Latino Network Night with the Blazers was a Success!

We had an amazing time last week at the Moda Center celebrating Latino Network Night with the Portland Trail Blazers. From the pre-reception in the Rose Room with the Hillsboro Youth Mariachi catered by Cha!Cha!Cha! to our Corazones Alegres youth dancers performing at halftime, October 26th was a night to remember.

A true highlight of the evening was that it was one of the few times that the Blazers starting lineup was announced en español! ¡Buen hecho Pepe Morosco!

We’d like to thank all of our staff, volunteers, and the Blazers Community Outreach team for making this event possible. Together we raised over $2,000 at the 50/50 raffle!

Enjoy some photos from the night and see our full album on Facebook.

Photography by Bruce Ely with the Trail Blazers

Ballet Folklórico Helps Youth Learn About their Heritage

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As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we must make it a priority to teach our next generation that who they are and where they come from is celebrated and loved - this is what our Arts & Culture programs aim to do in our community. 

With this in mind, we’re happy to say that one of our youth dancers from Corazones Alegres was featured in an Americans for the Arts blog post!

Gema Huizar Rios, an 8th-grade dancer in Corazones Alegres, talked in the blog about how the program helped her get in touch with her heritage and become proud of her cultural identity. 

“For someone who is Mexican American, arts education is very important because it helps me learn about who I am and who my family is. And for me, my family is unique and full of culture,” she said. 

We are incredibly happy to have programs like these that help our youth be proud of who they are! Thank you Gema for your kind words about Ballet Folklórico!
 

Noche Bella 2017 was a HUGE Success!

Last Friday, September 22, we hosted our fifth-annual gala, Noche Bella, at The Nines Hotel. From live music and performances by Edna Vasquez, our Corazones Alegres youth dancers, and Dina y los Rumberos to delicious food catered by Tamale Boy, Noche Bella 2017 was definitely a night to remember. 

We are SO happy to report that we exceeded ALL of our fundraising goals for this year! 

This beautiful night wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support from our sponsors, attendees, and staff. We would especially like to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Legacy Health, for their amazing support and dedication to our cause. 

Click here to see a full list of our 2017 sponsors!

“We are incredibly thankful to our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and all of our familia for making Noche Bella possible. Events like this gala and people like you are the reason why we keep doing what we do,” said our Executive Director Carmen Rubio.
 

We would also like to thank The Nines Hotel for hosting us in their beautiful ballroom, A to Z wines for donating all of the wine for the night, and all of our amazing staff who put in long hours to pull off our biggest party of the year. 

This year, we decided to show our attendees what their donations mean to our organization with touching videos of some of our program participants:

This year’s celebration was telling of what we can do when we come together - in a year where we have faced adversity and bigotry, Noche Bella was a night that reminded us of the power of community.

We can’t wait to see you all next year! Vamos adelante familia!
 

Noche Bella is Just Around the Corner...

Now more than ever we must stand together and advocate for our communities, and Noche Bella is a perfect reminder of the power of unity and love in the face of of bigotry and hate. As we prepare for our annual gala, we especially want to thank all of our generous partners, sponsors, and donors for their incredible support and dedication.

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Presenting Sponsor: Legacy Health continues to play an integral part in providing medical services for all communities in Portland and to serve low-income communities and communities of color. We are incredibly proud to have their partnership and sponsorship for 2017!

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Gold Sponsor: Our Gold Sponsor has been a trusted partner with Latino Network for years - Prosper Portland focuses on building an equitable economy, especially for communities of color and those who have been historically underserved. We are honored to have their sponsorship to help empower Latino and immigrant communities.

 

THANK YOU SPONSORS FOR YOUR HELP AND DEDICATION TO OUR COMMUNITY!


Each year, we also honor individuals who have made lasting contributions to the Latino community with the Aguila Award. This year we are proud to award two Oregon legislators with this honor: State representatives Diego Hernandez and Teresa Alonzo Leon.

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Diego Hernandez is the youngest legislator serving in the Oregon Legislature. Growing up in East Portland and as a first generation Latin-American, Diego has worked as a community organizer since he first elected to the Reynolds School Board at age 25. In his first legislative session, Rep. Hernandez championed legislation that focused on immigrant rights, education equity, criminal justice, renters rights, reproductive justice, and other social justice issues.

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Teresa Alonso Leon was elected to represent House District 22 in November of 2016 and is currently serving in her first term. As the daughter of migrant farmworkers and an immigrant to the United States, Teresa grew up in House District 22, attending schools in Gervais and Woodburn. Teresa previously worked for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission as the High School Equivalency and GED Administrator working to give ensure that every Oregon student has the education that they need to succeed.

