Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: August

Sixty nine students graduate from the José Martí Child Development Center!

We are proud to announce that a total of sixty nine children successfully completed their final year of preschool and graduated from the José Martí Child Development Center (JMCDC)! This was an especially challenging year with the pandemic. Still, the students worked hard all year long and made outstanding progress in all areas of development (social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language). We are so proud of all of the students, and they are now ready for their next adventure: kindergarten!

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to hold a community graduation celebration as we have done in the past, so the teachers planned safe and creative events for each classroom to honor their graduates. At JMCDC on Beacon Hill, we celebrated our sixty three graduates with walk-up or “drive-through” events where the students received a certificate and gift; and parents could stop to take pictures with their graduates. JMCDC at Hirabayashi Place is decorated with their six graduates’ pictures and artwork and celebrated in their classrooms.

We are so thankful to all of our students and families for your support in helping to keep our program running, and safe and healthy for our students. And mil gracias to ECEAP and Seattle Preschool Program for making it possible for many of our students to attend preschool, as well as the DCYF and City of Seattle subsidy program that provided discounts throughout the year to further support our families. Last but not least, a BIG congratulations to our graduates for a great year — we will miss you all and wish you the best of luck in kindergarten!


Robotics – Bahlam Bots Program

Competition Ready for 2021-2022 Leagues!

Echale Ganas, scholars! Upon completion of the robotics program, scholars received a laptop/tablet duo to support their future academic endeavors.

Normally the Bahlam Bots Robotic program spends the year preparing and then competing in either the First — Lego League or First — Robotics Competition. With this year’s changes to the league, our program shifted to prepare scholars to be competition-ready for the following year. This break from competition allowed scholars to take their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) preparation in a new direction. Which ultimately created a much-needed community. Scholars participated in a number of at-home challenges that focused on mechanical and logical thinking but also worked to strengthen soft skills such as presenting/giving a presentation and public speaking.  For all their hard work, scholars earned a laptop as a means of investment for their future. These future robotics professionals are not only ready to compete next year but are ready for bright careers!


Summer Learning 2021- Federal Way & Seattle, Zoomies meet during first field trip!

Zoomies on Scavenger Hunt

Participants in our afterschool program and newly enrolled scholars entering middle school began this year’s Summer Learning Program on July 2. Fondly name the Zoomies, our scholars have made the best of participating remotely. However, the excitement of getting to go, together on a field trip was physical! Energy and laughter filled long empty halls of El Centro de la Raza, as scholars participated in a scavenger hunt that led them all over the building to learn the story of the over 100-year-old historic building.

Scholars also had a chance to participate in art projects and had a chance to try on archeological hats in exploring minerals and rocks. This became a theme, symbolic of the foundation our scholars exhibited for the rest of the summer.

Although academic classes will continue via Zoom, scholars will have a chance to participate in three more field trips that will ultimately help combat summer learning loss.


Job Readiness Training

Our students, Juana Mas, Dallanary Santos, Andy Castro, and Alessia Manay enrolled in the job training program at El Centro de la Raza’s Business Opportunity Center, have finished their internships with Launch 206! The focus of the program was teaching the participants how to be on-the-water and general seamanship skills. The focus of the program was to help in preparing the students with the skills necessary for careers in the maritime industry. Students gained real-life experience through field trips, guest speakers, and information sessions. In addition, each student received a stipend of $1,000! Check out some highlights of their work here!

Seattle Public Schools is currently transitioning the portal for this year’s Youth Maritime Accelerator program. If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming project please call Danna Villar Cardenas YJRT (Youth Job Readiness Training temp coordinator) Phone number: (206) 887-3574 or email: bocintern@elcentrodelaraza.org.


Tomando Control De Su Salud

Kathlene, a participant in our Tomando control de su salud (Taking Control of Your Health) program, gave us a wonderful testimony of her time with us. She said, “I’ve applied all that I have learned from these classes. The biggest thing I took away from the course was the vital information regarding my health. Along with the information, I also shared my experiences with those around me daily. I was consistently recognized for my progress within the course. I am currently trying to apply all that I have learned in this course and in my routine to improve my quality of life. For this, I give thanks to the people who have formulated this wonderful course and to El Centro de la Raza for all their help.”


