Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: April

Marisa*, 77, is one of our senior lunch program’s longest-standing participants. She has been joining us for lunch since 2004 or 2005 since she met Raquel, one of our program coordinators. Marisa has also supported the community by volunteering with our food bank and with other senior programs. She says the program has helped her with many parts of her life and she has met many people over the years, being part of this community. Marisa is a great example for our community and a wonderful member of it. We appreciate her support, her presence, and the love she brings with her.

*Name has been changed for privacy

Latino Legislative Day 2021

On March 17, 8 middle school youth from the Totem After School Program attended Latino Legislative Day Leadership workshops. To their surprise, the workshops were completely led by high school youth. Among the topics discussed were discussions around anti–Blackness in Latinx communities, mental health, and environmental justice. As youth left the workshop, they shared with the facilitators, “I learned A LOT today, I’m glad I was here”. During reflections the next day in the after school program, youth wanted to know how they could get to that level, “How do I facilitate a workshop like them when I grow up?” youth were reassured, they are already capable and on track to lead their own workshops. During the cultural enrichment segment, the lessons offered are providing youth a social justice framework.

A story about El Centro de la Raza & The Plate Fund

Since March 2020 El Centro de la Raza has been partnering with the Schultz Family Foundation to distribute funding to restaurant workers impacted by the pandemic through The Plate Fund. The Plate Fund is a one-time funding source of $500 Visa gift card that can be utilized in any store to purchases necessities like food, or even for things like online payments for utility bills or rent. During the pandemic, the restaurant industry was incredibly unstable due to the constant closing and reopening of businesses due to the changing restrictions and phases. Many restaurant workers lost income due to the businesses shutting down, to severe reductions in hours, or even contracting COVID-19 forcing them to take time off work. The pandemic has shown us how difficult it is to navigate resources, however many restaurant workers also had to deal with the language barrier that they faced when they tried to find any assistance or aid.

One participant, in particular, called El Centro de la Raza and told staff that they were rejected from many other organizations and were in desperate need of support. This participant, Martin Sanchez*, is a 70-year-old man who was not able to work as a result of his age and diabetes making him at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. His daughter was also laid off from Mcdonald’s in early March and had not been able to find work since then. Both father and daughter had exhausted the last of their savings and sold their car for further income but were in dire need of financial support as they had medical expenses as well as housing and food expenses. Due to the language barrier, technology barrier, and limited ability to read or write, the family had a difficult time accessing resources for relief. Our staff at El Centro de La Raza was able to work with them to get Martin’s daughter qualified to receive a $500 Visa gift card to the Plate Fund and referred them to receive rental assistance as well.

*Name has been changed for privacy

Vaping is Not My Thing Contest

Through an interdepartmental partnership, youth from the Plaza Roberto Maestas After School and FW Totem After School Program were invited to submitted entries to the Scholastics’ “Vaping is Not My Thing” contest. To enter the contest, participants had to create an infographic poster targeted to their peers and informing them of the dangers of vaping. Two youth of the Plaza Roberto Maestas After School program were able to submit entries. Through the process, both scholars developed their stance to say no to vaping and encourage their peers to steer away from vaping dangers. We are very proud of them both! Below is one of our scholar’s entries.