 

CONGRATULATIONS DIEGO AND TERESA! WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE YOU BOTH AS REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR COMMUNITY AND LEGISLATORS IN OUR STATE.


Attendees will also have the chance to win some amazing auction items and roundtrip tickets to a destination of their choosing provided by Alaska Airlines.

 

It’s shaping up to be an amazing night - We can’t wait to see you there!

 

VOZ ALTA: AMOR EN LOS TIEMPOS DE GUERRA WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!

Voz Alta was born out of love and wanting to be heard and seen, and it’s only fitting that we return to that theme during this time of adversity in our country. My hope for the show this year was to bring people together to celebrate our identity as a Latino community: We are love, we are hope, we are strength.
— Joaquin Lopez - Creator of Voz Alta and Arts and Culture manager at Latino Network

Thank you to all who attended last week’s Latinx storytelling event that celebrated the Latino Community - Voz Alta: Amor en los Tiempos de Guerra was a huge success!

For nine years Voz Alta has mixed true stories, live music, and poetry to create a theatrical performance celebrating Latino/a/x stories. Actors perform the narratives in English while musicians perform songs related to the narratives in Spanish. This year was something special because Voz Alta returned to the theater where it all began - Milagro! 


THE STORIES

Anabertha Alvarado was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. As a child she cared for her siblings. She entered the man dominated world working her father’s lands. She rebelled, fought, and cried. Ending in an unknown country with the man she loved, she gave her life to this community. Now she is a mother of 4 children, 2 stepchildren, widowed, and remarried. “I love and am loved. With faith, hope and courage I share my story.”

The part of Anabertha was performed by Nurys Herrera

Dawn Joella Jackson is a mother, an educator and a dancer. She is from New Mexico and Colorado where her families have lived for generations. She and her partner are celebrating 20 years together this week! She is currently the principal of Helensview, an alternative school for students ages 12-21. She loves Joaquin and is honored that he tells her story!

The part of Dawn was performed by Sasha Neufeld.


ENJOY THESE PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW!
 

Thank you to the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, and PDXLatinXPride for making Voz Alta possible.

 

Click here for the full program and to learn more about the cast and crew!

Comprehensive Sexual Education Programs Funding Cuts: The Fight Isn't Over

In adverse times such as these, we often feel like we’re fighting an uphill battle. From members of our community being detained by ICE, to allies being killed or hurt for standing up and doing the right thing, our community and others like us face bigotry and fear everyday. And, unfortunately, our national government often reflects this intolerance.

At Latino Network, we will continue to fight for equality, choose love over hate, and stand up for our community - regardless of the circumstance.

ACT is a crucial program for our community: Comprehensive sexuality education provides young people with the tools to make informed decisions and build healthy relationships, and encourages healthy family communication about sexuality.

On July 14, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified the Multnomah County Health Department that it will cut the last two years of a five-year Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), even though the federal budget for fiscal year 2018 has not been finalized. This program has the dual goal of reducing rates of unintended pregnancy and STIs among African American, Latino, and Native American young people.

Latino Network was one of 5 local organizations to receive the news that this funding - a total of $6.25 million over five years - will come to an end two years early. The program, called Adolescents and Communities Together (ACT - the local TPPP for Multnomah County), provides culturally relevant comprehensive sexuality education to approximately 3000 young people and 200 parents each year in Multnomah County.

So, how will funding cuts affect the program and its participants? The answer is unsettling: Latino Network and our partner organizations need to find alternative funding in order to make ACT possible.

ACT is a crucial program for our community: Comprehensive sexuality education provides young people with the tools to make informed decisions and build healthy relationships, and encourages healthy family communication about sexuality.

Cuts to programs like ACT will take this away from thousands of young people and families across the country, including those in our own community in Portland.

Latino Network and our partner organizations will have to search for funding elsewhere for ACT, the local TPPP for Multnomah County.

Latino Network and our partner organizations will have to search for funding elsewhere for ACT, the local TPPP for Multnomah County.

The future of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs (TPPP) like ACT is still unclear. Many lawmakers from the Pacific Northwest - including Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Earl Blumenaeur (D-OR), and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) - have openly condemned this preemptive decision, saying that it will put young people and women at risk and that it goes against evidence-based policymaking.

