“La Semilla is fun, exciting, and everyday there is something new to learn about. I like to hang out with my friends there.”
- Geovanni L. 8th grade student at Gary Elementary School


Since 2001, La Semilla (the Seed) at New Life Centers has provided after school programming and education to students in the Little Village community. Each day the students are provided a nutritious meal, help with their homework, tutoring, reading instruction, character development lessons, gym time, art, cooking classes and technology time. Our program nurtures a safe environment for all children, recognizing the need of many of our youth to experience a respite from violence in the neighborhood.

We seek to instill a sense of community in our youth, help them feel a sense of pride in their neighborhood and inspire them to envision a bright future for themselves. As they learn new skills, they feel competent and capable; as they collaborate with peers, they build positive relationships and pro-social skills; as they exercise and play sports, they increase their physical health and reduce their risks for lifelong health problems like diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

“We are La Semilla. We are seeds of hope planted in Little Village rooted in God’s promise of restoration. Together we rest in God’s shade, knowing the sun will not harm us by day, not the moon by night. We are La Semilla.”

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program hours in 2020 including e-learning

A Holistic Approach

The student groups are broken into two pods (1st grade – 4th grade and 5th grade – 8th grade) that rotate through each of the activities each day. We provide a staff member to run each of the activities so each staff member will work with both classes of students each day. This leads to better relationships with all of the students and more collaboration between staff in providing the best care and education for each student involved in the program.

Our program includes a wide variety of special activities on a regular basis, ensuring children have access to new experiences and broadening the scope of careers they can envision for the future; we incorporate art, literary, bible lessons, technology, and character and leadership development. In addition to the social-emotional components of our programming, we focus on homework help and academic enrichment to support our students. La Semilla seeks to equip youth to succeed in school and outside of school, in their current daily lives as well as into the future.

Monday-Friday, 3-5:30pm

Contact Us


Jazmine Valdez

Jazmine Valdez

La Semilla Director
Megan Pawlak-Bodett

Megan Pawlak-Bodett

La Semilla Program Instructor

Osvaldo Hernandez

La Semilla Program Instructor

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