June 2022 – Cuentos from Our Work

Felicidades to Graduates from El Centro de la Raza!!

Graduation is always an exciting time at El Centro de la Raza. From 8th grade promotion to high school graduation, scholars enrolled in our youth services programs are celebrating their accomplishments.

Latina/o Excellence is the main theme for the season. This year, all graduating scholars received a sarpe graduation stole, serving as a reminder that our cultures are part of our success.

For our middle school youth promotion, their graduation stole says ‘Class of 2026’. This is no error. Our hope is that this sash will serve as inspiration for them to reach high school graduation.

Inevitably the question comes up, what are you going to do next?

For Kimberly, a senior from Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way, the answer is, “Right now, I just want to live in this moment, soak in this celebration. There was a time that I didn’t know if we would have a ceremony, so just being able to walk the stage is a moment I want to remember forever!”

Our Work Study Program at El Centro de la Raza

The work at El Centro de la Raza would not be possible without the brilliant Work Study students from our community.  They bring a renewed sense of possibility and energy and rejuvenate organizations by bringing the latest research.

This last quarter, we benefited immensely from the relentless work of two Work Study partners in the field of Social Work who helped our development department.  They worked in our procurement efforts to secure gifts to auction for our major fundraising event, the Beloved Community Gala, and later they focused on supporting our communications efforts, to tell the stories of our work. 

Marla Perez and Juan Galvez, we are so grateful for your work and applaud your work in the community and the visions you hold for the community work you will continue to do! Congratulations on your graduation and attaining your Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington!

Juan Galvez

To Juan, El Centro de la Raza’s fifty years of work is “a testimony of real change, fueled by empathy and good will.”  El Centro’s work is not only about serving the community, it is the community.  For him, letting the multiracial, and especially the Latinx community, know what services are available to them was a big motivator for working with El Centro de la Raza. It also inspires Juan by showing him what is possible- his goal is to create a non-profit organization that supports immigrants in King County.

Juan was born and raised in Michoacán, Mexico and migrated to Washington when he was 16 years old. He attended high school at Lake Chelan, graduated from Western Washington University with a double major in Sociology & Spanish in 2018, and completes his Masters of Social Work at the University of Washington this June.

After graduation, he will be working for the Department of Children Youth and Families for the upcoming two years.  Thereafter, he will start working as a school social worker and plan the development of a non-profit organization that will support undocumented Latinx immigrants in King County.

Beyond his work, we asked Juan to tell us something that would surprise people about him.

“I am a singer and song writer that has music in all streaming platforms! I am also currently a part of a group called “Los Preferidos del Ejido,” a new project that includes multiple talented musicians from all over the state of Washington.”

Marla Perez

Marla chose to work at El Centro de la Raza because the organization is committed to serving and empowering the individuals and communities. She wanted to learn about the organization’s efforts and support in raising awareness about their services so that as many people as possible could access their programs and resources. 

“What I find to be really unique about ECDLR is that they take different approaches to address systemic issues causing inequality and oppression while simultaneously supporting the people impacted by it.  ECDLR takes a holistic approach to support their employees, community, and society and I truly admire all that they do.”

Marla was born in Compostela, Nayarit and raised in Bothell, WA by a single mother with the help of all her siblings. Her love for her mother, sisters, and family has given her the strength to work towards supporting her community and her family. She completed her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from Western Washington University, while working for C2C a mentoring initiative. After graduating, she worked as a sexual assault therapist at Consejo Counseling for two years. This June, she graduates with her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington. 

In Marla’s experience, ECDLR encourages self-care, compassion, accountability, initiative, activism, respect, community, and empowerment. Those are all things she believes in and strives to incorporate into her own personal and professional life. Through her life experiences, she has realized the significant effects of the systemic and internalized racism in our society. She has also seen how much damage the lack of access to information, resources, and community can have on children, individuals, and families. Marla says, “I am now committed to empowering, supporting, and advocating for children and families who have experienced trauma and connecting them to the necessary information and appropriate services to promote their healing, stability, and success.” 

 Beginning this summer, Marla will be working for DCYF as a child and family welfare social worker. After completing her contract with them, she would like to eventually have her own practice serving survivors of trauma, specifically within the Latinx community. 

Something people might be surprised to know about Marla is that I travel every chance she gets! “After studying abroad in Spain when I was 19, I haven’t stopped. I loved Italy and would love to live there for a short period at some point of my life, maybe after a learn more of the language!”

Dental Health- A Community Effort

We would like to thank everyone for their partnership with this first event of the King County Adult Dental Program (KCADP) for our most recent dental clinic!

We scheduled 12 patients– the maximum we were allowed to schedule ahead of time! We had a total of 7 walk ins, four of which we were able to accommodate, and an additional three we referred to our public health dental clinics.

Folks were also enrolled into Apple Health (Medicaid), the Breast, Cervical, Colon Health Program (BCCHP) and distributed Orca Lift cards! We are grateful to volunteers and our community partners who made this possible!

Thank you once again.

Have a magnificent day!