Launch and Grow Your Business

Jeanett Quintanilla is a licensed lawyer from Peru and is fascinated with the law and her community. Her passion for serving others continued once she moved to the United States and volunteered at the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington legal clinic. She then became a certified bilingual paralegal in Washington state. Jeanett participated in the entrepreneurship course Launch and Grow Your Business through the Business Opportunity Center (BOC). After graduating from the course, she was given one-on-one business advising through BOC on permits and advertisement online. Now, Jeanett is the owner of Manu Group LLC – a professional services company that offers paralegal, Spanish translation, and empowerment workshop services to the community. To learn more about her business and services, please contact Jeanett at Jeanett@manu-group.com or (206) 778-6407.


Youth Job Readiness Training

Students enrolled in El Centro de la Raza’s Youth Youth Job Readiness Training program finishing up the end of their session

Finding a job can be a challenge for youth. They must determine what careers are available, their interests, and what skills they need to develop. Another problem among youth is the lack of skills, experience, and education that make them eligible for the workforce. The Youth Job Readiness Training Program is tackling these two problems with a solution: training youth about competent job training, financial literacy, internship placement, and academic support for future education. The program runs through the Business Opportunity Center and recruits 15 to 20-year-old high school students to attend a year-long training course. In addition to technical courses, the program teaches students networking skills, presentation skills, and project development.

This year has been a success despite the pandemic—We learned how to be together in a virtual setting. Every Wednesday, we had the opportunity to share not only knowledge but also emotional support. In addition, students also receive field training at partner organizations. As part of their training, one group this year will be building a boat with the Center of Wooden Boats through Launch 206. One student has already finished her internship with the Port of Seattle for a consecutive year, and another one is working with Seattle Goodwill. Also, a group of students is doing their internship at the Consulate of Guatemala and another one with El Centro de la Raza. Some organizations are providing stipends and school credit for internship completion.

So far, the program has succeeded very well in one of its goals: to help youth find employment. Most of our graduates now have jobs or are attending college, a remarkable achievement for our program. Graduates have found jobs in a variety of fields, from construction to customer service. We are happy to see our students enjoy the knowledge and assistance that we provide and how much we can learn from them. As the number of students willing to explore the employment experience grows, we will continue to have more success stories that show the importance of this program in helping to build the Beloved Community.

Please click here to make a donation to support the wonderful work we do to change the lives of children, youth, and families in the community.

Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: July


9 of 10 scholars will be entering high school this fall. All received a serape sash, with their high school graduation class, symbolic of the support El Centro de La Raza will provide these scholars.

Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program & Federal Way Totem After School Program, 8th Grade Promotions!

Since the beginning of 2021, families of the Totem After School Program and Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program have been participating in the ‘Padres Preparados’ workshops series. The workshops provide an opportunity for interaction among different households to create a support system while navigating the middle school years. Understanding that the success of our students is reliant on intergenerational support, the workshop models also build family members’ skillsets such as joining Zoom meetings and understanding the cultural capital they instill in their youth. Workshops are offered twice a month, with the second workshop, titled “Si Se Puede: Roadmap to College” offers caregivers a deep exploration of the pathway towards college. At the end of the series, participants will earn a certificate of completion for their dedication.


The Workforce Program and the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program

Isabella*, who is of Purépecha descent, has always been interested in the history of maritime. Working on boats has always piqued her interest. Through El Centro de la Raza’s Workforce program, Isabella is part of the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program, which the Youth Maritime Collaborative offers. Isabella, whose parents emigrated to the US from Mexico, says the program has given her opportunities to go outdoors and have hands-on learning within the maritime industry while understanding the professional side of maritime and giving her the chance to improve her technical and marketing skills. She wants to be a role model for other girls and women in her community. Isabella hopes to encourage them to pursue higher education or find opportunities that they may think are unavailable. She plans to go off to college herself to pursue a degree in architecture this fall. Isabella is very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program and hopes that these opportunities continue to be available to youth in our community. She believes El Centro does everything possible to ensure that all people can fully participate regardless of language limitations.

*Name has been changed for privacy


Our System Navigators Supports Family Through the Record-breaking Heat

Janice* and her family of 6 live in the Renton area, they were without AC or a fan during the hottest day on record, Monday, July 28th, 2021. Through El Centro de la Raza and our System Navigators, we were able to provide them a $200 Visa Card to cover basic necessities and buy a fan. Our navigators continue in contact with the family to provide them guidance on various programs and assist with meeting their basic necessities.

*Name has been changed for privacy



The future is Latina! Two Federal Way Open Door graduates with their regalia proudly representing their familias & connection to El Centro De La Raza.

