United Way Develops a Program To Engage the Hispanic Community
The Hispanic Outreach Program at the Montgomery County United Way (MCUW) was launched in response to the tremendous growth in the county’s Hispanic population. The program aims to address the educational, health, and financial needs of the Hispanic community; to connect them with volunteer opportunities, and to assist other non-profit organizations in better serving the Hispanic community.
The Hispanic Outreach Program consists of various initiatives including the Hispanic Outreach Professional Enrichment (HOPE); Viviendo Unidos; Information and Referral; as well as Attendance and Involvement in the Montgomery County Latino community events.
Current in Montgomery County census figures show that since 2010, the county has grown by 55 percent overall; while at the same time, the growth in the Hispanic population has been nearly 155 percent. Latinos now represent 20.8 percent of the Montgomery County residents.
Due to this rapid growth, Montgomery County and particularly the nonprofit community, have been slow to address the particular needs of this community. Additionally, a lack of cultural awareness and bilingual staffing throughout the county, poses a serious challenge in overcoming the barriers between the communities. These barriers result in larger underserved populations that run a higher risk of mental health as well as health problems, community isolation, and a less developed workforce.
MCUW Hispanic Outreach activities include:
• H.O.P.E. — Hispanic Outreach Professional Enrichment is a forum for support and education for professionals in the county. This group has become the networking and educative tool to better prepare the resources available to the community for the changing demographics of the county. HOPE partners with governmental entities, non-profit organizations, community members, business community, educational institutions and other social service agencies to increase awareness around Hispanic issues and to provide support and information to professionals working with the Hispanic Community.
• Viviendo Unidos (Hispanic Affinity Group) – This group serves as a vehicle to engage and educate both the Hispanic and Hispanic Business communities about MCUW volunteering and outreach activities. This group represents the Hispanic component of MCUW and is comprised of a group of volunteers willing to donate their time, talent and financial support to MCUW. ConnexionW invites our readers to become a part of this initiative; for more information please call Elda Torres at 281-292-4155 ext. 220, or send her an email at email@example.com.
• Information and referral – Assists Hispanic clients (by phone or walk-ins) with referral information in Spanish.
• Attendance and involvement in Montgomery County Hispanic Community events – Participate and be a presence in the Hispanic community.
• Visibility and Exposure — To increase the visibility and presence of MCUW in Hispanic Media, including social media and traditional means.