Hispanic refers to Spanish speakers or those descended from Spanish-speaking families. Latino refers to people who are from or descended from Latin America. As of 2020, 3% population of Wayne County’s population identifies as either Hispanic or Latino.
United Way of Whitewater Valley and community members want to increase diversity and encourage inclusion in Wayne County. However, to be inclusive, there need to be programs that support the diversity of our residents. That is why we are thankful for organizations like Amigos Richmond Latino Center.
Amigos Richmond Latino Center was created to “empower the Latinx community to engage actively in Richmond and Wayne County and to promote learning, cooperation and respect across cultures.” Amigos Richmond Latino Center is an incredible resource for Latino and Hispanic families. Different programs provide services to families that help them to thrive in Wayne and Union Counties. Some of their most helpful resources come in unexpected forms.
What’s Up with WhatsApp?
Have you heard about WhatsApp? WhatsApp is an app for on a computers, iPads or cell phones. It sends messages, makes voice and video calls. Instead of using cellular data like an iPhone, it uses the internet. WhatsApp makes it easier for people to message others even if they have unreliable service or limited access to a mobile device. That is why Amigos has compiled a list of more than 200 families in the Richmond area. They can get messages out to them via WhatsApp. This contact list has been an enormous help to families in the area because they are able to send messages out in English and Spanish regardless of cellular service.
They have been able to send out information about COVID-19 resources and information about that vaccine. The WhatsApp contact list ensures that families are given essential information that they need. This list has also been used to distribute furniture and other household items to families in the community. At one point, they were able to give more than 40 mattresses out to families that needed them. WhatsApp also allows families to message each other. This goes to show that Amigos Richmond Latino Center is not only providing resources to families. They are building a community that welcomes new families with open arms.
Tennis Is More Than Just A Game
Another program that has gained momentum in the last couple of years is the Amigos Youth Tennis program. In 2014, one of the Amigos board members, a passionate tennis player, had the idea to start an Amigos Tennis camp. There were a few skeptics, but they were thrilled to have 30 kids attend the first year.
Ever since the program has continued to grow, because the same kids were attending each summer, they created advanced programming and eventually started a tennis club. Kids attend practice multiple times a week from Mid-October through March. Many are hoping to join the Richmond High School tennis team. They have had six kids who have successfully joined the Richmond High School tennis team in the last few years. Amigos never expected this to happen, but they have enjoyed watching the program continue to grow.
This program has done more than just taught children to play tennis. It is allowing kids to love a sport that keeps them moving and active. They are also learning to build their confidence, self-esteem, friendships, and teamwork skills. The Amigos Youth Tennis program is only one of the programs that Amigos offers to Latinx youth. They also have the Amigos Summer Camp and the Latinx Leadership Program.
Adult Empowerment Program
Amigos offers a program that provides services to adults. The English Language Program provides support to those who wish to learn the English language. Volunteer tutors and staff work with groups of learners to help them achieve their learners’ goals. The difference between this program and others is that it allows learners to interact with a real person instead of a computer program or an app.
They get personalized one-on-one tutoring from staff and volunteers. Learning English helps families thrive. The goal of the Adult Empowerment Program is to help adults become bilingual so they can have the ability to communicate with those around them. Learning to speak English help families thrive.
Amigos has also worked to remove barriers that keep parents from attending the English Learning Program. They offer childcare to parents during their tutoring sessions so one or both parents can learn and rest easy that their children are being cared for. The programs offered by Amigos are empowering both children and adults. Volunteers are not required to be bilingual or have higher education; anyone can help empower families. If you are interested in volunteering with the English Language Program, contact Amigos here. Relocating to a new country is a challenging experience, but Amigos provides a safety net for families in East Central Indiana.
Partnership and Collaboration
Each of our agency partners is doing fantastic work in Wayne and Union counties. We are constantly inspired by the dedication of our partner agencies to improve our community. Agencies like Amigos are providing services and programs to families who may have nowhere else to turn. Because of our incredible donors, we were able to dedicate funds to the Amigos Tennis Program and Leadership Program.
We look forward to seeing the impact that Amigos will continue to have in the lives of families. We have so many other fantastic agency partners working in our four focus areas: childhood success, youth success, economic success, and access to health. Read more about their stories here, or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about what we do.