October eNews - El Centro de la Raza


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Estimad@ Amig@ {FIRST_NAME},

The 40th Anniversary Celebration was El Centro de la Raza’s
Most Successful Auction and Award Dinner yet!

We had over 730 people in attendance for a silent and live auction, dinner, and award presentations at the Westin Seattle on Saturday, September 29th to celebrate 40 years of working to build the “Beloved Community”. Our event raised $255,000 (more than 6% OVER our goal of $240,000!) in funds to support our 33 programs and services.

Mil gracias to Congressman Ben Ray Luján, our keynote speaker, Laura Michalek, our auctioneer, Patty Lally and Nate Miles, our MCs, and the numerous volunteers who helped make our 40th Anniversary Celebration a wonderfully successful evening! This celebration of 40 years honored the efforts of El Centro de la Raza and the many lives that have been impacted by our programs and services.

The legacy of Roberto Maestas is continued through the awards and scholarships given out that night. Congratulations to Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney, recipient of the Lifetime Acheivement Award, to Rebecca Saldaña and Vu Le, recipients of the Roberto Maestas Legacy Awards, to the four outstanding high-school graduates who received the Roberto Maestas Legacy Scholarships

MIL GRACIAS if you attended our celebration! Your dedication and support has shown us what is possible when we come together and we were honored to celebrate with you!

If you were unable to attend, or are still looking to support El Centro, look no further!
We still have auction items left! The items that are still available for purchase are listed here. Mil gracias, once again, to anyone and everyone who attended or supported El Centro as we celebrated the legacy of Roberto Maestas and 40 years of hard work for the “Beloved Community”!


Estela resized 2
Estela Ortega
Executive Director

P.S. - And of course, visit our website to stay up-to-date on the happenings at El Centro and in nuestra comunidad - our community.

Día de los Muertos Coming Soon!


DDLM Poster 2012 (3) 2Come Celebrate with us! ¡Celebremos Juntos!
Día de los Muertos is a time for remembering and rejoicing in the lives of those wo have passed.
This year we are Honoring the Ancient Ones to pay tribute to our ancestors and their continuing influence on the generations of today.

Día de los Muertos celebration:
November 1st, 2012
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm 
El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave South
Seattle WA 98144
FREE/GRATIS admission, dinner, parking, children's activities and
     Ofrenda Exhibit

After the celebration, the Ofrenda Exhibit will remain open
November 2nd - 15th
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Come by El Centro de la Raza to admire the 19 Ofrendas(altars) beautifully crafted by community organizations.

Thursday, November 8th, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
A two-part workshop on The Symbolism and History of La Calavera "Catrina" by Araceli Jaime and Analysis of the Aztec and Mayan Calendars by Esmael Lopez.

Thursday, November 15th, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Raúl Sánchez, a Seattle poet, will read poems in English and Spanish from his debut book, "All Our Brown Skinned Angels"

Gracias to King County 4Culture, Sysco, and our media sponsor, KUOW!

There are 8 Days left to GET OUT THE VOTE!
MH900041067 2
As Election Day nears, the excitement builds. Who will be next to lead us into the future? With so many important issues at stake, it is vital that the voice of every community is represented. Which is why throughout the month of October, volunteers from El Centro de la Raza and the Washington Environmental Council have been calling Latino families in King County to remind them to register to vote and of the importance of casting their ballots.

Here are some ways you can help GET OUT THE VOTE in the next 8 days:
  • Create election excitement at work, or in your social circles. Ask your coworkers, particpants/clients, friends, and family members if they’ve voted yet. Keep the election in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
  • Ask  “When do you plan to vote? In the morning, or evening?” Research shows that when people visualize themselves voting, they will be more likely to actually do it.  
  • Ask if they need help voting. To some folks, the process can seem a little intimidating. Offering your help in registering to vote, understanding the ballot or understanding a certain candidate’s position will help to reduce voter fear and frustration.
  • Organize an Election Day party in your home, church, or in the staff lounge at work. Snacks, patriotic decorations and music will help bring people together and keep the atmosphere upbeat.
  • Use voter technology. Now, you can register to vote, obtain voting updates, or search candidates who share your values on your smartphone through an app from Voto Latino. The app also conveniently connects voters to social networking sites.
Most importantly, November 6th is just around the corner, don't forget to turn in your ballot!

