Message from the Executive Director
For almost 15 years, The Latina Center has been dedicated to improving the Physical, Mental and Spiritual health of Latina women and their families in the Bay Area, specifically in West Contra Costa County. It is my pleasure to share how far we have come, how the organization has evolved throughout the years and where, I believe, we are headed.
In 2000, I started Mujer, Salud y Liderazgo (MSL), which stands for Women, Health and Leadership. I first started running this program out of my own living room, in order to bring Latina women together to build peer support and increase opportunities for Latina women in our community. This program grew into a one-year leadership development and community service program and today I am so proud to say that over 420 women have graduated from MSL as Peer Leaders! MSL is a life changing experience that has had a profound impact on the lives of so many women who have successfully rebuilt their self-esteem, recovered their pride in their identities as Latina women and re-established their dreams.
(Now) I am a woman who is more sure of herself. I recognize my abilities and knowledge, as well as my values, customs, culture and beliefs, and I have acquired more respect for myself and for others.
Quote from a Peer Leader.
The Latina Center’s strength lies in our ability to empower Latina leaders as agents of social change. Over the years, The Latina Center’s programs have been integrated into our community and our Peer Leaders have become the educators in our community – Padres Educadores, Educadoras de Familia, Promotoras de Salud. Our programs such as parenting classes have increased parents’ self-confidence and skills, provided pathways to support for victims of family violence to overcome physical and emotional abuse and build new relationships that help them to move on with their lives, and offered small business training and access to microloans to increase self-sufficiency and support our community’s dreams for small business and micro-enterprise ownership.
Graduates of our programs are integrated throughout every level of the organization: as staff, volunteers, and members of our board of directors. We know The Latina Center is unique because of what our community says about the heart, warmth, love, empathy and respect that our staff and volunteers show the community.
When people come to The Latina Center, they see it is different. The staff have heart and a desire to serve the community. Here, one can find a family that gives support, understanding and sincere friendship.
Quote from a staff member
I am so grateful to the foundations, individual donors, private businesses and government agencies who have provided financial support and in-kind donations to support our community-centered programming. And I am indebted to the community leaders that have taken to heart the idea that we really are about “service above self.”
Thank you for being a part of this important social work.