Needless to say, although many lawmakers are fighting to keep TPPP in the national budget, Latino Network and our partners are nonetheless taking the steps to prepare for the worst and search for funding elsewhere. We remain committed to this work because the science and evidence for programs like ACT are clear: Providing young people with comprehensive sexuality education and access to birth control does not increase sexual behaviors. Rather, it empowers young people to make healthy and responsible decisions for when they do become sexually active.

Comprehensive sexuality education is a basic human right. And although we are devastated about this recent setback, we will continue to fight to make programs like these possible for all young people and families in our community. We will also continue to inform you - our familia - about updates regarding sexuality education funding.

 

Summer 2017: Ninth Grade Counts Feature

In the spirit of summer, sunshine, and getting ready for school, we’re featuring our high school preparation program, Ninth Grade Counts.

This program is meant to help students prepare for ninth grade - from practicing good attendance to focusing on improving reading and writing skills, this program sets students up for success and introduces them to a community of mentors and other like-minded youth that they can be involved in.

Students earn .5 high school elective credits for the program upon completing a writing sample at the end of the summer. This writing component helps students focus on the writing skills they will need to start high school, and it allows them to explore a topic of interest throughout the summer. For example, the writing topic this summer asks students to explore their ideal careers and the goals they need to set to get there.

“Students hesitate at the idea of going to “summer school,” yet it doesn’t take long before they realize how much they’re enjoying it,” said Ana Muñoz, one of our School Based Programs Managers.

Madison High School Ninth Grade Counts students huddle up after a Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinic.

Madison High School Ninth Grade Counts students huddle up after a Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinic.

This is because even though the students may be practicing writing and good attendance, they also get to do fun activities and field trips throughout the summer. A group of students got to visit the water amusement park Wild Waves, while others got to tour local colleges and universities, and some of our youth even got to participate in Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinics.

Indeed, we’re excited to help students get excited about school while encouraging them to explore their own Latino culture and heritage. Ninth Grade Counts is meant to help students succeed - and we’re happy to report that this summer the kids are getting off to an excellent start!

We can’t wait to see what these youth will do during high school! ¡Vamos adelante jóvenes de NGC!

Thank you to Portland Public Schools, Parkrose School District, All Hands Raised, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Multnomah County and AT&T for their partnership and contributions in making this program possible.

 

Happy Fourth of July from Our Family to Yours

Friends and Family,

As we get ready to honor our American story of Independence in the midst of a challenging time, let’s remember who we areas a community during this holiday: lets recognize ourresilience, honor our diversity as strength, and love one another for who we are as Americans.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines Independence and Independent as “the state of being independent”, “not subject to control by others” and “a desire for freedom.” It’s true that many of us bring American stories of our families leaving their countries to search for freedom; or honoring that our indigenous brothers and sisters had, for generations prior to colonization, freedom on their land that we continue to occupy.

Independence Day is a celebratory day for lighting fireworks, eating delicious food, and being with loved ones, and for many of us it is also a reminder of our strength, resiliency, love and hope. It’s a reminder that many of us – the undocumented, those in poverty, and those targeted by bigotry - are still not truly free from fear and separation.  This is why today we must recommit ourselves to our good work, to unity, and to the liberation of all communties. We all deserve this to be our Independence Day.

From the Latino Network Family to yours, we’d like to wish you a Happy 4th of July!

 

Gracias,

Carmen Rubio y La Familia de Latino Network

 

photo: partie traumatic

Employee Spotlight: Guadalupe Bojorquez

Every once in awhile we like to feature one of our awesome team members who is on the ground doing amazing things in our community. This month, we are dedicating our Employee Spotlight post to Guadalupe Bojorquez - a Community Education Worker on our Early Childhood Programs team.

Guadalupe has 16 years of experience working in early childhood education.

Guadalupe has 16 years of experience working in early childhood education.

Guadalupe is a part of the Community Education Worker team (called “Creciendo Juntos,” or CEW), which helps provide culturally specific resources to families with young children in the Portland-Metro area. We sat down with her and asked her about her experience at Latino Network and working in Early Childhood programs:

Where are you from? How did you your career path lead you to Latino Network?

I’m from Mexico. I started participating as a mom Early Childhood programs and later got offered to be a volunteer by Christine Taylor. From being a volunteer, I got offered a job from Latino Network and currently I’m a Health Worker and an Educational Promoter for the program Creciendo Juntos (CEW).

Describe your work at Latino Network and Creciendo Juntos. How long have you worked in this field?

I work with families who have children from newborns to three-year-olds. I help families develop develop parenting skills to help their kids connect with the educational and health resources available for them, and I have a little more than 16 years working with early education. 

