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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Social Work celebrates Hispanic heritage

The Graduate College of Social Work hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month luncheon Tuesday, which brought to light its new Latin American Initiative and its first official activity, a study abroad program to El Salvador that took place over the summer.
“It was mostly work and a little bit of sightseeing,” said social work assistant professor Luis Torres. “We did it in collaboration with four different universities, three of which have bachelor’s (degrees) in the social work program and one of them has a bachelor’s and master’s program in psychology, the Ministry of Health, and the international NGO that works with children and women and girls’ rights.”
The Latin American Initiative began this year in efforts to build connections to Latin American countries and to Hispanic communities in Houston, where the largest Hispanic communities are made up of Mexicans and El Salvadorians. Many immigrants come here to escape the issues in their countries, such as the inequality of women, child welfare and gang-related violence, which is the biggest issue in El Salvador.
“I think personally, even though a lot of Latin countries, including Mexico and other places, are filled with a lot of violence, there still are a lot of good things and they do a lot of good things,” said first year social work graduate student Yvonne Mendoza.
“I think, a lot of the time, they really want what’s best for their community, and I think we need to shed light on that and bring those techniques over here, because I think we always want to do what’s best for us and we don’t understand their community correctly, and so it’s good for us as social workers to learn about what they do, what works, and try to bring that over here — and hopefully when we are out serving those communities, we can do the same for them.”
The Latin American Initiative is working with the Hispanic Student Association, which recently went to the Pasadena Independent School District to talk to families about the importance of attending college. They managed to get feedback to know what kind of help the community needs in order to support their children’s education.
“Our goal this semester is to encourage our colleagues to join in with us and really participate in the community supporting the issues that affect Latino and Hispanic communities, particularly education and immigration,” said HSA President Ana Rodriguez.
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