Election Day banner, courtesy of the children in the Luis Alfonso Velasquez after-school program

New Youth Programs at El Centro thanks to Families and Education Levy

The teenage years are indeed the most trying time of a person’s life, and at El Centro de la Raza, we are committed to finding new ways to support young people through tumultuous times. Through support from the City of Seattle Families and Education levy, students at two Seattle Public Schools now have a dedicated mentor to whom they can turn for support. At Washington Middle School, Angela Frith-Gomez is a Supéralo Culturally Enriched Program Coordinator and Case Manager. At a school where many students struggle with violence and racial or cultural division, the new after-school program provides 30 students with a creative outlet and safe space to problem solve and to witness different groups working together. Last Friday, Latino hip-hop artist Bocafloja visited
Washington Middle School, performed for the students in the after-school program and led a workshop on how to use rap, hip-hop and poetry as resistance, to speak out against the injustice they observe in the world.
Bocafloja 2
Bocafloja (center) with Zulu Nation-inspired rapper Gabriel Teodros (center-right) and youth at Washington Middle School Supéralo Cuturally Enriched program

Sergio Camacho, a veteran, and first-generation immigrant from Mexico, remembers struggling in school without a Latino role-model who truly cared about him. Sergio now works with 35 students at Ingraham High School, mentoring them academically and using his military training and tough-love approach to instill in kids a sense of self-discipline. Despite his rough side, Sergio is a guy who truly cares about the kids and is there for them through tough times. "I think sometimes students can't find their voice," Sergio says "so I try to help them with that to make sure they are not operating in the shadows...Although the school year is young, students are seeking our help. Sometimes they just like to feel the connection...they enjoy the cultural support."

Digital Connectors Prepares Youth for Jobs in IT
As of September, El Centro de la Raza’s youth department has launched a new program to prepare young people for jobs in IT. Funded by our second Comcast Grant, the Digital Connectors program is at full capacity, and 20 young people will spend two days a week throughout the school year at El Centro earning their IT certification. "We learned how to make business cards!" says one youth in the class, "I'm planning to go into forensic science, so I know I will need to know about technology in order to use the equipment." The class is helping the teens to shape a career plan before they graduate high school. "I don't really have a plan for what I want to do," says another student, "but I'm learning about a lot of possibilities taking this class. Technology is interesting."

Youth in the Digital Connectors class acquiring usefull skills

Mil Gracias to Comcast for your continued support and partnership!

El Centro de la Raza and the Veterans Student Liaison at DeVry

Bridging gaps and strengthening the community is a strong motivating force that compels many of us. El Centro de la Raza’s “Veterans Program” believes community liaisons are vital to educating and assisting both Veterans and the public at large. Alfredo “Tito” Medina from the Veterans Program has succeeded in advocating for a Washington Department of Veteran Affairs (WDVA) Vet Corps position to be placed at the DeVry University Campus in Federal Way, WA. Vet Corps is a program funded through an AmeriCorps grant that hires a student Veteran and empowers them to be the liaison between school officials, the student veteran population of the school, and outside Veteran agencies. Tito says, “this is a wonderful win-win situation…we have a committed person that can be the information guide for student veterans on that campus…[and] can now assist with putting together other types of Veteran activities”. 


Alfredo Tito Medina from El Centro de la Raza and Jason Alves WDVA Vet Corps Program Manager, after meeting with DeVry University officals

El Centro de la Raza Says NO to I-1240

El Centro de la Raza was proud to host a press conference Thursday, October 18th in opposition to I-1240. Key figures in Washington State Education advocay spoke, making the following arguments against the proposed system to fund Charter schools:

  • "The initiative would drain millions from our public school system to fund schools that would serve only a few…When students choose to go from  public to charter schools, it does not decrease the cost of running the school, but it does decrease the amount of money the school receives.”  - Dr Mary Alice Heuschel, Renton School District Superintendent
  • Charter schools have become a model for re-segregating schools. 43% of black charter school students attend schools that are 99% minority...less than 15% of black students in traditional public schools attend such highly segregated schools." -Phyllis Beaumonte, Chairwoman of the Education Committee of the NAACP
  • "Nothing in this initiative requires, or mandates that the I-1240 charter schools must serve [at-risk] students...It is these children I am most concerned about" -Hilda Magaña, El Centro Child Development Center Director
  • "Charter schools are most often in high-income, metropolitan neighborhoods. If the initiative passes, we will be turning over to private companies the running of our public school system." -Randy Dorn, Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • “37% of Charter Schools do worse than Public Schools, [and we cannot] afford to invest in unproven ideas.” -Karen Vialle, Tacoma School Board member 
Mari Taylor, Vice President of the Washington State School Director's Association also shared her views at the conference. To read Taylor's editorial "Reject Initiative 1240" featured in The Seattle Times October 23rd, click here.

