Universidad Popular was brought to life by a group of community
leaders and educators in collaboration with Latinos y Latinas en
Acción in the City Heights neighborhood with the mission of providing
a space where Latino and Latina immigrants could convene and learn.
The program expanded into North County where it has flourished and
continues to grow.
Universidad Popular offers programs throughout North County with the
intent of capturing community knowledge and fostering appreciation for
traditional know-how while strengthening family and community
cohesion. Specifically, we are bringing families together for communal
learning where elders share wisdom about healing, crafts, farming,
cooking, writing, etc. and youth teach technology, physical activity,
multimedia, etc. The goal is to teach living skills and to learn from
each other. For us, it is about building self-reliance in a unique
multi-generational setting and to facilitate hands-on learning
Universidad Popular uses popular education pedagogy; it presents the
material through a culturally appropriate and responsive lens in
English, Spanish and bilingual formats, which resonate with
participants’ histories and lived experiences. We employ Paulo
Freire’s (1970) approach of dialectic interchange and kinesthetic
learning. An essential element to the model is of empowerment and
connecting students’ learning with their role in creating positive
Universidad Popular builds on a resilient tradition of resistance
known as educación popular or popular education, meaning education of
the people. This model of education is most commonly known as a
liberating pedagogy through which an individual becomes aware of his
or her personal experiences and how these experiences are connected to
the larger society.
We cultivate ...
1. Human Right to Education. Provide Academic enrichment to improve
academic learning in the areas of literature, history, political
science, cultural studies, sociology, and criminal justice.
2. Democratic and Social Justice Values. Provide Civic Education to
increase civic knowledge and actual participation in community
3. Human Right to Cultural Life. Provide Cultural Studies, focused on
Chicana and Chicano Studies and Ethnic Studies to strengthen cultural
identity and social cohesion.
4. Human Right to Wellness and a Healthy Environment. Increase
awareness of the connection between health and our environment.
5. Human Right to Work and Economic Justice. Provide Career
development and employment readiness to increase preparation for
employment in 21st century, awareness of vocational and college
opportunities and success of employability.