Latino Outreach to Seniors

December 2013 – Have you visited the Senior Day Program in Dunkirk lately? When you go, don’t be surprised if someone gives you a cheery “Hola” or “Buenos Días”.  Many Spanish speaking older adults from the North County Area are benefiting from the Senior Day Program thanks to the efforts of our Latino Outreach Program.

Mindy Drohin, one of our Client Care Coordinators, has seen the bilingual day program double in the two years she has worked with us. “When I first started, we had 5IMG_5905 or 6 Latino participants.  Now we have 13! The majority of the new Latino participants speak more Spanish than English.” Mindy speaks both languages, so all our Day program participants can benefit from her help. Since  all of the daily activities are conducted in English and Spanish, everyone is able to participate as they wish.

The Latino Outreach Program not only connects older Latinos with the Senior Day Program, it also provides interpreting and translation services outside of the Dunkirk Center. Linda Melendez is our Latino Outreach Specialist. She explained why this is such an important service. Linda states, “The majority of Spanish speakers in Chautauqua County come from Puerto Rico, so they are born citizens of the Unites States with the same rights and privileges as anyone born in the States. The US government does not require them to learn English to become citizens. When they move to our area and need to go visit a doctor or clinic, many of them, especially the elders, do not speak or understand enough English to receive good care.  The Latino Outreach Program helps with medical interpreting and translating for people who are 55 years of age or older, and their families, so the patients are healthier and happier- and so are the doctors!”

Another feature that was added to the Latino Outreach Program in 2013 is a cultural competency training program offered to any organization that wants to improve service to its Latino customers. “We offer training on building the skills needed to better understand and communicate with someone who comes from a different culture than our own.  There is also training available on how to work with interpreters”, said Ms. Melendez

With the new year, the Latino Outreach program hopes to reach out to even more people in the Latino community.  If you know of an older Latino person who could benefit from the Latino Outreach Program, or if you would like information about our Cultural Competency training, please contact Latino Outreach at 716-952-9797 or Email Here!

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