Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Latin American Community Center Empowers Delaware Residents Through Bilingual Programs and Services
educating-myself | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Kyle Babcock | Published: September 2021
Since its founding in 1969, the Latin American Community Center (LACC) has evolved from a small, grassroots organization to become one of Delaware’s largest multi-service bilingual agencies serving the Latino community.
“The LACC provides holistic services and more than 30 programs in two strategically focused tracks: Lifelong Learning, which provides a broad spectrum of educational services from ages 6 weeks to 18 years; and Life Empowerment, which helps low- and moderate- income (LMI) minority individuals and families achieve or re-establish self-sufficiency,” said Kelly Scanlan, Development Director at LACC.
These services and programs have ingrained the LACC as a vital community anchor in Wilmington’s Hilltop neighborhood – the most densely populated area in Delaware with one of the highest concentrations of unemployment and poverty – for more than 50 years and now benefit more than 7,000 individuals annually.
“WSFS has been a long-term partner of the LACC and has been supporting our mission to serve our community for more than two decades,” said Scanlan. “Most recently, WSFS provided a grant for multi-year support of our Education Expansion project. Through this project, the LACC will build a new Infant and Toddler Center, which will allow us to serve 78 additional children and build a new playground for school age children.”
“WSFS is proud to support the work the LACC is achieving in the community through programs such as the Education Expansion project,” said Vernita Dorsey, Senior Vice President, Director of Community Strategy, WSFS Bank. “It’s been amazing to watch the growth of the organization through the years and witness first-hand the powerful impact they’re having on the lives of thousands of individuals each year.”
Among just a few of the many other programs and services the LACC provides to the community:
- ConeXiones: In September 2020, the LACC launched this program to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latinos in Delaware. Since its inception, ConeXiones has hosted education sessions and workshops, provided free walkup COVID tests to more than 200 individuals and administered more than 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
- COVID-19 Response Efforts: During 2020, the number of individuals the LACC served more than doubled to 14,000+ in response to the pandemic. The LACC became one of the first emergency childcare sites and one of the first learning pods in the state, providing full-day support for children during virtual schooling; provided $792,729 of crisis alleviation funds to help individuals cover rent, mortgage and utility bills; and provided $23,018 worth of food to families.
- English as a Second Language Classes (ESL): The English as a Second Language Program was one of the many LACC programs that shifted to a virtual model during the pandemic, enabling more community members to participate. As a result, the program has its largest class in the agency’s history with 132 students currently enrolled and additional students on the waitlist for the next cohort.
- New Castle Location: As a part of the Education Expansion project, the LACC opened an additional site in New Castle, Delaware, to serve students through its Before and After School Community Learning Centers as well as a variety of other programs.
“In addition to these programs, the LACC will culminate Hispanic Heritage Month with a bang by hosting a first-of-its-kind outdoor Fiesta Latina,” said Scanlan. “This event will take place on October 9 at our new auxiliary site located at 1101 Delaware Street in New Castle, and raise funds for our Education Expansion Project. We’re looking forward to the celebration, which will include food, music, performances, and games to engage our community and celebrate our heritage.”
About the Author – Kyle Babcock
Kyle Babcock is Integrated Communications Strategist at WSFS Bank. He has more than eight years of experience in product and professional services marketing, communications and advertising.
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