Centro Latino of Danville/Boyle County helps Kentucky’s Latino community
The city of Danville has a lot of beautiful landmarks and restaurants that bring community members together. There is also a small organization in Danville that brings people together with the hope of keeping the community healthy and safe. A perfect example of resiliency and hope is this small nonprofit here in Danville, Centro Latino.
Centro Latino works, “to promote self-sufficiency and human flourishment to the Latino community of Kentucky. Centro Latino’s mission is to build quality relationships between Spanish speakers and the general community in education, health care, and social justice. Our goal is for individuals and families to be self-sufficient so they may be contributing and productive members of society.” All of this started back in 2004 when Centre College’s Spanish department created a nonprofit organization that would help the Latino community in Danville. From there Centro Latino grew to build a strong relationship with the Bonner Program; without Bonner volunteers many of the Centro Latino programs would not exist.
Today, Centro Latino is housed in the Bluegrass Community Action building and has the support of United Way, Indian Hills Christian Church, Toyota, The City of Danville, Corning, the Presbyterian church, and the Catholic Church. There are other individual community members who, through the kindness of their hearts, support Centro Latino with monetary donations, their time, or their talent. Centro Latino’s three main areas are: education, health care, and social justice.
When it comes to education, Centro Latino collaborates with staff from Danville and Boyle County schools to identify students for the Bonner After-school tutoring program. A Centre College student serves as a tutor and mentor for the ESL students of Danville/Boyle. During the summer, Centro Latino and a few Centre alumni coordinate a summer program that involves math, reading, science, art, and sports. Centro Latino volunteers help with English classes for adults who want to improve their English language skills or work towards a GED. These classes have shown amazing results and improve job opportunities.
Next comes health care. By helping to the Spanish speaking community stay healthy, the overall community is healthier. The COVID-19 pandemic devastated the lives of many community members and Centro Latino did everything it could to spread the word and inform, some of the most vulnerable and underserved community members, about the virus. Facebook posts, videos, and phone calls were made to check in on families because they relied on Centro Latino. Many of these families work at the local restaurants, work two or three jobs and are frontline workers as well. They are risking their lives to put food on the table for their families while providing a service to the rest of the community. With the help of Ephraim McDowell, Centro Latino can send the individuals they serve to a clinic to get tested for COVID-19. Centro Latino encourages Spanish speakers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and makes appointments as needed. Centro Latino takes pride in doing its part in helping keep all the Danville community healthy.
Lastly, is the work Centro Latino does when it comes to social justice. Many members of the Central Kentucky Latino Community are eager for reliable information on immigration policies. While Centro Latino volunteers do not offer legal advice, Centro Latino strives to provide reliable, up-to-date information and resources that may be useful in trying to connect with legal experts who are qualified to assist the immigrant community. Centro Latino will occasionally host clinics that help participants meet with qualified legal advisors. Centro Latino has partnered with attorneys to provide accurate information about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Power of Attorney documentation, and create family plans. Centro Latino is trusted amongst the Spanish speaking community. Centro Latino communicates with Maxwell Street legal Clinic, the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, and the Human Rights Commission on matters of social justice as needed.
Looking forward there is much more work to be done, Centro Latino will continue to work with other organizations, and members of the Danville community to keep Danville/Boyle County a great place to live.