Excitement and confusion started day 1 of my Volunteer Odyssey. I was thrilled to be able to use (improve) my Spanish with people who could really use my help. I got to attend an orientation with another volunteer conducted by Jennifer Earhart, the Director of Organizational Effectiveness. After the presentation Jennifer assigned me as a front office assistant to the amazing Otilia Rodriguez. Otilia and I assisted clients with questions regarding everything from legal advice from a small business perspective to situations concerning health care and childcare programs.
Clients are not required to have an appointment and if your situation is related to education, justice, or health they can assist you in-house. Latino Memphis is the premiere resource for Latino populations to receive assistance with whatever the case may be. If they are unable to help directly, they will guide you to the people who can. Seriously! One really neat fact I learned is that most of their clients come from the Binghampton neighborhood and majority were immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala (respectively). Interesting, right?
The office environment was very professional and laid back at the same time. They offered clients a clean and safe environment where they could seek the services they needed. Upon entry, each client was asked to fill out a form which is then entered into a database, both of which I helped with today. The data collected provides great insights as to the general demographics related to their clients (ex. country of origin, household size, etc.) and demonstrate a track record of assistance each client received.
Latino Memphis does an amazing job in connecting Latino families to opportunities and resources to meet their needs. I think there should also be equal importance given to the “engaged” and “active” portion of their purpose. I would like to see more opportunities for a shared existence. From my perspective, the Latino community seems very insular. Latino Memphis could be the avenue that’s used to connect the two cultures, American and Latino, within our beloved city of Memphis. Stay tuned for what adventures I find the rest of the week!
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