High School Scholars & Their Diplomas!

Despite this past year being full of challenges, our scholars at Truman Campus stayed focused on their goals towards graduation. We saw tremendous growth in our scholars as they navigated through this school year; their hard work and perseverance paid off. It was an honor for our team to support scholars along this journey and help prepare graduates for a successful new chapter as they transition into higher education. Congratulations to the class of 2021. We hope success will keep following you in everything that you do!


Youth Job Readiness Training

Finding a job can be a challenge for youth. They must determine what careers are available, their interests, and their skills or need to develop. Another problem among youth is the lack of skills, experience, and education that make them eligible for the workforce. The Youth Job Readiness Program is tackling these two problems with a solution: training youth about competent job training, financial literacy, internship placement, and academic support for future education. The program runs through the Business Opportunity Center and recruits 15- to 20-year-old high school students to attend a year training course. In addition to technical courses, the program teaches students networking and presentation skills and project development.


This year has been a success. Despite the pandemic, we learned how to be together in a virtual setting. Every Wednesday, we had the opportunity to share not only knowledge but also emotional support. In addition to that, students also receive field training at partner organizations. As part of their training, one group this year will be building a boat with the Center of Wooden Boats through Launch 206. One student has already finished her internship with the Port of Seattle for a consecutive year, and another one is working with Seattle Goodwill. Also, a group of students is doing their internship with the Consulate of Guatemala and a different one with El Centro de la Raza. Thanks to these internships, some organizations are providing them stipends for its completion and school credits.


So far, the program has succeeded very well in one of its goals: to help youth find employment. Most of our graduates now have jobs or are attending college, a remarkable achievement for our program. Graduates have found jobs in a variety of fields, from construction to customer service. We are happy to see our students enjoy the knowledge and assistance that we provide and how much we can learn from them. As the number of students willing to explore the employment experience grows, the program will support the community. We will continue to have more success stories that show the importance of this program and the help to our beloved community.


A Message of Success from our Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program

Hello everyone, this is Ileana with Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program, also known as; (YMPEP) for El Centro de la Raza. This is our Success story.

“Our Culture and our Familias”.

El Centro worked with a mini Grant from the KC YMPEP where we had an opportunity to work on an educational project on Marijuana/Cannabis prevention. We worked with Liz and her team Karla and Mimi and had a wonderful turnout. The young scholars are from the Totem Federal Way after School Program & Plaza Roberto Maestas after School Program students– Combined Programming.

Take a peek at one of our modules.

Description:

“Food is sacred for our familias. Recipes are often passed down from generation to generation without thought, it becomes an unspoken tradition. Just as important as the meal, is the conversations held around those meals. For many of our familias, the pandemic has created food insecurities. Many of the meals families once enjoyed have been modified to adapt to what is available within budgets or even from food secured through food banks. To help nourish our families and continue traditions, El Centro De La Raza’s middle school programs in collaboration with Marijuana/Vape Youth Prevention programming will host a week-long cooking session for scholars to learn, cook and converse with their own familias. As part of the unit, youth will first learn about the dangers of marijuana consumption and the challenges that substances have on their development. Through these first sessions, youth will gain talking points to share with their family and reinforce their own understanding. Scholars will then plan a menu for their families based on a curated option from program leaders. Through creating their menu, scholars will practice soft skills of learning steps in following a recipe and learning units of measuring. Scholars will also receive a drop off of ingredients and food staples to create the meal together at the end of the week.”

Scholars have cooked their meals, invited their families to enjoy the meal, and discussed information learned at the beginning of the week. They were very proud. Through this project: the young Scholars were able to support food insecurities, practice soft skills, and learn about marijuana and vape prevention.


Tomando Control de su Salud

Alejandro* recently completed the Tomando Control de Su Salud offered through our Senior Program. He says that the class taught him the difference between good and bad cholesterol and how to control his body. He tells us that the program has helped him change his eating habits and portion control. He thanks the program coordinator Flor for her hard work and the interesting books she provided.

*Name has been changed for privacy

Vaccine Clinics and Health Information

Every two seconds, someone in our community will need blood. In one day, you can make an impact by donating blood. 

In fact, mark your calendar for October 15 at the Bloodworks Federal Way Donor Center to join El Centro de la Raza and give blood together. It takes every person reflective of our diverse community to support a lifesaving blood supply. Sign up today or call 1-800-398-7888.