What is a success story that you’ve had with families/individuals who you’ve helped while working for Latino Network? 

The greatest joy is to see the families adapt to the educational and health system of this country. It gives me great pleasure to see a child learn how to first hold a Crayon properly so that they can draw their stories. 

Any other details that you believe are important?

I would like to thank all of the people who have believed in me and in the work that I do because it has made me into the person that I am today. First I want to thank my mother, Christine Taylor, Ruby Ibarra, Sadie Fiebel, Carmen Rubio, Noelle Wiggins and Lupe Campos. I hope to continue serving my Latino community. 
 


Thank you Guadalupe for being such an inspiration to the Early Childhood team! Your hard work and dedication has impacted the lives of so many families and children!

Keep up the amazing work! 
 


2017 Graduation Feature - Congrats to all of our Escalera Grads!

Of all of our Escalera students who graduated from the program in 2016, 100% went on to enroll in colleges or technical programs. 

This year, we’re optimistic that our students will achieve the same results. 

Because it’s graduation season, we thought it would be fitting to feature all of our amazing students who have worked hard this year to achieve their dreams. Not only will they graduate from high school, but many of our Escalera students have also worked hard to enroll in colleges or technical programs and start amazing careers after earning their degrees. 


The Grads

Madison High School:

Youth Engagement Specialist/Mentor for Madison: Lorena Mosqueda

  • Felipe Jimenez
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Film Studies
  • Monica Matias
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Social Work
  • Jaqueline Landa
    • Portland State University | Major - Education
  • Laura Melendez
    • Portland Community College | Career - Family & Human Services
  • Marcos Mitchell
    • Mount Hood Community College | Career - Car Technician
  • Gloria Niño Luna
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship | Career - Nursing
  • Victor Arteaga
    • Mount Hood Community College | Career - Car Technician
  • Diana Sanchez
    • Lewis & Clark University | Kaiser Permanente Scholarship, Diversity Scholarship | Career - Nursing
  • Joseph Torres Ortiz
    • Portland Community College
  • Janie Villacis Perez
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship
  • Amy Alvarado
    • Lewis & Clark University | Hispanic Metropolitan Scholarship 
  • Beiry Caamal
    • Portland Community College
  • Esmeralda Calderon
    • Wellesley College (Boston, MA) | Career - Medical Sonographer
  • Evelyn Can Vazquez
    • Pomona College | Pomona Scholarship | Major - Social Work
  • Karina Carbajal
    • Portland Community College
  • Maria Cazaraez
    • Portland State University | Ford Scholarship
  • Erick Contreras
    • Portland Community College
  • Carlos Diaz
    • Portland State University | CECLC Scholarship | Major - Ethnic/Chicano Studies Education
  • Giovani Santiago
    • Portland Community College
  • Erick Gonzalez
    • Portland Community College | Marathon Scholarship
  • Daniela Hartman
    • Warner Pacific College | Career - Medical Field

Benson High School

Youth Engagement Specialist/Mentor for Benson: Orlando Gaeta

  • Keyla Leyva Francisco
    • Oregon State University | CECLC Scholarship, Hispanic Metropolitan Scholarship, OSU Scholarships | Major - Business
  • Emilio Najera Torres
    • Portland Community College | Career - Architecture & Design
  • Moises Resendiz
    • Portland Community College or Construction Apprenticeship | Career - Construction
  • Jose Rojas Salazar
    • Undecided - PCC or MHCC
  • Caroline Soria-Ruiz
    • Portland State University | GANAS Scholarship | Graphic Design
  • Diana Tuz Bojorquez
    • Oregon State University | I Have a Dream Scholarship, Hispanic Metropolitan Scholarship, CECLC Scholarship | Major - Business
  • Jazmin Anicua
    • Portland Community College | Major - Early Childhood Education
  • Cristofer Gomez
    • Undecided - PCC or MHCC
  • Edgar Agaton
    • Undecided - Either PCC or MHCC | Career - Architecture & Design 
  • Erin Carillo
    • University of Oregon | CECLC Scholarship, UO Pathways Scholarship | Career - Architecture & Design
  • Melissa Garcia- Gonzalez
    • Undecided - Either PCC or MHCC | Career - Architecture & Design 
  • Suleidi Gonzalez
    • Western Oregon University | CECLC Scholarship, WOU Diversity Scholarship | Career - Nursing 
  • Francisco Hernandez
    • Mount Hood Community College | Sponsorship with Subaru | Career - Car Technician
  • Samantha Hernandez
    • Clark Community College

