Empowerment by Assimilation

Official Dosomething.org Project

The Problem

My project, Empowerment by Assimilation, aims to assist Latinos and Hispanics in the Guilford County area, one of the fastest growing Latino communities in the United States. The main goal of this project is to aid in Latino assimilation into their new community, but recently the project has expanded to include the distribution of emergency information in Spanish. So far, these goals have been accomplished through the creation of a Spanish conversation night, where English speakers came to practice their Spanish skills in order to better assist Latinos who come into their place of business. This event was held at the Jamestown Public Library in Jamestown, NC. I also initiated an English conversation night at a local church, Our Lady of the Highways Catholic Church in Thomasville, NC. This church has a very active Latino congregation, many of which are not fluent in English. I created a night for them at their church so they could practice their English skills in a comfortable environment with people they knew. I created discussion categories such as in the workplace, at the grocery store, and at school (for conversing with their children). There are plans to make this a regular event at Our Lady of the Highways. I also created a bridge between the High Point Public Library and Guilford Technical Community College. In conjunction with those two entities, I arranged for a local ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) class tour of the local library. Forty-five students received an in-depth tour of the library’s many resources, and the majority have registered for and used library cards since. This tour was so well received with the students that Guilford Technical Community College has decided to make this a semi-annual event with each of their ESOL classes. Realizing that most Latinos do not have the proper emergency information, I made arrangements with the Red Cross to distribute Spanish emergency preparedness pamphlets to a local Hispanic church, Christ the King. I am also currently in the process of distributing fifty Spanish-to-English emergency cards to every community college in the state. These cards contain Spanish-to-English emergency phrases such as “I’m bleeding,” “I’ve been in an accident,” and “I’m having a heart attack.” The part of my project that will probably make the most impact on my community has been the fruit of a partnership with the North Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association. Through this association, I have been able to obtain a sticker to be placed near every gas pump in the state of North Carolina conveying in Spanish, English, and a picture that kerosene is not to be used as a heating device.

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