En un día, puedes impactar nuestra comunidad donando sangre.

Apunte el15 de octubreen el su calendario para unirse con El Centro de la Raza y donar sangre juntos en Federal Way.

Se necesita que todos apoyemos nuestro suministro de sangre para salvar vidas. Regístrate hoy.



Data Supporting Need for a Booster Shot

According to the Centers for Disease Control: Studies show that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less able to protect against the Delta variant. Although COVID-19 vaccination for adults aged 65 years and older remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data pdf icon[4.7 MB, 88 pages] suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms. Emerging evidence also shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is decreasing over time. This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated (e.g., waning immunity) as well as the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant.

Data from a small clinical trial show that a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished their primary series 6 months earlier. With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant.

Covid-19 Notice: APPOINTMENTS AND MASKS REQUIRED. There is no deferral form donation if you receive the COVID vaccine. See our COVID-19 safety measures for more information. SE REQUIEREN CITAS Y MASCARILLAS. Consulte nuestras medidas de seguridad COVID-19 para obtener más información.


Need a vaccine today?

Find a Covid vaccine near you.

We have continued to host vaccine clinics at both our Beacon Hill and Federal Way locations. In partnership with International Community Health Services, Seattle Children’s Hospital, the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle Fire Department, CHI Franciscan Health (Virginia Mason), Adiós Covid, UW Medical Center, and Sea Mar we have given over 1200 vaccinations. We were excited to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from Public Health – Seattle & King County, Director Patty Hayes, Health Officer Jeff Duchin.


It is vital for our community that we all do our part and get vaccinated. Below you will find a quick sheet sharing Myths vs. Facts about vaccinations and a quick sheet on your vaccination rights

El Centro de la Raza voter resources support

El Centro de la Raza believes that making our community heard is vital to our future. Although voting is often an uphill battle for communities of color, we know that voting can be one of the most powerful things that one can do to create change. In 2021 El Centro de la Raza reached out to thousands of individuals with bilingual resources to support our community by breaking down knowledge barriers and promoting access.

Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: June

Padres Preparados’ – Parent Workshops

Since the beginning of 2021, families of the Totem After School Program and Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program have been participating in the ‘Padres Preparados’ workshops series. The workshops provide an opportunity for interaction among different households to create a support system while navigating the middle school years. Understanding that the success of our students is reliant on intergenerational support, the workshop models also build family members skillsets such as joining Zoom meetings and understanding the cultural capital they instill in their youth. Workshops are offered twice a monthly, with the second workshop, titled “Si Se Puede: Roadmap to College” offers caregivers a deep exploration on the pathway towards college. At the end of the series, participants will earn a certificate of completion for their dedication.


El Toreo Tienda y Carniceria

Francisca Pineda, dueña de El Toreo Tienda y Carnicería, asistió una sesión informativa que facilito El Centro de la Raza sobre la beca Working Washington Ronda -4.  El 10 de mayo, ella fue aprobada por una beca empresaria de $12,000 por el Departamento de Comercio del Estado de Washington. La beca la ha ayudado a continuar su negocio.

“El Toreo Tienda y Carnicería le da las gracias a El Centro de La Raza por el favor de apoyarnos en la aplicación. El dinero fue depositado en la cuenta de la tienda y nos esta sirviendo para pagar la luz y renta.”

Francisca Pineda, the owner of El Toreo Tienda y Carniceria, assisted the information session facilitated for the Working Washington – Round 4. On May 10, she was approved for a $12,000 grant for her business from the Washington State Department of Commerce. This grant has helped her business stay afloat – as she is using the funds for business debts and operational costs.

“El Toreo Tienda y Carniceria gives thanks to El Centro de la Raza for their help with the application process. The funds were deposited in our business account and it helps us to pay for our business utilities and rent.”


Open Doors Youth Case Management Program

Our Federal Way Open Doors Youth Case Management Program has continuously addressed participants’ growing needs. With the ongoing pandemic leaving more students and families in need of assistance, staff have provided students with educational support and addressing their basic needs. This month staff focused on personal hygiene and delivered kits to 10 scholars’ homes—kits including body wash, deodorant, lip balm, socks, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Good hygiene is an important part of student’s health, wellness, and self-esteem. Providing these basic essentials for scholars helps them start their day off right. Our goal is also to relieve the stress of having to purchase these necessary items. Scholars are already looking forward to the next supply delivery.