 

 

 

 


Roosevelt High School

Youth Engagement Specialist/Mentor for Roosevelt: Agustin Torres

  • Jose Moreno

    • Portland State University | GANAS Scholarship, Diversity Scholarship | Major - Social Work

  • Karen Gurrola

    • Portland Community College, will transfer to Concordia University | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Nursing or Teaching

  • Maria Perez

    • Portland Community College

  • Pascuala Siquina

    • Portland State University | Career - Pediatrician or Immigration Attorney

  • Juan Pablo Ayala Zamora

    • Portland State University | Pauline & Harold Bryan Scholarship | Major - Mechanical Engineering

  • Sheila Romero

    • Oregon State University | Bridge to Success Scholarship | Career - Veterinarian

  • Jonathan Diaz

  • Alma Moo

    • Concordia University | President's Scholarship, Student Innovation Award, Concordia Grant | Major - Nursing

  • Andrea Rangel-Limon

    • Portland Community College | Career - Nursing

  • Brenda Nieves

    • Portland Community College | Career - Pediatrician

  • Carlos Vargas

    • Portland Community College | Career - Chef

  • Daisy Hernandez

    • Portland Community College

  • Fatima Rios

    • Concordia University | Tuition Waver | Major - Nursing

  • Jose Gonzalez

    • Portland Community College, will transfer to the University of Oregon | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Sports Marketing


Congratulations to all of our Escalera graduates! We’re so excited to have been a part of your amazing journey, and we’re so excited to see what you all accomplish in your bright futures!

Five Years of Latino Leadership: Congratulations to Unid@s Cohort V!

Video: Lara Media

For the past five years, Latino Network has worked with community members from around the state to cultivate leaders within the Latino community. Since the start of Unid@s for Oregon, 10% of all participants have pursued an elected public office, and 6 alumni have successfully been elected or appointed to public office.

This year we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Unid@s for Oregon by congratulating its fifth cohort to alumni status – Welcome to the family, Unid@s Cohort V! Congratulations on all of your hard work and dedication!

On Saturday, May 6, we graduated another class of Unid@s Latinx leaders. Since October, members of Unid@s Cohort V have been meeting regularly. From learning about personal transformation and attacks on leadership from Nanci Luna Jimenez to visiting Oregon Shakespeare Festival and meeting with MacArthur Fellow and playwright Luis Alfaro, they have been busy! 

Members hail from around the state and from all sectors. Indeed, in a time when our communities most need our voices to be heard, these Unid@s leaders aim to be on the forefront of change and transformation within and for their communities.

"It was truly a transformational experience to learn, grow and share with Unid@s C5 Cohort this past year. Through the year we had various sessions across the state and each presenter, trainer and guest speaker added a layer of significance and impact to the experience of each participant. Vamos Adelante Unid@s Cohort V. "

If you're interested in learning more about Unid@s or seeing the full Cohort V member list, check out our Unid@s webpage!

Enjoy some snapshots from the graduation ceremony and the alumni gathering! Congrats Cohort V!

Thank you Ecotrust for letting us celebrate in your beautiful space!

Thank you Ecotrust for letting us celebrate in your beautiful space!

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First Year of Ollin: Social Justice Film Series is a HUGE Success!

We would like to thank everyone who came and supported our first annual social justice film series at The Hollywood Theatre! The Pan’s Labyrinth, Salt of the Earth, and El Norte screenings and discussions were an incredible opportunity to share Latino stories with our communities, our partners, and our allies. We are always grateful to be able to connect with the community.

Together, we were able to raise $2,000 to support critical programs for our Latino youth and families!

The goal of this series was to connect people through a common passion and theme: Leadership and Social Justice. Thank you to all our speakers and moderators who helped facilitate rich discussions: Commissioner Nick Fish, Maria Elena Campisteguy, State Representative Diego Hernandez, Andrea Valderrama, Serena Cruz, and Joaquin Lopez.

From discussing sanctuary city policies with Commissioner Nick Fish and the resilience of Latino communities with State Representative Diego Hernandez, to the issues surrounding healthcare in minority communities with Former Commissioner Serena Cruz, Ollin Films helped attendees relate themes in art and film to current issues within our community in Portland.

Enjoy these photos from the last film in our series, El Norte, with a discussion led by our own Arts & Culture Manager Joaquin Lopez and Former County Commissioner and Executive Director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation, Serena Cruz!

Thank you SO MUCH to the Hollywood Theatre for hosting this amazing series! We can’t wait to see you at Ollin Films next year in 2018!

