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Hispanic Access Foundation’s team was proud to work with the FCC in their DTV Walk-In Center and Mobile Clinic outreach initiative. We are equally proud and, at the same time, humbled by the wonderful collaboration we have experienced from our Church and community partners in carrying out the FCC DTV initiative in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and Puerto Rico—they are the heroes in our “Walking the Extra Mile” Success Stories.
Whether representing an Evangelical or a Catholic Church, or even another community-based organization, our partners are men and women that are giving back with heart and soul to their community, many of them walking the extra mile to truly help those most in need. Living in different parts of the country, each has a unique background and as well, a compelling story.
We will be telling our unsung hero stories by recounting their contributions everywhere we are participating in the FCC DTV initiative. Following we will tell you about our heroes in Los Angeles.
You can find Pastor Carpio, at the Iglesia de Dios Church, right at the heart of downtown Los Angeles. His is a store-front church in a high foot-traffic area: many passers-by are day laborers in the clothing manufacturer sector of the city. These are workers that are paid by the piece; they may make clothes that we wear, but they do not know how to read or write well. Due in part to the centrality of their location and in large measure due to their great dedication to our campaign, Pastor Carpio’s team made a tremendous contribution in providing large numbers of laborers and the elderly with assistance in filling out the on-line application form for the converter box, as well as providing live demonstrations of the converter box installation process. Up to July 1st, his team alone had assisted 1,051 people, and is our undisputed leader among Walk-In Center results!
Nearby in downtown L.A., Univision Channel 34 took notice of Pastor Carpio’s special contribution, and through him, took notice of our unique faith-based initiative. Not only did they visit Pastor Carpio twice for News Report interviews, but as well visited our other faith based Walk-In Centers. Impressed by the quality of our Church partners, Univision asked us collaborate with them in their televised phone bank program on June 11th, targeting people who still needed assistance to make the DTV transition. All our Los Angeles Supervisors collaborated with Univision in this program, arriving at 3:30 for training, and staying through to 11:30 pm to man the phone bank through the entire 5 ½ hour televised operation. There were 400 callers that were assisted that night!
We’d like to thank all our wonderful Walk-In Center Supervisors that contributed to this special marathon-like effort: Pastor Carpio, Pastor Villarreal (Iglesia de Dios Pacoima), Martin Valladares (Our Lady of Peace), Nancy Plascencia (Saints Peter and Paul Church), and David Gomez (St. Bernard Church).
Last but not least, we’d like to share the story of the St. Bernard Church team, a unique example of the very special, heartfelt contributions of our partners.
The St. Bernard Church team, David Gomez and Susan Sigala, were hired from Homeboy Industries, a non-profit organization started by Father Greg Boyle over 20 years ago, and a national leader in gang intervention programs. David has been with Father Boyle’s group almost since it started, and is now the Supervisor of the Part-Time Youth Work Program for ages 14 through 19, as well as our Supervisor for the St. Bernard Walk-In Center.
While manning the phone bank for the Univision initiative on June 11th, David assisted Elizabeth Hernandez, an elderly lady who was bed-ridden with an injury, had asked for help multiple times, and had not been able to receive coupons or get a converter box installed. She explained to David that she speaks little English and doesn’t have relatives or friend s in the U .S. After feeling comfortable with him during their phone conversation, she pleaded with David to visit her urgently and not refer her to anyone else. As she was about 4 miles from St. Bernard Church, David visited “la Sra. Elizabeth” with his wife, purchased a converter box with an extra personal coupon that he had, and installed the converter box so that she could be assured of having television communication during her illness. In gratitude, she called yours truly to thank David and the HAF team for the help provided. David and his wife visited with la Sra. Elizabeth three times to provide food, comfort and assistance.
These all, I believe, are beautiful examples that our Church and community partners have provided of what it is like to care enough to walk the extra mile in helping one’s fellow man and woman, working with the heart as well as with the mind.
All of us at Hispanic Access Foundation are honored to be involved with such wonderful people!
There will be more to come in the next few weeks—Stay Tuned!
Author: Jeryl Skinner