SEA/FW After School Programs

Each month, scholars enrolled in our two middle school after-school programs (The Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program or the Totem Federal Way After School Program) receive a doorstep delivery with supplies, snacks, and educational material. In our last delivery, 50 scholars received snacks and material for April activities, including our Trade Camps & Model UN: Latin American Conference Project. Students love delivery day because they receive their favorite snacks, and it serves as an opportunity to connect with staff members. Each month, youth have a chance to suggest favorite snacks and create a wish list of items they would like to receive. Scholars receive a small but thoughtful gift for those with birthdays in the month. One participant could not be more excited to have received a skateboard. The text message screenshot above demonstrates her excitement and the similar excitement of our young scholars.

Classes and New Program Enrollments – Spanish

¡Clínica Legal Bilingue y Gratis Todavía Disponible para Consultaciones Telefónicos!

Hay clínicas legales bilingues y gratis con abogados voluntarios del Bufete de Schroeter Goldmark & Bender y la Asociación de Abogados Latinos de Washington. Registración por consultaciones es ofrecida basada en la ‘órden de llegada.’ Para pedir consulta: Llame a 206-233-1230 y deje un mensaje con su nombre, número telefónico, y una descripión breve de su situación legal. Los encargados harán lo que puedan a establecer una cita en que ud. puede hablar con un abogado. ¡Espacio es limitado! Haga clic aquí para mas detalles.

Segunda semana de cada mes:
8-12 de febrero; 8-12 de marzo; 12-16 de abril; 10-14 de mayo; 6-11 de junio; 12-16 de julio; 9-13 de agosto; 6-10 de septiembre; 11-15 de octubre; 8-12 de noviembre


SGB y LBAW trabajarán para emparejar a personas con abogados en la semana de la clínica en una fecha y hora que funcione para ambos por telefono. Llame al 206-233-1230 y deje un mensaje. Por orden de llegada.

Puede encontrar una lista de recursos legales adicionales aquí.





Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: May

Robotics Program – Bahlam Bots

The Robotics Program for middle school youth at El Centro de la Raza has been operating via remote platforms since Fall 2020. This month scholars began a unit on coding delivered through a logic challenge demonstrating how computer coding looks in the real world. Through this challenge, scholars are learning the importance of paying attention to the detail of their codes which the robots use as instructions to follow. In our most recent Logic Challenge, scholars provided instructions on cooking a pancake. Instructors then followed the youth’s direction precisely as instructed, and if there were gaps, the pancakes would not come out like regular pancakes. Visualizing these “coding errors” created frustration among scholars, but they could laugh at their mistakes. The picture above is a pancake from a student who requested 1/8 of the butter without knowing how much butter was needed. This was the closest we got to the “ideal” pancake. “


Paola*, Unidos in Finance 2021 Cohort 1: 01/27/2021-3/12/2021

Paola, 25, single, and recently immigrated from Africa to pursue different job opportunities in the US. Laurena was referred to us from another participant. Paola has maintained perfect attendance and has an eagerness to learn. She is the head baker at her current job and looking to use her education in Accounting and obtain more information on the US banking system and this is the reason she joined the program. Paola is currently working on improving her resume and taking the skills learned in the course to apply to banks and credit unions in the upcoming months.

*Name has been changed for privacy.


Open Doors Youth Case Management Program

Our Federal Way Open Doors Youth Case Management Program has continuously addressed participants’ growing needs. With the ongoing pandemic leaving more students and families in need of assistance, staff have provided students with educational support and addressing their basic needs. This month staff focused on personal hygiene and delivered kits to 10 scholars’ homes—kits including body wash, deodorant, lip balm, socks, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Good hygiene is an important part of student’s health, wellness, and self-esteem. Providing these basic essentials for scholars helps them start their day off right. Our goal is also to relieve the stress of having to purchase these necessary items. Scholars are already looking forward to the next supply delivery.


SEA/FW After School Programs

Each month, scholars enrolled in our two middle school after-school programs (The Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program or the Totem Federal Way After School Program) receive a doorstep delivery with supplies, snacks, and educational material. In our last delivery, 50 scholars received snacks and material for April activities, including our Trade Camps & Model UN: Latin American Conference Project. Students love delivery day because they receive their favorite snacks, and it serves as an opportunity to connect with staff members. Each month, youth have a chance to suggest favorite snacks and create a wish list of items they would like to receive. Scholars receive a small but thoughtful gift for those with birthdays in the month. One participant could not be more excited to have received a skateboard. The text message screenshot above demonstrates her excitement and the similar excitement of our young scholars.

