Tomillo starts its ‘Summer School’ to alleviate the consequences of Covid19

An initiative that will continue for one year through the ‘School of Opportunities’.

The Tomillo Foundation has designed and launched the ‘School of Opportunities’ program, aimed at alleviating the consequences of Covid-19, which will be developed over the next 12 months. Its objective is clear: to combat absenteeism and school dropout rates among young people between the ages of 6 and 18, a trend that has increased significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Summer School will last for 5 weeks starting on June 29th and will benefit about 300 young people and their families. It will contemplate both online and face-to-face education, combining both to the extent that the health situation allows. The School will have the collaboration of some 50 educational centers in the southern periphery of Madrid, located in the districts of Usera, Villaverde, Carabanchel, Latina, Vallecas and San Blas, Tomillo Foundation’s area of influence.

This summer, through the School for Families, a program of accompaniment and development for fathers and mothers is being offered. With children from 0 to 18 years old and after a situation of confinement, families need more than ever to generate an educational space at home, through habits, routines and work on socioemotional competencies. This competence development is the key for the family nucleus to be a positive and stable space. Thanks to a specialized socio-labor orientation team, families who have become unemployed as a result of the crisis will be able to receive support.

Ángel Serrano, general director of the Foundation, points out that the Tomillo Summer School goes far beyond a series of activities at a specific moment at the end of the school year. It is the beginning of a real School of Opportunities, which for a whole year will accompany these young people between 6 and 18 years of age from a comprehensive intervention model, in which educators, counselors, teachers, schools and families form a real learning community, which causes a different, fairer and more equitable education and school for ALL”..

After the summer, the Opportunity School itself will begin, which will run until June 2021, also with a ‘blended learning’ educational format, i.e. combining virtual and face-to-face education. The School of Opportunities will serve more than 400 young people and their families during the entire next school year, involving about 100 schools in southern Madrid.

With these initiatives, the Tomillo Foundation aspires to overcome the obstacles that Covid-19 has posed for education and thus strengthen the connection with the more than 1,600 users who, through various programs, both in formal and informal training, are currently part of the institution.

The Summer School will have a team of about 50 educators and more than 60 volunteers who will work in a coordinated manner in a semi-face-to-face intervention model based on collaboration for the design of content, programming of activities, support to teachers in the classroom and accompaniment of children in their daily tasks. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the following form here.

This initiative is possible thanks to the support of institutions such as the Community of Madrid and Tomillo’s usual collaborating companies such as J.P. Morgan and the “La Caixa” Foundation, through the program “La Caixa”. CaixaProinfanciaGenerali, committed to improving the quality of life of children and young people in vulnerable situations, and Generali, whose collaboration will enable the implementation of the ‘School for Families’, aimed at supporting households with children between 0 and 6 years of age affected by this health and social crisis.

Emergency Fund

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tomillo Foundation has launched its ‘Tomillo Online’ program to fight the digital divide, and has created an Emergency Fund that has improved the situation of 526 families. This fund has made it possible for 337 children and young people to receive a digital device (laptops, tablets and cell phones), 228 new Internet accesses have been provided and, finally, 109,000 euros in aid has been distributed to alleviate the immediate needs of families in precarious situations.

The aim of all these actions is to continue fighting to close the academic gap for children and young people in the southern periphery of Madrid, to which has now been added the digital gap, which further deepens the social and labor shortages suffered by these families. Compared to relatively acceptable statistics for the Spanish population in general, in which only 5 percent of students do not have a computer at home, in the case of boys and girls linked to Fundación Tomillo this figure rises to 50 percent.

In terms of early school dropout, Madrid had a dropout rate of 31.2 percent among children of mothers with no education or, at most, primary education, a figure that has fallen by 5 percent in recent years at the general level, but has paradoxically increased by more than 7 percent among the most disadvantaged families. No less than 70 percent of school absenteeism in the Community of Madrid is concentrated in the southern neighborhoods of the capital. Spain, in fact, is the EU country with the highest rate (17%) of early school dropouts.

The 230 professionals and more than 529 volunteers that make up the Tomillo Foundation are part of the so-called ‘social sector’, which in Spain comprises some 30,000 organizations committed to the task of fighting inequality in all its aspects, something that is especially important in difficult times like these.