Hispanic Latino Commission
On November 2, 2017, El Concilio became the new official name of the Hispanic American Council. For more than 30 years, El Concilio -- a non-profit, community organization has sought to serve the Latino community in the greater Kalamazoo. As a liaison between potential clients and service agencies, El Concilio seeks to meet the needs of a special population often hindered by language barriers, cultural differences, and unfamiliarity with service agencies and institutions.
Throughout the programs and services offered, the goal of El Concilio is to assist Latinx community in attaining self-sufficiency and a higher level of social and economic well-being. El Concilio also strives to nourish and encourage the diverse cultural heritage of the Latinx population.
In 2017, El Concilio served over 2,300 families and children in the greater Kalamazoo area. El Concilio has been a community-focused organization that seeks to help Latinx residents support their families, contribute to society, and appreciate their cultural significance in the region. Education, leadership development, immigration assistance, and cultural competency are just a few of the many ways that El Concilio supports the Latinx community.
El Concilio works with more than 50 organizations in Southwest Michigan to ensure that the Latinx community members have all the support they need. With a strong leadership and unity of El Concilio’s board and staff, the organization is moving forward with new projects for the Latinx community. El Concilio will be opening its first bilingual preschool this upcoming fall 2018. However, none of this would be possible without the support of our community members, volunteers, and donors. We thank them for the their trust, commitment and continued support towards our Latinx community.
Feliciano Paredes is one of the founders of Aghelp, a mobile platform, where agricultural employers can find workers, and where workers can connect to key support services, like: education, health, training, and much more. We’re addressing the ag labor shortage with a holistic approach.
As a former farmworker, Feliciano, along with his family of eight, traveled across the country picking crops. Every year they faced many challenges, like trying to find a farm to work on, housing, or a clinic if someone got sick on the road. It was difficult to try to locate these very vital resources, especially if they were arriving to new areas for work. It was out of these experiences that the idea for AgHelp was born.
Over the past couple of years AgHelp has gained a lot of support from hundreds of support agencies at the local, state, and federal level who have signed up to connect with farmworkers as they travel throughout Michigan or across the country. Agricultural employers across 10 states have also signed up to start posting jobs as soon as the platform is launched. We were recently accepted into a nationally renowned accelerator program, Iowa AgriTech, where we will have the opportunity to connect with top executives in the agricultural industry, who will ensure we are setup for success.
AgHelp’s other founders include: Ivan Paredes, Sadoc Paredes, and my wife Lori Paredes. We invite employers, support agencies, and workers to sign up on our page, aghelpusa.com, to be notified of the official launch, and to read more about the important work were doing for the agricultural industry in Michigan and across the country!
Ismael and Amelia Duran are the co-founders of Garage Cultural. The building in which the center is located is a warehouse owned by Lydia Gutierrez, the organization’s first and primary business sponsor. The goal of their organization is to express activism through their work. They strive to transform spaces and create something that the community can be proud of, rather than seeing a blank wall on an abandoned building they see a beautiful mural. This organization recognizes that it is able to exist as a result of their investors. Lydia Gutierrez, owner of Hacienda Mexican Foods, has allowed them to physically exist through her sponsorships and passionate individuals have also funded this organization, with small grants here and there. Recently however, they have two main significant grantors, Knight and the Community Foundation of SE Michigan. The perseverance of this organization is incredible, through their hard work and dedication they were awarded a $250,000 grant for NOIS from Artplace. Artplace received just under 1,000 applications, and selected 70 finalists. However, Garage Cultural was one of 23 selected projects nationally and only project in Detroit that received funding for 2017. Eventually, NOIS will occupy a space next to Garage Cultural. We congratulate Garage Cultural for this amazing opportunity and thank them for their contribution to the Detroit community and those around them. They will also be hosting a 10-day mural festival in August of 2018 with a number of activities and they will be collaborating with a mix of local and international artists. They hope to continue increasing their revenue streams with social enterprise in order to sustain themselves in the future.
To learn more about them please visit their website: https://www.garagecultural.org/