9 Stories from the El Centro de la Raza Community

El Centro de la Raza began in 1972. Since then, we have continued to serve as a voice and hub for the Latino community and a support system for communities of color in Seattle. We have grown quite a bit since then, but we keep the same values. Our community means everything to us and we continue to be grateful for the community members who use our services and trust us as they go through both difficult and exciting parts of their live. 2020 was especially difficult for many in our community and we saw even more need for our services. If you are interested in supporting our organization and the services we offer the community, please click the donate button on the top right of our site. A recurring or one-time donation is always appreciated and an valued action. Here are some stories from this last year that we hope will give you a picture of our familia and the work that we do.  

Javier*

People at El Centro de la Raza Care about us, says Javier*, 60, who has been joining us during our Senior lunches since September 2020, after some friends told him about it. He says that the free hot lunch five days a week has helped him emotionally through difficult times. He made a point to mention the care Flor, one of the coordinators of our lunch program, gives to the community. Javier feels the program is like a blessing to him. 

*Name has been changed for privacy

Image Description: Senior in blue sweater smiling in front of El Centro de la Raza building

Hilda & Lourdes

Early on in the pandemic, our Business Opportunity Center staff contacted Sabor Delicioso co-owners, Hilda and Lourdes, with good news to share. Hilda and Lourdes breathed a sigh of relief: the City of Seattle approved their small business to receive a total of $10,000 in funding and mitigate the loss of their income caused by COVID-19. With that money, they: 

  • Paid for food permits and licenses 
  • Paid rent, utilities, and transportation 
  • Recouped their loss in revenue from catering and other events 

Our BOC staff helped Hilda and Lourdes by providing hours of assistance over a conference call to translate and offer guidance in applying for the City’s Small Business Stabilization Fund. El Centro de la Raza’s Business Opportunity Center continues to help small businesses owners with applying to grants and loans. Support Sabor Delicioso and our other food vendors by visiting our plaza. You can find our food vendor schedule here.

Image Description: Photo of Hilda & Lourdes standing in front of their food cart smiling and laughing

Adrian*

Adrian* worked two jobs to meet his family’s needs. Due to the pandemic, he lost one of his jobs and his family of five was significantly impacted. He lost his second job after the Stay Home Stay Healthy Order’s extension. 

Adrian was increasingly stressed and concerned about their situation. He had to somehow make rent, in addition to buying groceries and paying for utilities. Your support of our Emergency Response Fund made it possible to provide Adrian’s family with food and rental assistance. He said, “Mi vida ha cambiado drásticamente por la mejor.” (English translation: “My life has changed drastically for the better.”) 

Adrian feels blessed that El Centro de la Raza understands and meets the community’s needs. El Centro de la Raza is also providing Adrian’s eldest son a laptop so that he can continue his education from home. 

*Name has been changed for privacy

Photo of man in front of El Centro de la Raza

Martin*

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 resource, 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 could not 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 additional income but were in dire need of financial support as they had medical expenses and housing and food expenses. Due to the language barrier, technology barrier, and limited ability to read or write, the family had difficulties accessing relief resources. 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

Image Description: Photo of Elizabeth in front of computer

Elizabeth

Elizabeth, originally from Colombia, started her tax services business United Enterprise Tax Services 10 years ago. With the help of the Business Opportunity Center (BOC) of the Center de la Raza, she was approved funding for her business under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This government aid program provides funding to businesses impacted by the COVID-19. Elizabeth happily continues her business operations and serves her community due to these funds. For her services, please contact Elizabeth via email: uetaxes@gmail.com

“It is great labor and excellent work that you [BOC] and el Centro de la Raza are doing for our community. May God bless you! 

Elizabeth, originalmente de Colombia, comenzó su negocio de contabilidad e impuestos United Enterprises Tax Services hace 10 años. Con la asesoría del Centro de Oportunidad de Negocios del Centro de la Raza, fue aprobada para recibir fondos de ayuda empresaria por parte del Programa de Protección de Pago (PPP). El programa gubernamental proporciona fondos a empresas impactadas por COVID-19. Elizabeth felizmente continua su negocio y sirviendo su comunidad con la ayuda de los fondos. Para sus servicios, pueden contactar a Elizabeth por correo electrónico: uetaxes@gmail.com

“De verdad es una maravillosa labor y un excelente trabajo el que usted y el Centro de la Raza están realizando ayudando a la comunidad. ¡Que Dios les bendiga! 

