Liberty University’s medical school hosted an outreach event in January for homeschooling families to give them an overview of Liberty’s medical program and tips for applying. The event was organized with the help of HSLDA in an effort to reach Hispanic, Black, and military homeschooling families.
Natalie Mack, HSLDA’s Military Outreach Coordinator and High School Educational Consultant said the event illustrates the demand for homeschool students at institutions of higher education. “Higher education is saying, ‘We want to know more,” she said. “‘We want to interact.’”
When Liberty’s College of Osteopathic Medicine decided to reach out to the Hispanic homeschool community, they contacted Karim Morato for help. She is HSLDA’s Hispanic Outreach Coordinator and a homeschool mom from Guatemala.
Karim was very excited about Liberty’s generous and welcoming approach toward Hispanic homeschoolers, and as she began helping plan the event, she realized that other homeschool communities might also benefit.
“So, we invited the Black and military communities,” Karim said. “We created a fiesta!”
While the Liberty staff equipped parents to help their teen apply for a medical degree at Liberty, HSLDA’s Outreach team established connections with homeschool leaders and conducted workshops to provide them with practical advice.
“Equipping homeschool leaders is important so they can share resources and practical tools with other homeschool parents in their communities,” Karim said.
Karim, Anita, Natalie, and Clarisa also emphasized the unique needs of the Hispanic, Black, and military homeschooling communities, and the special challenges they face, in order to equip leaders in the homeschooling community to address them.
“And in this case, we not only equipped leaders, but also the Liberty staff!” Karim said. “Now Liberty’s medical department understands more about homeschooling and the specific needs of homeschoolers.”
The importance of higher education
Karim described why she was so thrilled to learn about Liberty’s event.
“Events like these are very important, because they equip Hispanic homeschool parents to prepare their children for college,” she said. “Higher education for Hispanic families is fundamental. For many of us, it has changed our lives.”
Karim believes Hispanic families need to know that higher education is possible, and that HSLDA can equip them in planning their teens’ college journey during high school.
“Hispanic homeschooling parents who want to help their children prepare for college don’t always have the information or resources they need to do so.”
Karim was encouraged to see that Hispanic homeschool leaders at the event not only learned how to equip parents in their communities, but also left better equipped to prepare their own kids for college.
Several homeschool leaders from Puerto Rico told Karim how glad they were to be able to attend. “They understood that it takes a lot to prepare a Puerto Rican teen for college admissions in light of the limited guidance on college preparation available to them. So we’ve scheduled a meeting to keep training them in the college application process,” Karim said. “If you equip a leader, you equip the whole community they serve.”
Luz Velázquez, a Hispanic homeschool leader from North Carolina also expressed gratitude to Karim. “Attending Liberty’s event reinforced my belief that being a minority is not an obstacle to reaching all of our goals and educating our children about the importance of higher education,” Velázquez said.
The power of connection
Another takeaway for Karim was witnessing leaders make new connections and solidify existing connections.
She described how she re-connected with a Chicago co-op leader whom she’d met at a previous homeschool conference. That connection led the HSLDA Outreach team to participate in a couple of Veritas Academy high school workshops hosted in inner-city Chicago in early April.
Both Karim and Clarisa were the main speakers at the event, titled “Homeschooling: High School Transcript and Beyond.” They were able to give educational advice on creating a high school transcript, planning for college, and navigating the college application process.
“This kind of collaboration is what we had hoped would come out of the Liberty event,” Karim said.
Natalie also witnessed the significance of in-person connection at the Liberty event.
“As you look around the room, you get to see them, they get to see you, listen, have a conversation, find out each other’s needs when you invite them into the space or even go into their space—you change the dynamics,” she said. “It creates a lot more synergy. A light bulb goes on.”
Anita witnessed this as well. One night, after speaking at the event, a couple of Hispanic leaders approached her describing exciting growth in their groups and asking for her help navigating some cultural clashes that had popped up.
They asked her if HSLDA could help, and she told them she would follow up later.
“Because of HSLDA’s willingness to enter into Liberty’s event, I saw the power of connection very clearly,” she said.
“HSLDA is in a pivotal role right now that can open even more doors,” Natalie added. “We all knew on paper why we were attending, but being there in person and seeing what was happening—seeing God show up—was really amazing. And other leaders attending shared the same experiences.”
After the success of this event, Liberty’s College of Osteopathic Medicine decided to sponsor both a 2023 national homeschooling conference in Spanish in Florida and the Hispanic meet and greet taking place at the 2023 Home Education Association of Virginia convention in June.
As a result of this new relationship between Liberty’s medical school and HSLDA Outreach, Karim said Liberty is connecting with homeschool leaders and their communities.
“When HSLDA Outreach partners with these organizations, we build bridges,” she said.
Photo credit: All photos courtesy of Karim Morato and Natalie Mack.