Frito-Lay collaborated with LULAC National Educational Service Centers (LNESC) to develop its revolutionary P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program, which teaches digital literacy to Hispanic communities in important markets.
Pathways to Uplift and Empower via Novel Technology and Education Services (P.U.E.N.T.E.S.) is an LNESC growth program that now covers seven cities, including Dallas. The program’s purpose is to create a learning opportunity for families in newly emigrated and first-generation Hispanic communities to gain the required digital literacy skills, resources, and tools.
Families participate in cohorts throughout the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program, where they gain vital skills to flourish in today’s digital world. Access to bilingual education is a constant obstacle to digital literacy for the Hispanic community, which the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. initiative addresses with Spanish-speaking instructors. A grade-school pupil is also paired with an adult family member(s) to demonstrate a secure environment through trust. Students assist their families by participating in the lesson, which also translates into the ability to regularly practice new skills at home.
According to pre- and post-cohort surveys, 51.5% of participants began the program not feeling entirely secure with technology, but upon completion, 100% of participants felt more confident with their usage of technology and navigating their digital device. Each LNESC location that offers a P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program leads three distinct cohorts per year, with 161 participants in the first year. It is expected that 360 participants will finish the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program with additional testimonials of confidence and success in Frito-Lay’s second year of participation.
According to pre- and post-cohort surveys, 51.5% of participants began the program not feeling completely secure with technology, but after completion, 100% of participants felt more confident with their technology usage and managing their digital device. Each LNESC location with a P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program leads three separate cohorts each year, with 161 participants in the first year. In Frito-Lay’s second year of engagement, it is predicted that 360 participants will complete the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program with further testimonials of confidence and success.
Ray de los Santos, director of the LNESC Dallas location, discusses the substantial impact of LNESC’s presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth (D-FW) area and the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program. “LNESC Dallas is currently celebrating 25 years of service in the D-FW metroplex,” he explains. Overall, we serve [over] 185 children through federal funding and many more through collaborations with business partners such as Frito-Lay, which has kindly financed our P.U.E.N.T.E.S. program.” He underlines the importance of this project, which aims to improve internet and computer literacy among parents, in ensuring that parents are active participants in their children’s education. De los Santos emphasizes the significance of this collaboration, adding, “Without this support, our mission of lifting up students would be impossible.”
This newly acquired literacy opens doors to economic opportunities and enables parents to effectively communicate with school officials and other community stakeholders. It empowers individuals by providing them with access to the wide universe of opportunity made available by the internet, bridging the digital gap and enhancing lives in previously unachievable ways. This collaboration goes beyond financial support to include in-kind donations, such as Frito-Lay North America sending printers to LNESC regional offices worth more than $23,000. De los Santos emphasizes how this collaboration has shaped and changed people’s lives, particularly through the P.U.E.N.T.E.S. initiative, which takes individuals and families into the current digital age.