Sandra*

Sandra*, who emigrated from Venezuela 3 years ago, says she approached El Centro de la Raza seeking information about resources that will help me succeed as I face the reality of living in a new country. Sandra enrolled in the Business Launch and Grow and the First Time Homebuyers webinar, both trainings offered by our Business Opportunity Center. She says that she was pleased by the level of commitment, clarity, and knowledge of her instructors. She is now that every training that El Centro de la Raza provides leaves a seed of knowledge and wanting to continue learning and growing. She emphasizes the value of finding people to guide you when you are adjusting to a new language, culture, and education. Since joining these trainings, she has been sharing about the opportunities El Centro de la Raza provides to her circle of friends.

*Name has been changed for privacy

Our José Martí Child Development Center

Our teacher at José Martí Child Development Center reads a story in Spanish for the children who are following along from their homes. Click to watch how we are engaging young children at this time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eazipYwkkBI.

It has been amazing that José Martí Child Development Center has continued its work through the pandemic. In August we celebrated our brilliant youth graduates with Pizza, Cupcakes, gifts, and most importantly, their diploma!

Totem After School Program

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 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. The lessons offered during the cultural enrichment segment are providing youth a social justice framework. 

Image Description: Totem after school participants with El Centro de la Raza sign.

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 own stance to say no to vaping and encourage their peers to also steer away from the dangers of vaping. We are very proud of them both! Here are is one of our scholar’s entries: 

Image Description: Photo of student project poster with headline Vaping is Not Cool

Piedro*

Piedro*, 67, who says he found out about El Centro de la Raza’s senior lunch program, has been joining us for hot lunch in September. He says he is happy to part of the community that is present for lunch. Piedro also mentioned how coming to the lunch program has helped him with other resources, most notably support with signing up and getting his COVID-19 vaccination. Piedro has enjoyed the other activities the lunch program has for seniors during the 11a-1p M-F schedule, including dancing and painting activities. El Centro de la Raza offers 43 programs and continues to be a resource hub for the community.  

*Name has been changed for privacy

El Centro de la Raza’s Continues Community Support with Vaccine Clinic at Federal Way Offices

Earlier this month, El Centro de la Raza hosted another vaccine clinic, this time at our Federal Way offices. We are excited to reopen our Federal Way offices soon, but until then, we are happy that we can have a vaccine clinic on site and continue to show the support we hope to provide the LatinX and all communities in Federal Way. To find your phase, you can go here. Our clinics are equipped with translators, doctors, and volunteers to support with any questions or concerns. It’s important for everyone to get the vaccine when it is their phase to protect our community and loved ones. Jay Inslee has announced that by April 15th everyone in Washington above the age of 16 will be eligible for the vaccine.

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Support Us By Taking These Acciónes: April

Support Bill HB 1550

We encourage our fellow community members to show their support/importance of bill HB 1550 by writing an email to Rep Frame, Washington State Legislature – Rep Frame, or other finance committee members, Finance Committee Members and Staff (wa.gov).

Read testimony from El Centro de la Raza staff to Rep Frame and to Rep Pollet. Check in on the bill’s progress here.

With the COVID pandemic starting to be on the dismay, schools will soon begin to open at full capacity. What does this mean for parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and guardians of children? Children can easily be peer pressured to engage in new acts that may not be the best choice, such as smoking/vaping. It is no secret that there is a growing vaping pandemic amongst youth. One in three high school students in Washington reported vaping in the last month, and this number is on the rise! It is a delicate time in their lives, as we know children are very impressionable, especially during adolescence. Children could get a hold of money to buy these products and figure out how to purchase them if they become addicted and want them. What is a step in deterring our youth from purchasing these products aside from cessation/prevention education? Imposing a higher tax rate on these products could make them more expensive and more difficult for youth to possess the funds to purchase.

There is a current house bill in the legislative session proposed to help prevent youth smoking/vaping use. The proposed bill is HB1550, Washington State Legislature – HB 1550 Info, and offers an excise tax that would be a massive resource in our efforts for Nicotine prevention & cessation. The taxed items would be tobacco vape products that have become popular amongst youth/young adult usage. The taxes collected from this bill would adequately fund public health by directing all money collected to go towards nicotine and substance use prevention, cessation, enforcement, education, and foundational public health services.

