Youth Development2021-06-29T14:43:25-05:00

Youth Development

N.A.Z.A: Nashville After Zone Alliance

The NAZA mission is to expand quality after school learning opportunities for middle school youth in Nashville.

We offer the NAZA program for middle school students at Metro Nashville Public Schools Middle Schools. This program is designed to engage Latino students in fun and exciting hands-on activities including culturally responsive literacy, arts, and science, while also providing tutoring and homework assistance.

About our NAZA students:

  • Of the students participating, more than half of them are English Language Learners.
  • Our program has participants at all grade levels (5th-8th grade)
  • We meet Monday- Thursday

The typical two hour programming includes a snack, 45-60 minutes of interactive academic support (tutoring, homework help or other engaging activities) and 45-60 minutes of enrichment activities (music, science, guest speakers and more). During the COVID-19 pandemic, our program is meeting virtually with 30 minutes of optional homework support time and an hour of enrichment programming.

Students are encouraged to learn, create, and imagine through many different activities like arts and crafts, games, music, science projects, community service opportunities, field trips and more.

For questions about the NAZA program, please contact Maria Paula Zapata.


“Escalera: Taking Steps to Success” is a free after school program that promotes economic mobility for immigrant and refugee youth by supporting educational attainment, college planning, and access to information about professional careers. The program is delivered through weekly cohort meetings for any first-generation college student (regardless of background) in 11th and 12th grades at select high schools.

Our team offers:

  • Individual Case Management
  • Leadership Development
  • College & Career Exploration
  • College Trips & Info Sessions
  • Information in Spanish & English
  • Support with college applications
  • Support with scholarships
  • FAFSA Assistance
  • Specialized advising for DACA/undocumented students

We are currently implementing the Escalera Program with 11th and 12th grade first-generation immigrant and refugee students at Glencliff, Overton and Cane Ridge High Schools. In Spring 2021 we are accepting juniors at Antioch High School; interested students should apply here.

Eighty-eight percent of students who have enrolled in this nationwide program developed by UnidosUS have successfully completed the program and graduated from high school, compared to 73% nationwide for Hispanic students (Pew Hispanic Center). Of those Escalera graduates, 87% enrolled in postsecondary institutions (compared to 44% nationwide for Hispanic high school graduates).

For more information about the Escalera Program, please contact Maria Paula Zapata.

College Success

Escalera Grads is a college level continuation of Escalera that follows Escalera students through their college career and continues providing the support they need to achieve their educational and professional goals.

Our team provides:

  • 1:1 Coaching Support
  • Personal Development
  • College & Career Exploration
  • Job Readiness Training
  • Parent Workshops
  • Information in Spanish & English

Events and coaching for first generation college students from partner high schools and the wider community.

Contact Linly Stowe for more information.

Youth Development Specialist

In the fall of 2018, Conexión Américas and Overton High School began a one-of-a kind partnership to serve recently arrived Latino immigrant students.

The Youth Development Specialist is a full-time Conexión Américas staff member who is on-site at Overton High School providing specialized support to students. The YDS works closely with school administrators and staff to support efforts related to students’ sense of belonging, academic progress, socio-emotional wellbeing, and attendance.

If you are interested in a partnership to bring this position to your school, please contact Maria Paula Zapata.

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