Project Cornerstone

Welcome back, families and schools to the 2022-22 school year!

This month, we are discussing :
René Has Two Last Names by René Colato Laínez.

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This book promotes assets 34-Cultural Competence and 41-Positive Cultural Identity. The author tells the story of René, who moves from El Salvador to the United States. René has two last names which represent his mother and father’s families. His classmates make fun of him for having such a long name. René is proud of his names and intentionally uses his family tree homework assignment to stand up to the bucket dipping and explain the significance of his family names.

We discussed how each of us has a personal identify filled with feelings, beliefs, and cultural traditions and customs. There are many cultures represented in our community.  When we learn about other cultures, it promotes understanding of others.  When we explain our culture to others, it also promotes understanding of differences. So like René, we need to learn about others, as a way to build empathy and tolerance. 

Join in the discussion with your child

We hope you will talk with your child tonight about your cultural heritage:

  • Discuss with your child where his/her name originated from. Does it have a meaning? Does your child have a second last name?
  • Share or explore the origin of your family’s last names with your child.
  • Ask your child if someone has made fun of his/her name or cultural traditions? If so, explore ways to handle such situations.
  • Look at family pictures with your child while discussing your family’s heritage or cultural background.
  • Help your child make a family tree.
  • Enjoy eating foods from other countries. Learn about the country-its location, traditions, and customs. (Pupusas and horchata were mentioned in the book. Eating Salvadorian food  from a local restaurant might be a good place to start.)

By teaching our children the importance of accepting others and sharing our cultural heritage, we create a stronger community where all students feel safe and know that they belong. 

Read more about Project Cornerstone

For over 20 years, Project Cornerstone has partnered with Silicon Valley schools, parents, and community organizations to deliver programs, trainings, and services that support youth to develop the social and emotional skills to grow into responsible, caring, and healthy adults who feel valued, respected, and known. Our children, families, and adults in our communities need support in social and emotional well-being, now more than ever.

If you would like more information about the ABC program, please contact Mari Ueda-Tao. The ABC program also promotes the 41 Developmental Assets. To learn more, visit the Project Cornerstone web site

Become an ABC Reader


Parent Teacher Association – Palo Alto, CA