Educate, Advocate, Celebrate

After a day stuck in the bowels of the Mecklenburg County jail, (ok, truth be told, the facility did actually have a sterile office type ambience with nary a whiff of bowel) I was lucky enough to make contact with the Director and Asst. Director of the Latin American Coalition. I have been in my share of non-profit offices, and this one was impressive not only because of it’s recent “decor makeover”, which was lovely, but because of the talent and attitude of the staff. It was already well past close of business when I wandered in, but they were all extremely helpful and quite cheerful for that hour. I sat down with both Angeles Ortega (bottom) and Jess George (top). Both struck me as incredibly bright, engaged and committed. Apparently, that afternoon, they received notification that a grant application they had submitted was approved, so there would now be some funding for a program they had already started. It was cool to see how excited they were, and I shared in their excitement after I looked at the impressive range of services they provide to the Charlotte area immigrant community. I was shocked to learn that their organization serves more than 12,000 families each year, through their education and advocacy programs. A partial list: Job banks, Tutorial programs, Small Business Development, First-time Home Buyer, Spanish AND English classes, Notary, translation, tax filings, consumer rights, and labor rights. Talk to any of the staff for about one minute, and it’s easy to see that each of them truly loves what they do, and seeks to serve the community first and foremost. I guess I just felt that I had to call attention to this group of people, because in my humble opinion, they truly “walk the walk”. It was nice to meet you guys!

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