El Centro de la Raza is proud to be one of 27 organizations across the state supporting the campaign to reject I-1240. To learn more about the Initiative and the campaign, visit, http://ourvoicewashingtonea.org/issues/charter-schools/ and for our kids, please vote NO on Initiative 1240!

No on Charters 1240 Press Conference OCT 18 2012 009 3

Children from the José Martí Child Development Center say NO to I-1240

Get the Facts on Homeownership Workshop
Do you want to learn what it really takes to become a homeowner? In partnership with Freddie Mac and HomeStreet Bank, El Centro de la Raza is putting on a Get the Facts on Homeownership FREE/GRATIS workshops in Renton.

November 7, 2012
Highlands Neighborhood Center
800 Edmonds Avenue NE, Renton, WA  98056
To register call (206) 957-4639 or email homeownership@elcentrodelaraza.org

Banking Services that Focus on the Community
Express credit union logo
If you've ever felt like the world was designed to be more expensive for people with limited funds, Express Credit Union may be the place for you. As a community-based and member-owned not-for-profit financial institution serving the Puget Sound community since 1934, Express Credit Union provides affordable financial services to low- and moderate-income people; and in doing so, helps them build assets and achieve financial stability. With low-interest loans for everything from pay-day loan alternatives, to debt-consolidation to Citizenship or Green Card Application fees, to buying a used car, Express Credit Union is dedicated to helping community members save money, improve credit history, and build a secure financial future. Express Credit Union is currently offering eligible applicants a chance to save $150 on Citizenship or Green card application fees with the completion of a financial education workshop. Express Credit Union Community Service Representative Edison de Impala will be at El Centro de la Raza Wednesdays, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, to explain servces and help anyone who is interested in accessing services.
Edison's contact information:

Edison de Impala
Express Credit Union
Community Member Services Representative
Mobile: (206) 607-7510
Office: (206) 622-1850
email: edison.deimpala@ExpressCU.org

El Centro de la Raza for a Healthy Lifestyle!

WAY TO GO! And a big thumbs up to Estela Ortega, our executive director, Denise Pérez, our Human Services Director, and friends of El Centro Patty Lally and Dan Ford for strapping into their running shoes and completing all 13.1 miles in the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon September 30th! The day after the 40th anniversary event, the marathon runners woke up bright and early, eager to promote healthy living habits in the community. "It was long and the hills were treacherous," says Denise, "but we wanted to see the community take action towards getting healthy. So when you get to the 10th mile and you think you can't go on, you have to think 'I've already run 10, I can run 3 more!'"  Estela and Denise want to help make community participation in this event an annual tradition at El Centro! To prepare participants, we are looking for volunteers to teach a strength and conditiong class. If you are interested, please contact Taylor Skoglund At El Cento. Click here to learn more about the marathon.

Denise Pérez, Patty Lally, Estela Ortega, Fe Lopez, and Susan and Dan Ford after the 13.1 mile run

Compassion Games Needs your Stories

compassiongames-web-logo-horizontalA new project asks residents of the Seattle area to tell the positive stories that are meaningful to them and that will inspire others to get involved in our community. It's a story contest that is part of the Compassion Games sponsored by Compassionate Seattle and United Way of King County, with support from the City of Seattle and King County. Submission began September 21st, and ends November 1st.
All stories will be displayed on the Compassion Games website as well as the Voices in Education website.

Celebrate El Día de los Muertos with the Seattle Art Museum

SAM graphic
Seattle Art Museum
2901 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Tapete Installation Viewing
Oct 29–Nov 11, 2012                  Olympic Sculpture Park, PACCAR Pavilion
2901 Western Avenue, Seattle 98121
Artist Reception
Friday, November 2, 6–8 pm

Seattle Art Museum will be hosting the 14th annual celebration of el Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park. Visit a tapete (sandpainting) installation inspired by Oaxaca’s beautiful traditions for celebrating the holiday. There will be a family-friendly artist reception with food, performances and live music by Banda Gozona on Friday, November 2 from 6–8 pm! FREE admission. Please RSVP to 
 Mil Gracias United Way Volunteers!