Latino Network Collaborates on Two Bills in Oregon Legislature

Join us to support culturally specific early learning! 

We are excited to announce that we are collaborating on two early childhood education bills in the Oregon Legislature this session! 

 HB3069 will create a fund for culturally specific programs focused on early learning. And the other priority (does not have a bill number yet) will create a certification path for Community Education Workers based on the Traditional Health Worker certification model. 
 
We have been meeting with lawmakers and will be testifying on the bills in the coming months. We have also hired our first lobbyist to help us work with partners and lawmakers!


If you're interested in supporting HB3069, you can join us for a hearing on Tuesday, April 18 at the State Capitol or by submitting written testimony! 

 

HB 3069 - Early Childhood Equity Fund
April 18, 2017
1:00 - 3:00 (please arrive no later than 12:45)
Hearing Room D of State Capitol


The bills

1) HB3069 - Early Childhood Equity Fund

Families and children of color are a large and growing part of Oregon’s early learning community – 36.5% of all births in Oregon are babies of color! Yet, too often they do not have access to culturally specific programs.  Just 16% of Latino children have access to Head Start in their community. 

Oregon funds many amazing early childhood programs with state dollars, however, only a small number of programs are eligible for this program. Given the growing population, more needs to be done to serve our children of color. 

Nonprofit organizations with culturally specific programs are most prepared to meet this need. Programs like Juntos Aprendemos at Latino Network and many other culturally specific programs across the state have a track record of supporting school readiness and family stability. 

This bill will create an Early Childhood Equity Fund, dedicated to funding culturally specific early learning services. If the Oregon Legislature passes this bill, it will be an important step in closing the opportunity gap for our children of color. 

2) Certified Early Childhood Community Education Worker

In the past two years, our Community Education Worker project has seen tremendous results! Today, people who work with young children – from child care providers to preschool teachers to home visitors like our CEWs – are increasingly recognized for their professionalism. 

We know that training for these early learning providers is critically important. Past efforts, however, have focused on pushing early learning teachers to earn associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and certifications at community colleges. 

These pathways are admirable, but they leave many professionals behind. Home visitors, community education workers, family advocates, and others don’t have a path for professionalization. 

And for people of color or anyone who does not speak English, who face historical barriers in accessing higher education and career training, the difficulties are even greater. 

This bill will create a certification program for Community Education Workers, modeled after the existing Oregon Traditional health Worker training program. This will ensure opportunities for professionalization while removing other barriers. 


Want to learn more or submit a written testimony? Contact Sadie Feibel Holmes, Director of Early Childhood Programs.

Congrats to Cambio Cafe!

It was amazing seeing our latest project in Gresham City Hall come to life last week! The Grand Opening of Cambio Cafe represents Latino Network's efforts to help start youth's career paths in a positive way. Not only will this coffee cart help teach them important business skills, but they will also learn what it takes to operate a business and have something valuable to put on their resumes. 

Here are some photos of the big day!

Employee Spotlight: Debbie Cabrales

Debbie has been on the Family Stability team since summer of 2016.

Debbie has been on the Family Stability team since summer of 2016.

Every once in awhile we like to feature one of our awesome team members who is on the ground doing amazing things in our community. This time, we chose a Latino Network employee who has been working hard to help families achieve their dreams.

Debbie Cabrales is a Family Stability Program Coordinator and works for our Community Based Programs. Since she came on board in June, Debbie has worked with countless families to help them with rental assistance, education, employment, and achieving their goals for their children.

We sat down with Debbie and asked her to give us a snapshot of what it’s like to be a Family Stability Program Coordinator:

Q: Where are you from? How did you get into your career path?

I am from Woodburn Oregon. I started this career path when I started going to school at Western Oregon University. When I first went there I thought that I wanted to go into Criminal Justice, but once I took a sociology class, it changed my views and I realized that I wanted to help people and that my passion was in working more directly with the community.

Q: What is your family history or heritage?

I feel that being a first generation Hispanic/Latina woman has helped me a lot. All of the sacrifices that my parents have gone through for my siblings and I have really opened my eyes in a lot of ways. My parents came to this country from Mexico wanting a better future for my siblings and me, so when I think about motivation I think about my parents and how everything that they did for us is not going to waste.

Q: What’s your job at Latino Network like?

I meet with community members and families when they need the most support and hope. In doing so, I assist them in meeting their goals to reach stability, provide support with their education, employment and housing, and I also discuss goals for their children’s education and achieving student success. 

