Hispanic Community Services, Inc. | El Centro Hispano
From the #deltadentalARFoundation: Starting a new life in a foreign country offers joys and challenges, as Hispanic Community Services Inc. of Jonesboro witnesses every day. Also known as El Centro Hispano, Centro Hispano En Arkansas, the non-profit organization has served the Hispanic immigrant community in Northeast Arkansas for 25 years.
Its mission is to connect the newcomers to community resources to improve their quality of life, gain independence and self-sufficiency and, ultimately, feel at home..
“We’re teaching them ‘the ropes,’ so to speak, of how to do things in their adopted homeland,” said Constance Hawley, the organization’s grant writer.
And now, thanks in part to a #communitygrant from the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation, it teaches them how to have healthy smiles.
The center plans to hire two bilingual community navigators who will lead oral health outreach across an eight-county area in Northeast Arkansas. The educational sessions will fill an acute need:
"Many Hispanic families do not consider oral health care as much of a necessity as health care, and many did not have access to dental health care in the rural areas of their countries of origin before coming to the United States,” Constance explained. “Often they think they cannot afford it or do not use it,” she added.
The community navigators will teach oral hygiene, provide detailed information about access to dental care and dental insurance and conduct screenings for insurance eligibility. The participants will receive reference materials and, if applicable, interpretation services to facilitate oral health services and assistance with applications for health and dental insurance or other resources.
"It’s been striking for us staff to find out that for most people we’re interacting with, it’s the first time they get asked the question, ‘Do you have a dentist?’” Constance said..
The first time perhaps, but not the last time, if the program succeeds as planned. The educational sessions aim to incorporate aspects of empowerment to achieve sustainable change within the Hispanic community that will improve overall health and oral literacy and the knowledge of how to access health services.
We’re all about transformational change and so we applaud this initiative enthusiastically. “Bien hecho, sigue con el buen trabajo.” Well done, keep up the good work..
What initiatives of empowerment is your organization working on? Can we help with funding? Check out our various grant opportunities here.