This week we celebrate our partnership with the Latino Ministry Commission of the Diocese of Southern Ohio , and the placement of our 2015-16 Episcopal Service Corps member Katie Guy with this great organization!
“We are a network of Latino Ministry Centers created to foster and support ministry with and among Latinos in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. There are two centers located in the Cincinnati area (Price Hill and Forrest Park) and one in Columbus (Whitehall).
Generally these centers provide Homework Club for students and ESL for adults while creating a space for community and engagement, and I am currently helping the Whitehall location, hosted by Saint Edward’s, explore new ideas for ministry.”
“I currently am working on creating a Reading Club for the children that participate in The Ohio Hispanic Coalition. The
church hosts this non-profit Monday through Friday after school. The picture above is from one of the girls that sometimes spends time in my office before the program starts. It’s the children like her that inspired me to create this reading club. Reading can be
especially hard for Latino students because often times they don’t have a way to practice it at home with their parents. I hope to create an atmosphere where they can be encouraged and practice their reading.
This has been an overall very new experience to work in Latino ministries. I’ve been learning how the Latino culture works and some of the norms that exist that are different from the United States. One of the norms is the lack of trust that is found with
people outside of the community because of fear of deportation. Many Latinos try and keep a low radar because they don’t want to be taken advantage of or be separated from their family. This has made getting to know the families a little difficult, but I’m hopeful as I begin to see them more often and form relationships with the parents of the children at the after school program.
One of the projects I’ve been working on is financial literacy and using the banking system. I started to go around to the different banks in the neighborhood and ask questions about their neighbors opening bank accounts without social security
numbers. You wouldn’t believe some of the responses and looks that I got. Many looked at me like I was crazy to think that someone that wasn’t a US citizen even thought about creating a safe place for their money. It became clear to me that many
people view having a bank account as a right only for a US citizen and not for anyone else living on our soil. This is where I begin to become frustrated with the ignorant culture of America. Since when did having a checking account become the exclusive
right of a citizen? Luckily I’ve found that there actually are ways around opening an account without a SSN, you just have to pick the right bank. Learning and understanding the barriers that Latinos face on a daily basis has helped me with empathy for the larger issue of immigration and refugee rights.”
“These are a few of the fellow Latino Ministry Commission members at our retreat a couple weeks ago. The three centers came together in an effort to create goals for the Commission as a whole for the year 2016. The man on my left, Carlos de Jesus, has been my supervisor in helping me get things rolling here in Whitehall. They have been running their center in Forest Park for about 8 years now and have been very helpful in supporting me and encouraging the ministry in Whitehall. We walked away with 3 goals from this retreat; wider support from congregations in DSO, enhancement of Whitehall center and identification of a champion in the community, and involving more Latinos as leaders in the ministry.”
The Latino Ministry Commission of the Diocese of Southern Ohio has impactful and practical ways you can join with Episcopal Service Corpsmember Katie Guy as she launches their new venture in Whitehall.
“All those that are interested in helping with children are a specific need right now. I’ll need volunteers to help with the reading club that will be offered Monday – Friday from 3:15-4:00pm at the Church of St Edward in Whitehall. The children are elementary age and eager for some one on one attention and help in their education. Those that are interested can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org”