Q: What is a success story that you've witnessed with the people you've helped while working at Latino Network?

One of the families that I work with had just moved here from out of state. As soon as I met the family, both the parents and children were extremely hopeful and wanting to do better.

While the mother worked, the father went out looking for apartments and would submit applications, and at the same time pick up and drop off kids at school. And soon after, they had been approved for an apartment and were on their way finally being able to have a place to call home.

The family was able to celebrate the holidays in the comfort of their own home, and see their children be able to open up presents. These were things that to the family seemed like it would be impossible for it to happen. Now the family is doing great and keeps being positive, they never lost hope and were able to fulfill their dreams and make them a reality.

Q: How does your team at Latino Network help engage the community?

We do more than just help with rental assistance. We help families by trying to build relationships in order for them to have positivity in their lives. We help them achieve their goals and do anything in our power to positively get them engaged with the community and be a support system that the families need.

 

Thanks Debbie for being such an amazing part of our team and for helping so many families!

Keep up the awesome work!

 

Check Mate! Students Learn Sportsmanship and Strategy through Chess

Last month, Latino Network launched a new partnership with the program Chess for Success! 

"Our youth LOVE Chess 4 Success!" Said Joaquin Lopez, our Arts and Culture Manager. "They're learning strategy, patience, and friendly competition, tools that will continue to develop as they grow and build character. Chess has no language barriers, once you know the steps and moves, everyone can participate is this time-honored dance of strategy and sportsmanship."

We decided to pay a visit this last week and see how the students were coming along!

Chess has no language barriers, once you know the steps and moves, everyone can participate is this time-honored dance of strategy and sportsmanship.
— Joaquin Lopez

Welcome New Board Members!

We are proud to announce three new members of Latino Network’s Board of Directors!

Patrick Quinton, Christa Stout, and Melinda Veliz were confirmed as board members in March 2017.

Patrick Quinton is the founding principal of Civic Innovation NW consulting firm. Previously, he was the Executive Director of Portland Development Commission. Under his leadership, PDC was the Presenting Sponsor for Latino Network’s annual gala, Noche Bella for several years. We are excited to have his expertise guiding us. Read his full bio here.

Christa Stout is the Vice President of Social Responsibility for the Portland Trail Blazers. Previously, she managed the Portland Timbers Community Relations Department. Latino Network is currently a community partner with the Blazers, and we look forward to continuing to deepen that partnership and work with Christa. Read her full bio here.

Melinda Veliz works in Public and Community Relations for Legacy Health-Silverton Medical Center. Melinda is a graduate of our Unidos program, Cohort II. We look forward to having her on our board! Read her full bio here.


Our Board of Directors:

C.E.W. Helps Families Grow Together

How can we better serve our families in the community with infants and toddlers? How can we serve families who are unable to make it to existing services in schools or community centers? One of Latino Network’s newest programs began with that question in 2014, posed to a group of community members and nonprofit staff. Creciendo Juntos (Spanish for Growing Together) serves families with children ages birth to three through home visits and small group parent-child development classes.

Though many early childhood programs exist, including our own Juntos Aprendemos, this program fills a gap in ensuring that families are able to receive one-on-one assistance in their own home on a regular basis, from a community member who speaks the same  language. The program focuses on very young children. 

The program trains community members as community education workers, drawing on the principles of community health workers, to be able to deliver developmentally appropriate early childhood lessons for parents and young children. They also offer 10-week series of classes for parents to attend with their infant or toddler to learn more about child development. 

This program fills a gap in ensuring that families are able to receive one-on-one assistance in their own home on a regular basis, from a community member who speaks the same  language.

In the past year, Creciendo Juntos staff have helped families facing housing instability due to rising rents, connecting them with services for rent or housing assistance. Staff screen toddlers for developmental delays, and can help parents connect with services if a child is in need of additional health or educational help. And staff listen to the concerns of the parent and help them navigate issues as they arise.

The Community Education Worker (CEW) program – Latino Network calls its program by Creciendo Juntos - was launched as a partnership among culturally specific nonprofits in Portland, in collaboration with the Community Capacitation Center. The program has been funded by the state through the Early Learning Multnomah hub. 

Currently, Latino Network, the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), and the Urban League provide services to families in their respective communities of color. Together, our programs serve families who speak 13 different languages at home! The three most common languages spoken are English, Spanish, and Somali. 

Together, we served 175 families in 2016 with more than 1,100 home visits! Around 60% of these families report having an income of less than $25,000. 