At El Centro de la Raza, we continue to reach out to our LatinX community members to raise awareness about tobacco & vaping and the effects these products are having amongst our community members. We have developed youth prevention power-point presentations and collaborated with Latin Youth organizations to spread our tobacco-free message and why. These presentations and information are given in both Spanish & English to reach as many members of our LatinX community as possible in our culturally related efforts to fight against tobacco use & addiction amongst youth and young adults. Our culturally related efforts are reflected in our collaborated work by attending legislative meetings related to youth tobacco use, prevention, and constant training to keep our skillset up to date in youth tobacco prevention. The money collected from taxes would help organizations like El Centro de la Raza continue to succeed in their fight for tobacco cessation/prevention.

As a parent of two middle school-aged boys, I cannot stress the importance of education, cessation, and prevention resources on Nicotine, whether it is vaped or smoked. I do not believe there is a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent out there that wants their loved one to become addicted to a substance, let alone one that we know is the leading cause of preventable death in the world!


King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program Proposal for Allocating Rent Assistance Funds to BIPOC Community Based Organizations

King County received approximately $145M in federal funds to provide rent assistance to very low-income households (below 50% area median income) who are adversely impacted by COVID and at high risk for eviction. In response to feedback from BIPOC leaders in King County, King County is adjusting the Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) to provide funding to Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to support their communities. To do this effectively, DCHS will rely on the guidance and expertise of larger BIPOC CBO’s to support investing and building capacity in smaller organizations.

Proposal

· In 2021, King County (KC) will allocate approximately $30-45 million in rent assistance funds to CBOs to support BIPOC communities. Due to the County budget process, this may occur through multiple funding rounds.

· Using a “hub and spoke” model, KC will provide grants of approximately $3 million dollars to 10-15 primary “hub” organizations. Per federal requirement, of this money, $2.7M could be used for rent assistance; $300K for administrative and operations costs.

· Hub agencies then contract with smaller “spoke” organizations to provide support to their communities.

· All hub and spoke organizations will need to comply with federal requirements.

· King County will support the hub organizations with training, learning circles, and ongoing technical assistance to ensure that federal program requirements are met. The hub agencies would in turn support the smaller spoke agencies in meeting these requirements.

· There may be a possibility of expanding the program if additional funding is allocated to King County later this year.

Next Steps

· Partner with BIPOC leaders to refine model.

· Through KC required procurement process, identify 10-15 organizations with the capacity to serve as hub agencies.

· Create a survey that potential hub organizations can use to guage interest and service capacity of spoke organizations.

· Accept applications from hub agencies detailing plans for contracting with spoke agencies and meeting federal requirements.

· Allocate funds


Working Washington’s Pay Up Campaign

Gig companies have been expanding rapidly throughout the pandemic. At the same time as they’re making their executives into billionaires, they’re getting away with paying as little as $2 a job to the people who do the work. Here’s 3 things you can do to support Working Washington’s Pay Up Campaign and help raise pay for tens of thousands of people in our city:

  • Build the coalition: Share our sign on with other people and organizations. (Need more information? Let me know! Happy to share more detail about the policies we’re fighting for!)
  • Spread the word: Share our worker survey with any delivery drivers & other gig workers you may know to help us make sure the policies we’re advancing are grounded in workers’ needs.
  • Help make gig workers a priority at City Hall: Send a quick personal message to your city councilmembers and the mayor, letting them know that raising pay in the gig economy is a priority! 

Essential Workers Graphic

To achieve the pandemic recovery we ALL want to see, we must ensure that everyone is included in it. That means ensuring that we stabilize our workforce by protecting immigrants serving as essential workers and providing them with an earned path to citizenship. We must honor and protect those who have spent so much effort protecting us by keeping our hospitals running, stacking our grocery shelves, and cleaning our homes and offices.

We call on the Biden administration to commit to including a pathway to citizenship for essential immigration workers in the president’s Build Back Better recovery package.

Let’s truly “build back better” by stabilizing our workforce and families.


Health care should be available to all, regardless of immigration status.

Access to affordable health care is particularly crucial now, as underlying inequities have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Immigrants and communities of color are disproportionately contracting, hospitalized for, and dying from COVID-19.

Urge your lawmaker to ensure the state budget includes funding for health care services for uninsured and underinsured people regardless of immigration status