon Coders offered after-school small group coding for three years and reached many students during the school day as part of supporting the school curriculum. In 2018 Dragon Coders joined the Puentes Summer  Literacy Program!

Please check our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates on active volunteer roles. We generally recruit new education volunteers in August/September, January, and late spring.

For general questions or inquiries about Puentes de Salud’s youth education programming, please contact Renny Perla Director, at For questions regarding volunteer opportunities, please contact Maria Arreaga, Program Supervisor, at or Gaby Martinez