On September 21st, we were privileged to have 110 individuals dedicate a total of 617 volunteer hours at a value of about $13,400 for United Way’s 2012 Day of Caring! Volunteers from United Way, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Staples, McSweeny Steel, KCTS 9, the City of Seattle, and Ben Bridge completed multiple building repairs and grounds keeping services. Mil gracias to all who contributed!

Day of Caring SEPT 21 2012 223

United Way volunteers repair tables for El Centro!

El Centro's Molina Health Care Award Recipient

Congratulations to our Employment Specialist Camila Lagow for winning the Advocacy and Civic Leader Molina Healthcare Community Champions Award! Camila migrated from Mexico to the United States 12 years ago after earning a Social Communications degree from Anahuac University. After working as a technical projects manager for various companies, Camila entered the non-profit world as a Family Advocate for the Center of Human Services. One year ago, Camila joined the El Centro family as an Employment Specialist. Her coworker, Angela Frith-Gomez nominated her because of her "dedication to helping participants prepare for the job market". Mil Gracias, Camila, we are honored that you are a part of our "Beloved Community"!

Camila Lagow
Camila Lagow, El Centro's Employment Specialist,
proudly displays her Molina Health Care Award

El Centro de la Raza Events!

            Nov 1: Día de los Muerte
            Nov 2 -15: Ofrenda Exhibit
            Nov 8: Symbolism and History of la Cavalera
            Nov 15: Poetry with Raúl Sanchez


Anuncios y Felicitaciones
Announcements & Congratulation

Tacos and Hot Dogs @ El Centro

hot dog stand 2El Sabroso Bocados Latinos owned by Alma Isabel Aleman and Francisco Daniel Perez, is open for business in our South parking lot. They feature traditional Mexican food. And keep an eye out for Frank's hot dogs, coming soon! If you're hungry and in the neighborhood be sure to check out these food trucks. We are excited to start these partnerships and bring some more delicious food to Beacon Hill.

Alma and Francisco have generously agreed to have a bin outside their stand where they will accept donations for our Food Bank. They have offered to give anyone who donates to the Food Bank a discount on a purchase.

Parking for a Cause at El Centro de la Raza!

El Centro has opened its temporary light rail parking lot to the public located at 2524 16th Ave S in Seattle next to the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station. The lot is minutes from downtown and the stadiums for Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners games! Proceeds benefit El Centro’s 33 human services and community building programs. Please call (206) 957-4603 or email facilities@elcentrodelaraza.org for monthly parking or airport passes.

Zipcar for a Cause!

Our south parking lot will soon be home to two Zip Cars! Conveniently located next to the light rail, take advantage of the shared vehicle progam, an opportunity to not own a car, while helping Zipcar help El Centro!

stmas Trees for a Cause!

Our Annual Christmas Tree sale will begin November 23rd at the El Centro de la Raza Kiosco, 2524 16th Avenue S., Seattle. Trees will be available Monday - Friday from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm, and Saturday-Sunday 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm, until Christmas Eve. A great way to be festive and support El Centro at the same time, and when you pre-order, you receive a discount! Call (206) 957- 4605 or email execasst@elcentrodelaraza.org.



Affordable, sustainable housing community opens in Columbia City - Story ►Seattle homeless shelters re-open, protest ends -  Story
►Washington State cannot access federal database to verify voter eligibility - Story
El Centro helps make Beacon Hill a great neighborhood - Story

►Florida's local Police contract with ICE, 150 protest in Immokalee - Story
►Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio must answer to voters - Story
Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for up-to-the-minute news and information!

El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave. South | Seattle, WA 98144
Tel: (206) 957-4605 | Email: donor@elcentrodelaraza.org



Día de los Muertos November 1st


New El Centro de la Raza Youth Programs

Digital Connectors Prepares Youth for Jobs in IT

El Centro de la Raza and the Veterans Student Liaison at DeVry

El Centro de la Raza Says NO to
I 1240

Get the Facts Homeownership

Finally, Banking Services with Heart

Compassion Games Story Contest

Celebrate El Día de los Muertos with the Seattle Art Museum

Mil Gracias United Way Volunteers!