 

 

 

Stay Involved: Take Action & Community Resources Feature

So far 2017 has been a year of adversity, but at Latino Network, we see this as an opportunity to come together in support, acceptance, and advocacy with and for our Latino communities, and all communities of color.

This is why we’ve created two resources pages – one for our amazing advocates and another for families who need resources and support – for our communities in Portland and the entire state of Oregon.

We hope both of these pages help families, advocates, and communities alike:


Community Resources

Our Community Resources page is dedicated to providing as many resources as we can to families and individuals with immigration or citizenship concerns. Here, you can find downloadable documents that will help you with preparing your family for an emergency, a list of immigration and family attorneys, and many links to “Know Your Rights” resources that will help you stay safe. 

All documents, links, and resources can be found in English AND Spanish. We have made every effort to ensure these documents contain accurate information.


Take Action

Our Take Action page is a resource for advocates who want to get involved in making our country safe for immigrants, refugees, and minority communities. You’ll find a comprehensive list of all of local, state and federal Oregon lawmakers, links to policy and advocacy resources, and a button to signup for our advocacy alert email list. 


Our goal is to continue to empower ALL communities in Portland by providing resources, services, and support for individuals and families who need help and advocates who want to join our cause.

We hope that these two pages will empower you, your family, and your community to make our country safe and equal for everyone!

Employee Spotlight: Thalia Garcia-Aguilar

At Latino Network, we are always trying to find new and fun ways to recognize the people who are on the ground making a difference in our community: our staff. That's why we're starting a blog series that features our employees who are doing amazing things with youth, families, and communities here in Portland.

To start, we're featuring our very own AmeriCorps Vista, Thalia Garcia-Aguilar!

Thalia became our AmeriCorps Vista and Volunteer Coordinator in August, 2016.

Thalia became our AmeriCorps Vista and Volunteer Coordinator in August, 2016.

Thalia helps coordinate all of our volunteers at Latino Network. From recruitment to training, she's the one who helps our organization connect with awesome people in the community who want to volunteer their time with our programs. 

Before she became our AmeriCorps Vista, Thalia was with Latino Network as an AmeriCorps Summer Vista, helping our School Based Programs in our Ninth Grade Counts summer program. In August 2016, she became our resident Vista and started her volunteer coordinating position with us. 

Here is what she had to say about her experience at Latino Network:

Question: What motivated you to go into AmeriCorps?

Thalia: Throughout my undergraduate schooling I meet a lot of people who told me about their experiences in AmeriCorps and it seemed really rewarding. I also remember receiving different job offers right after graduation, but none of them fit according to what I thought would be my next step in my career, so I joined AmeriCorps. Once I got involved I knew it was the right choice.

Question: What do you think about working for Latino Network?

Thalia: I ran across Latino Network during my undergraduate studies at Warner Pacific. The people I met were great and because I'm a first-generation Mexican-American, working here feels familiar. There's a lot of parallels between working at Latino Network and the family atmosphere I grew up with at home.

Question: What are you studying in school now? What would you like to do with it?

Thalia: I received my B.S. in May 2016 in Social Entrepreneurship. I originally wanted to get my MBA, but after working in the 9th Grade Counts program this past summer, I decided to pursue my Masters in Education. I don't know what my dream career is, but it definitely involves running a business in the interest of education, social justice, and diversity. I also would love to travel throughout the country and teach schools how to dismantle systems of oppression and become more inclusive and equitable environments.

It was amazing to create the connection between the student and my friend, and to help foster a passion within the student that inspired him to succeed.

Question: What's a success story that you've experienced while working at Latino Network?

Thalia: During my Summer Vista service with 9th Grade Counts, I connected one of my students who was into skateboarding with a friend of mine who was starting up a skateboarding company called Quartet. I asked him for Quartet stickers because my student liked the one on my water bottle. I told him how passionate my student was to learn how to skateboard, and how he was a great leader in the classroom. He was one of my students who can rally this peers together and often would help get his peers to be involved in activities. My friend gifted a skateboard and t-shirt to my student because of the student's initiative to lead and make a difference. 

Months later, I got to meet my former student's mother. She wanted to let me know how well her son was doing in school and how meeting my friend has motivated him to graduate high school. He's also getting better at skateboarding! It was amazing to create the connection between the student and my friend, and to help foster a passion within the student that inspired him to succeed. That's what education is all about, and that's what I plan to do in the future!

Thank you Thalia for your amazing work at Latino Network and your passion to help the community! We can't wait to see what you'll achieve in the future!

If you're interested in connecting with Thalia to volunteer with us, click the button below: