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Maite Arce is the Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Access Foundation. Ms. Arce took time recently to speak about how her childhood experiences motivated her to pursue a career in the public sector, eventually leading her to establish HAF.
Maite Arce’s family immigrated to America from Mexico when she was seven years old. “They came to this country and worked really hard. They had a really hard time learning English, paying taxes, and getting an education, simply because we didn’t have guidance from a trusted source“.
From an early age, she realized that the problem was not a lack of resources available for Hispanics, but a lack of access to those resources and understanding of how these resources work. “That experience stayed with me” Arce says.
Ms. Arce did not let these setbacks prevent her from getting an education. She began working on community outreach. “Part of my nature and personality is wanting to help other people.”
As she started to advance in her career, Arce was presented with opportunities to create programs. Through that process, she founded a national bilingual helpline and then eventually the service provider database.
Arce says that the database “developed organically based on the needs we were hearing from the community. Having an ear in the community helped me build on that motivation that something needed to be done.”
Building the Hispanic Access Foundation
In 2009, Ms. Arce was working for another non-profit. “In developing a non-profit there are many sides. I was strong in the implementation side, but there’s also a financial, a government, and a fundraising side. I had to learn about the other pieces.”
Launching the HAF foundation was a natural process for Arce. “It was a blessing that God put before me. It was the situations that I was put into over the years. And it just all came together last year in early 2010, when I realized that it was time and that I had the experience. I just had to take the risk.”
Keys to HAF’s Success
“The primary element that makes HAF successful is its partnerships with faith and community networks” says Arce. Hispanics trust these national and local networks. Another key tool is the use of mass media campaigns- providing a message in the air and on the ground with outreach and education. The final component is technology. HAF manages information from an array of sources including the organization’s database, directory, social media, and community evaluation studies. It also provides bilingual materials to community leaders and others that work with Hispanics.
How to Get Involved
There are many ways you can help Maite and the rest of the HAF team make a difference in your community. “The best way for anyone to get involved is to go on the HAF website, take a look at the key issues and contact us through our social media network or by identifying local resources” Arce says.
Another important way to contribute is to donate to HAF. Financial support helps HAF make an impact in the lives of Latinos across the nation. Those interested can contact HAF and stay informed by signing up to receive the HAF newsletter.
If you work with Hispanics, add your listing to our searchable directory. You can help Hispanics in your area get connected with service providers and other resources.
Dr. Felicia Knaul, a Health Economist and Director of the Harvard Global Health Equity Initiative, has dedicated her career to helping improve the health of people around the world.
Knaul was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41. After her cancer diagnosis, she was inspired to become a powerful advocate for breast cancer awareness, research and treatment. Not only has Knaul has organized a global taskforce of cancer experts to help lobby for better cancer control around the world; she also established an organization called “Tómatelo A Pecho“. The organization encourages Latina women and health care providers to better understand breast cancer risks, as well as the importance of prevention and early detection.
Tómatelo A Pecho originally began its work educating women in Latin America, but has now expanded to Latinas living in the United States.
Breast cancer is a growing epidemic among women around the world. In the United States, breast cancer is the most deadly type of cancer among Hispanic women. Nevertheless, it can be prevented and treated successfully if diagnosed early.
There are several important steps women can take right now to reduce their risk of breast cancer:
- It is important for women to do self-exams regularly and get yearly mammograms after the age of 40 (or earlier if there is a family history of breast cancer)
- Eating low-fat balanced meals, exercising, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can all reduce risk.
Knaul recently wrote a book about her experiences as a breast cancer survivor to give other Latinas who are facing the disease hope and encouragement. The book, also named Tómatelo A Pecho, emphasizes how important it is for women to understand how to prevent the disease, and empowers women to take an active role in their treatment and recovery.
Service providers that specialize in cancer treatment can help Knaul with her mission. By adding your business listing to our searchable online directory, you can make your services available to people looking for cancer support.
The Hispanic Access Foundation provides information about services and community resources in order to help the Hispanic population take the action necessary to improve their health. For access to this information and more, call our hotline at: 1-800-206-9096.
More than one-fourth of Hispanic adults in the United States lack a regular healthcare provider. Hispanics often face many obstacles when searching for healthcare. Language, financial, and other barriers can make routine annual checkups difficult. When it comes to other treatments or more serious health concerns, such as cancer testing, many face even greater challenges. According to U.S. census data, over 30% of Hispanics do not have health insurance coverage.
But there is some good news. There are many service providers that have reduced or sliding-scale fees. There are also several low-cost health insurance programs available throughout the country. If you work with Hispanics, it is important to let them know that there are healthcare services available for them. Information is power! Here’s why it’s important to help your family and community members find their medical home:
- Regular check-ups are essential to maintaining health and preventing disease. Preventive and annual check-ups can help service providers quickly detect and address any health problems a patient might have before they become more serious.
- A regular doctor will help monitor changes in health over time and will provide patients with more accurate and useful diagnoses in the future.
Don’t know where to start? Here are resources you can provide to help Hispanics in your community find their medical home:
- Search the HAF directory for healthcare providers in your community or a city near you.
- Ask around! Talk to friends, family members, and others in your area for the best healthcare options. Ask them how they like their own doctors.
- Search for federally-funded or low-cost health care centers. Many centers will work with you based on what you can afford, even without health insurance. To search for a center near you, visit: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/
- Search for a Spanish-speaking doctor at www.doctorfinder.com
- The National Alliance for Hispanic Health also offers a network of healthcare providers at http://www.hispanichealth.org.
For more information about healthcare services and other resources for Hispanics, call the HAF hotline at: 1-800-206-9096
If you’re a service provider, add your listing to our database to make yourself available to Hispanics looking for a medical home in your area. Visit http://recursos.hispanicaccess.org and click ‘Register’ to begin-it’s fast and free.
The National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC) is accepting applications from teens, aged 16–19 from across the country, to attend its upcoming “10th Annual Minority Youth Environmental Training Institute.” The Institute is an intensive, science-based, residential, and highly educational 10 day program to be held in Northern New Mexico this August.
Using classroom and outdoor settings, the Institute is designed to help create the environmental leaders of tomorrow by, educating, engaging, and inspiring youth, especially Latinos and other minorities, to a range of environmental, natural resource and energy topics. It is also designed to provide information on the many college and career opportunities in the environment, and to strongly urge students to pursue these careers in the future.
Students should note that if selected NHEC will provide a full scholarship that will cover all your major costs to attend the 10 day program, including airfare and housing. There is no fee to apply, and only a $25 registration fee if you are selected. Remember that both high school and college students aged 16–19 are eligible to apply.
The Institute will be held at the Glorieta Lifeway Conference Center, located 18 miles east of Santa Fe, NM. All students will be housed at Glorieta. Glorieta is in a beautiful area, with mountains, trails, and national parks and forests nearby, and where much of the Institute’s coursework will be taught.
APPLICATION PROCESS, SELECTION, AND THE INSTITUTE SCHOLARSHIP
The Institute is open to all students in both high school and college, aged 16–19, from the 50 states and Puerto Rico. Latino youth are especially urged to apply, given the severe under-representation of Latinos in environmental fields. Applications will be evaluated as they are received, so applying as soon as possible is strongly encouraged. See the attached “Application Form” and other materials on how to apply. Students can also call or write NHEC for application materials, or go to our web page at: www.nheec.org. However, while students can obtain application forms from our web page, you cannot apply on-line. Completed applications must be mailed to NHEC.
If selected, students will have all major Institute costs covered by NHEC, through a full scholarship. NHEC will pay for students’ round-trip airfare, housing, all meals, educational materials, local transportation in New Mexico, related on-site equipment, and most other costs during the 10 day Institute.
The Institute will begin on Friday, August 12 and end on Sunday, August 21. There will be approximately 30–35 students in the Institute. Once accepted, students will receive materials before they arrive at Glorieta to help them better prepare for the Institute.
The curriculum, to be taught by paid, skilled environmental educators, will begin by covering principles in environmental/conservation and energy topics, and then progress to more advanced concepts, as each day builds on the day before. There is classroom instruction every morning and night, coupled with science-based field studies that complements the class work.
Since a major Institute goal is to introduce Latino/other minority students to nature, students will spend much of their time outdoors, in closely supervised field activities at Glorieta and nearby national parks, forests, and laboratories. Students will also camp overnight for one night at beautiful Abiquiu Lake, north of Glorieta.
The coursework will be rigorous, hands-on and science-based, as well as multicultural. It will emphasize team building and leadership skills, through group challenges and individual responsibility. It will also be fun.
For more information on the opportunity click here.
By Pablo Rodriguez
Communities for a New California
Like millions of families across the country, my family has been looking forward to Summer vacation. And, just like millions of families throughout our nation we are mindful of our pocketbook. As a child, my family gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. They taught me that we did not need to spend hundreds of dollars on an amusement park or travel thousands of miles away to an exotic location to get the most out of summer.
California is home to some of the most popular national, state and local parks, unique and diverse habitats, and other great cost-effective attractions that can bring families closer to nature – all for under $20.
I am the son of a carpenter and a cannery line worker. I am the proud grandson of migrant farm workers who followed the harvest of crops from California, through Oregon, and into Washington State four decades ago. During those four decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a Federal program that provides matching grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities, has brought over $1.2 billion in local and regional investments to California to help residents enjoy our state’s natural heritage. LWCF grants have been a sustaining force for millions of California families like mine. Those funds made it possible for my family to set deep roots in California and to create priceless memories celebrating birthdays, college graduations, and family reunions at Hagman and McConnell state parks in Merced County where I grew up.
Some of the most widely visited parks and outdoor recreational facilities across our state flourished thanks to the support of local LWCF investments. When my sister Elizabeth moved away to attend Fresno State, we discovered Fresno’s Woodward Park. It is the only regional park of its size in the entire Central Valley region, offering visitors an impressive array of amenities and attractions.
As an adult, I have enjoyed camping and hiking in Los Padres National Forest, located along central California’s picturesque coastal mountains. It includes nearly 2 million acres of some of the most scenic and breathtaking landscapes found in the world. The protected area is home to nearly 468 species of fish and wildlife, and represents one of the most successful LWCF funded projects in the nation, and is visited by millions of tourists from all corners of the globe year-round.
The hundreds of recreational facilities and thousands of acres of parklands throughout our state are a great resource for families to enjoy exploring together. Studies have shown that fewer and fewer of California’s children are getting the opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation activities. In 2007, the Public Policy Institute of California released a study indicating that of the 2.8 million teens in California between 13-17 years old, 47% had ever gone hiking, camping, or experienced nature only once or not at all over their summer vacation that year.
For the 1.3 million California teenagers who haven’t had the chance to camp, hike, fish and enjoy wildlands, there is a growing risk that access to these activities will decline considerably over the years to come if Congress doesn’t take the necessary action to protect and ensure access to our country’s irreplaceable public lands.
In recent months, Congress has taken significant steps to undermine existing wildland conservation efforts and projects that help kids get outdoors and be physically active. These steps include severe cutbacks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as the introduction of Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act” – this bill would strip existing protections from tens of millions of acres of wildlands which are the source for much of our water as well as high quality camping, hiking, fishing and hunting experiences. Together, cuts to LWCF funding and the potential passage of the “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act” do not reflect the values and spirit of our state.
Read the full article at California Progress Report.
To find parks in your area visit http://www.youthgo.gov/