Congratulations to Camila Lagow!
Easy ways to support El Centro:
If   you use GoodSearch as your search engine, or do your online shopping through Goodshop, you can raise money for El Centro without spending an extra cent! You may actually save money with Goodshop coupons!
GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!
Support El Centro's 33 programs by simply clicking here! Automatic monthly donations are a great option to give all year long!
Learn More About El Centro!
Visit our website by clicking here!
Be our friend! Join us on Facebook and
Want to keep updated on what
El Centro is doing?
Tamale Making Classes
at El Centro de la Raza
10 AM - 12:30 PM, Saturdays: 
Taught by a master tamalera!
Click here to learn more!
Class fee: $75 per per class - includes recipe & a dozen uncooked tamales.
Fees support our Senior Wellness Program which provides balanced daily congregate meals, social & educational activities, exercise classes three times weekly and meal delivery for homebound seniors.
For more details: 206-957-4611or email.

Spanish Classes
6-7:30 PM Tuesdays/Thursdays:
FALL 2012 Class Schedule:
October 2 – December 6, 2012
Learn Spanish from native speakers in a unique educational setting! Class fees help support our 33 Human Service and Community Building Programs. Adult beginner to advanced level classes are available.
Click here to sign up!
For more details: 206-957-4605 or email.

Un grupo de apoyo y de conversación para la mujer Latina!
Para más información favor de contactor a Brenda Mendoza: (206) 957-4641.

You're invited!
Café con El Centro logo
Cafe con El Centro:
At El Centro de la Raza
Next Cafe - Thursday, November 1st
How can you become an integral part of the community at El Centro? You can start by RSVPing to an upcoming Cafe con El Centro!

The Cafe is a great way to introduce yourself to our executive director, Estela Ortega, a board member, and staff from our programs. Learn the history of our roots, tour our building and programs, learn ways to get involved and network with like-minded folks. Share coffee & pan dulce with us!

Cafe con El Centro takes place the 1st Thursday of every month. Call 206-957-4652 or email to RSVP. 
Coffee generously donated by Starbucks!
Get more involved! Can you devote 2-3 hours or more a week, month, year, or just one time? We always have the need for volunteers.
For details contact our Volunteer Coordinator,
Taylor Skoglund:
(206) 957-4602 or by Email.
Also see our website's volunteer section!
El Centro de la Raza relies on donations from our individual supporters to keep our programs running.
  We are also fortunate enough to have corporate and foundation sponsors and grants for many of our programs and services:

Boeing Company $30,000
 to provide job readiness education to 20 immigrant and refugee youth and stabilization support for their families in 2013

Washington Federal $2,000 for home ownership center to provide essential home buyer and foreclosure prevention counseling to low-income families

Northwest Area Foundation $50,000 in second-year funding to help El Centro continue streamlining the Volunteer Program, and recruit and retain high-quality, professional volunteers in 2013.

US Bank $2,000 for Financial Literacy to provide financial literacy workshops and case management to underserved low-income communities of color in 2012

Mil Gracias to all of our wonderful funders, sponsors and donors!
  • Clear Channel
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
  • Vulcan
  • Eli Lilly
  • Union Bank
  • Amerigroup
  • Century Link
  • HomeStreet Bank
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • BECU
  • WEA
  • Verizon
  • Catholic Community Services
  • Enterprise Community Partner
  • Washington Federal
  • Comcast
  • Molina Healthcare of Washington
  • Seattle Seahawks| Seattle Sounders FC
  • Plaza Bank
  • Teamsters Local Union 360
  • SEIU Local 6
  • Schroeter Goldmark & Bender
  • Sprauge Israel Giles
  • Central Co-op
  • Washington Community Reinvestment Association
Ramon Soliz, President
Jeff Middelton, Vice President
David Gasca, Treasurer
Roxana Amaral, Secretary
Victoria Kill, Parliamentarian
Francisco Calderon

Dorry Elias-Garcia
Cristina Garcia
Ricardo Garcia
Rhonda Gossett
Pablo Mendoza
Janet Jaime Rodriguez
Madrienne Salgado
Urbano Santos
Ofelia Alanis Torres
With over 28,500 volunteer hours, El Centro de la Raza serves 19,489 individuals and 9,721 families annually through the following programs and services:

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